The Belfast Charitable Society was founded in August 1752 in a tavern called The George Inn on the corner of North Street and John Street, Belfast. The newly formed Society was made up of a group of leading Belfast citizens who played a key role in the development of Belfast and were at the forefront of providing welfare for its people.
At the time, the care for the poor of Belfast was left to public-spirited citizens to do what they could and the Society was the driving force behind the Belfast Poor House.
The Belfast Charitable Society would go on to be responsible for the origins of social welfare, funeral services and municipal burial grounds, Belfast’s first hospital, the provision of clean water and the creation of a fledgling police service. The Poor House, later Clifton House, has served Belfast for almost 250 years providing help and shelter to the residents of the town.
Today Clifton House is one of the finest surviving pieces of Georgian Belfast.