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16 October 2014
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Waring Street Bank - your replies

After years as a stunning home to the Ulster Bank, the Waring Street premises lay dormant, but now it is to be given new life.

The glass dome inside  the Ulster Bank buidling , Waring St.

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Steve Grannary - Aug '08
My husband is a descendant of the Warings in Belfast. We are in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. My son was in Belfast 2 years ago and was taken aback by how nice Waring Street was.

Paul Helmn - Aug '06
I am researching the Waring family as I understand a cottage that existed near my house was the birthplace of this family that came over from Lancashire, England in the 16th C.

Sarah - Dec '05
This is a comment/question ofor Lynn littler, I'm researching my geneology and a branch of my family are the Warings. I'm interested to find out if there is a connection here.

Raymond O'Regan - July '05
What good news that the former Ulster bank is to be turned into a luxury hotel. Waring Street is also famous for it's connection with Dean Jonathan Swift . William Waring came from Toombridge, in the 17th.century, to set up a tannery in Belfast and was granted a lease in a street that was to take on his name.

He had a daughter called Jayne whom Jonathan Swift courted for two years (he called her "Varina") but she turned down his proposal of marriage. He had been minister in Kilroot and eventually moved to Dublin to become Dean of St.Patricks. It may interest people to know that he got the idea of the giants in Gullivers Travels from the Cavehill. If you look at the Cavehill at right angles just past McArts Fort from the Shore Road (this would have been the route that Swift would have taken on his way into Belfast from Kilroot to see his "Varina") it looks like a giant lying sleeping.

In a map of Belfast in the 1850's there is a part of the York Road called Lilliput Farm this may have been were Swift got the name for his book that is if the farm existed during his time in the north. If you go to the central library ; Irish section and ask for the Belfast Rental Books you will see the area on York Road called Lilliput Farm (the area is just opposite the side entrance of the present day railway yard). Further along Waring Street you will find Sugarhouse Entry in this entry the United Irishmen met in Peggy Barclays "Benjamin Franklin Tavern". It was not for nothing that in the 18th. century Belfast was known as the "Boston of the North" because of the actions of the radical Presbyterians who as members of the United Irishmen attempted to unite Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.

Next to Sugarhouse entry is the Commercial Buildings (nowadays known as The Northern Whig). It was opened in 1820 and replaced four thatched cottages one of which was a woolen drapers shop owned by the famous United Irishman Samuel Neilson. You can see how much history there is in just one of Belfast's oldest streets and I would encourage everybody to take an interest in the history of this fascinating city as there is so much more to discover.

 

Aleshia from Canada - April '05
Hi there :-)
This comment/question is for Lynn Littler. My mother acquired this beautiful old bed frame that was painted white. She sanded the paint off and found what she thinks is gorgeous mahogany wood beneath. Stamped into the wood was the word "Warings" with a crown symbol. I did a bunch of research and found a lot of info about the company of Waring and Gillow, along with info about the history of Gillow, but I couldn't find anything about Waring...until I read your comment on this site. :-) Can you tell me any more about Warings and if this bed frame could be a product of SJ Waring and Sons? If so, when were they formed and how old might this frame be? From what I gather about the joining of the two companies, it has to be at least older than 1896. :-) Any info would be wonderful! Thanks so much... Aleshia.

Wayne - February '05
Recently I was sent to look at a job in the Ulster Bank in Waring Street and I was absolutely amazed by its beauty. It is my first time in the bank and I'm really glad that it is not being demolished but that it is being renovated for other people to admire its beauty. The most amazing part of the bank is the maze of corridors leading from the bottom floor at the main vault to the offices that are on the top floor. What an outstanding piece of architecture, hats off to James Hamilton for this amazing task so many years ago.

Lynn Littler (nee Waring) - February '05
William Waring my ancestor - I am delighted that this beautiful building is being preserved in Waring Street.

You may be interested to learn that William Waring went on to found Waringstown, where he introduced linen weaving to Ireland.

A branch of his descendants, of which I am one, moved to Liverpool in the early 1800s and founded S.J.Waring & Sons Cabinet makers, later to become the world famous Waring & Gillows.

William's father John came to Ireland from Lancashire in the late 1500s. If anyone would like more details of this family or can add to it please contact me through YPAM.

Kay McKenna - August '04
This is one of the most uplifting bits of news I have hear from Belfast! It is wonderful to see that there is someone with a sense of futuristic vision to save this beautiful building for the youth of Belfast to know their grandparents were capable builders and perhaps, some day soon, they may follow in their footsteps to take pride in their city.
Visitors daily are discovering what a wonderful place Belfast city and her people are and they, in turn, are sharing this with others. Have a peaceable future!

Lorraine Vojick - August  2004
I was in Ireland a month a go. I did not see this bank. Perhaps I was not far away. The next time I go to Belfast, it will be to see this bank. It was very beautiful. Thanks for picture.

Hope Sloan - August 2004
Wow, this is by far the most beautiful bank I have ever seen. I am delighted to see it being saved from the horrible wrecking ball.

John McCormick - August 2004
Let's hope that the building is kept reasonably intact: too often planning permission in Belfast has been given to third rate 'architecture' while allowing landmark buildings to be destroyed.

Ciaran - August 2004
After reading your article, I felt a sense of delight that this building is to be saved by restoration. It would have been a shame and a crime to demolish the building. We have already lost so much history in Belfast and to see more of it wiped from our memories would be sad. A big thank you to the people who care.

Happy Snapper -  August '04
Have you any more photos of this wonderful place?

Amateur Historian - August '04

It was with a great sense of relief that I read of the plans to preserve the structure and most of the very beautiful and interesting internal features of this building. The developers are planning to create a superb luxury hotel with several other hospitality outlets incorporated.

This should surely bring back to life one of the oldest streets in Belfast. In Cathal O'Byrne's book of historical sketches of Belfast he states that in the year 1660 in a plan of Belfast there was only five streets named. One of these was Waring Street.

He also states that there was many thriving businesses, dwellings and hostelry's which operated with success throughout ensuing years.
So I say, top marks to the developers for recognising the potential of this building and the value of preserving what is good from the city's past. I wish them every success with their plans.

 

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