Clifton House, originally opened as the Poor House by Belfast Charitable Society in 1774 to care for the poor and sick, is the city’s oldest working building. Thousands of people; local citizens, both old and young, to passing sailors, all sought sanctuary within its walls. They were clothes, fed, educated and empowered to improve their lives.
Behind the scenes were a group of people perceived as a ‘hotbed of radicals’, yet they were instrumental in the development of Belfast – challenging 18th century beliefs on slavery, reform and society – some ultimately spearheaded rebellion!
The exponential growth in Victorian Belfast led to the foundation of other philanthropic bodies who also sought to address disadvantage and by 1882 the last child had left the Poor House. For over a century Clifton House was a residential and nursing home, but the new millennium saw the renovation of the old Poor House to incorporate a heritage and conference centre, which operates as the social enterprise of the charity today. The redevelopment also included a residential home and sheltered accommodation apartments in Clifton House. Today, these care facilities are operated by Radius Housing.
Our Heritage Centre is operated as a social enterprise, creating an income stream for Belfast Charitable Society. Our aim is to ‘make the past our future’ by informing visitors of our long charitable history in order to encourage future philanthropy.
Conference and Event Hire
Clifton House is a unique conference and event venue, with the Board Room, Archive Room and McCracken Suite all available to hire, generating a key revenue stream which supports Belfast Charitable Societies philanthropic work.
Facilitating care for older people
Around 90% of Clifton House is still used for its original purpose – to care for those that need additional help in society. Today that focus is on older people. The building is currently leased to Radius Housing who operate sheltered accommodation and a dementia residential home.