Belfast Charitable Society

Based at Clifton House, the Belfast Charitable Society has long played an historic role in the development of Belfast and the welfare of its people. A great deal of what we take for granted in the city of Belfast today owes its origins to The Belfast Charitable Society. The foundation of social welfare, the supply of clean water, the city’s first hospital, funeral services, the beginnings of a police service and a municipal burial ground all began with the launch of the Society.

The Society was founded by a group of leading businessmen in 1752 to build a Poor House and Infirmary for the most vulnerable citizens of Belfast. Some of the first recorded minutes of the Society noted that:

“a poor-house and hospital are greatly wanted in Belfast for the support of vast numbers of real objects of charity in this parish, for the employment of idle beggars who crowd to it from all parts of the North, and for the reception of infirm and diseased poor.”

Today The Belfast Charitable Society remains an important influence in Belfast and is proud of its guiding role in shaping the city.