The Bank Buildings: The story behind the façade
Local historian, Richard Graham outlines the history of one of Belfast’s most recognisable landmarks – The Bank Buildings. This talk took place on 29 October 2019.
The Bank Buildings
Since the devastating fire in August 2018 that destroyed one of Belfast’s most iconic buildings, there has been much speculation about the history of the Bank Buildings located on Belfast’s most central business address. Some have suggested that the building has stood on the site for 300 years, others have pondered as to where the name of the buildings that have stood on the site came from, whilst others simply remember shopping in what they fondly remember as an exclusive department store.
In this fully illustrated talk, Richard Graham, takes us on a voyage of discovery looking at the buildings that have stood on the site since the late 18th century, dispelling the myths that have surfaced throughout the years and looking at the merchants and other movers and shakers of the town of Belfast who made it happen through time.
Along the way we will look at the social and economic history behind the development of Belfast as a leading manufacturing city of the empire in an exciting and comprehensive look at a much-loved institution of who’s destruction everyone has been touched.
The presentation covers the period during which three Bank Buildings have stood on the site (from 1797 to the present day). It records the history of Belfast during that period and not only covers the time when the current (damaged) building served as a department store but also topics such as:
- the attempted introduction of the slave trade
- the early establishment of banking in Ireland
- Peace Day 1919
- VE Day 1945
- the linen industry in Ireland
- the families who controlled the business of Robertson, Ledlie and Ferguson
- the houses they lived in and the legacy they left behind and modern retailing to name but a few