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BELFAST

in the earldom of Shrewsbury (1098). But at the height of his power, he revolted against Henry I (1102). He was banished and deprived of his English estate; for sometime after he remained at large in Normandy, defying the authority of Robert and Henry alike. He betrayed Robert’s cause at Tinchebrai; but in 1112 was imprisoned for life by Henry I.

See E. A. Freeman’s William Rufus and his Norman Conquest, vol. iv.; and J. M. Lappenberg’s History of England under the Norman Kings, trans. B. Thorpe (1857).

BELFAST, a city, county and parliamentary borough, the capital of the province of Ulster, and county town of county Antrim, Ireland. Pop. (1901) 349,180. It is a seaport of the first rank, situated at the entrance of the river Lagan into Belfast Lough, 112¾ m. north of Dublin by rail, on the north-east coast of the island. It is an important railway centre, with terminal stations of the Great Northern, Northern Counties (Midland of England), and Belfast & County Down railways, and has regular passenger communication by sea with Liverpool, Fleetwood, Heysham, Glasgow, and other ports of Great Britain. It is built on alluvial deposit and reclaimed land, mostly not exceeding 6 ft. above high water mark, and was thus for a long period subject to inundation and epidemics, and only careful drainage rendered the site healthy. The appearance of the city plainly demonstrates the modern growth of its importance, and evidence is not wanting that for a considerable period architectural improvement was unable to keep pace with commercial development. Many squalid districts, however, have been improved away to make room for new thoroughfares and handsome buildings. One thoroughfare thus constructed at the close of the 19th century is the finest in Belfast—Royal Avenue. It contains, among several notable buildings, the post office, and the free public library, opened in 1888 and comprising a collection of over 40,000 volumes, as well as an art gallery and a museum of antiquities especially rich in remains of the Neolithic period. The architect was Mr W. H. Lynn. The magnificent city hall, from designs of Mr (afterwards Sir) Brumwell Thomas, was opened in 1906. The principal streets, such as York Street, Donegall Street, North Street, High Street, are traversed by tramways. Four bridges cross the Lagan; the Queen’s Bridge (1844, widened in 1886) is the finest, while the Albert Bridge (1889) replaces a former one which collapsed. Other principal public buildings, nearly all to be included in modern schemes of development, are the city hall, occupying the site of the old Linen Hall, in Donegall Square, estimated to cost £300,000; the commercial buildings (1820) in Waring Street, the customhouse and inland revenue office on Donegall Quay, the architect of which, as of the court house, was Sir Charles Lanyon, and some of the numerous banks, especially the Ulster Bank. The Campbell College in the suburb of Belmont was founded in 1892 in accordance with the will of Mr W. J. Campbell, a Belfast merchant, who left £200,000 for the building and endowment of a public school. Other educational establishments are Queen’s University, replacing the old Queen’s College (1849) under the Irish Universities Act 1908; the Presbyterian and the Methodist Colleges, occupying neighbouring sites close to the extensive botanical gardens, the Royal Academical Institution, and the Municipal Technical Institute. In 1897 the sum of £100,000 was subscribed by citizens to found a hospital (1903) to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and named after her. It took the place of an institution which, under various names, had existed since 1797. Public monuments are few, but include a statue of Queen Victoria (1903) and a South African War memorial (1905) in front of the city hall; the Albert Memorial (1870), in the form of a clock-tower, in Queen Street; a monument to the same prince in High Street; and a statue in Wellington Place to Dr Henry Cooke, a prominent Presbyterian minister who died in 1868. The corporation controls the gas and electric and similar undertakings. The water supply, under the control of the City and District Water Commissioners (incorporated 1840), has its sources in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down, 40 m. distant, with a service reservoir at Knockbreckan; also in the hilly district near Carrickfergus. There are several public parks, of which the principal are the Ormeau Park (1870), the Victoria, Alexandra, and Falls Road parks. There is a Theatre Royal in Arthur Square. There are also several excellent clubs and societies, social, political, scientific, and sporting; including among the last the famous Royal Ulster Yacht Club.

In 1899 was laid the foundation stone of the Protestant cathedral in Donegall Street, designed by Sir Thomas Drew and Mr W. H. Lynn to seat 3000 worshippers, occupying the site of the old St Anne’s parish church, part of the fabric of which the new building incorporates. The diocese is that of Down, Connor, and Dromore. The first portion (the nave) was consecrated on the 2nd of June 1904. The plan is a Latin cross, the west front rising to a height of 105 ft., while the central tower is 175 ft. The pulpit was formerly used in the nave of Westminster Abbey, being presented to Belfast cathedral by the dean and chapter of that foundation.

Most of the older churches are classical in design, and the most notable are St George’s, in High Street, and the Memorial church of Dr Cooke in May Street. For the more modern churches the Gothic style has frequently been used. Amongst these are St James, Antrim Road; St Peter’s Roman Catholic chapel, with its Florentine spire; Presbyterian churches in Fitzroy Avenue, and Elmwood Avenue, and the Methodist chapel, Carlisle Circus. The Presbyterians and Protestant Episcopalians each outnumber the Roman Catholics in Belfast, and these three are the chief religious divisions.

Environs.—The country surrounding Belfast is agreeable and picturesque, whether along the shores of the Lough or towards the girdle of hills to the west; and is well wooded and studded with country seats and villas. In the immediate vicinity of the city are several points of historic interest and natural beauty. The Cave Hill, though exceeded in height by Mount Divis, Squire’s Hill, and other summits, is of greatest interest for its caves, in the chalk, from which early weapons and other objects have been recovered. The battle in 1408, which was fought along the base of the cliffs here between the Savages of the Ards and the Irish, is described in Sir Samuel Ferguson’s “Hibernian Nights Entertainment.” Here also are McArt’s Fort and other earthworks, and from here the importance of the physical position of Belfast may be appreciated to the full. At Newtonbreda, overlooking the Lagan, was the palace of Con O’Neill, whose sept was exterminated by Deputy Mountjoy in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Belfast Lough is of great though quiet beauty; and the city itself is seen at its best from its seaward approach, with its girdle of hills in the background. On the shores of the lough several villages have grown into residential towns for the wealthier classes, whose work lies in the city. Of these Whitehouse and White Abbey are the principal on the western shore, and on the eastern, Holywood, which ranks practically as a suburb of Belfast, and, at the entrance to the lough, Bangor.

Harbour and Trade.—The harbour and docks of Belfast are managed by a board of harbour commissioners, elected by the ratepayers and the shipowners. The outer harbour is one of the safest in the kingdom. By the Belfast Harbour Acts the commissioners were empowered to borrow more than £2,500,000 in order to carry out several new works and improvements in the port. Under the powers of these acts a new channel, called the Victoria Channel, several miles in length, was cut about 1840 leading in a direct line from the quays to the sea. This channel affords 20 ft. of water at low tide, and 28 ft. at full tide, the width of the channel being 300 ft. The Alexandra Dock, which is 852 ft. long and 31 ft. deep, was opened in 1889, and the extensive improvements (including the York Dock, where vessels carrying 10,000 tons can discharge in four to six days) have been effected from time to time, making the harbour one of the most commodious in the United Kingdom. The provision of a new graving dock adjoining the Alexandra was delayed in October 1905 by a subsidence of the ground during its construction. Parliamentary powers were obtained to construct a graving dock capable of accommodating the largest class of warships. The growth and development of the shipbuilding industry has been