A wealth of history.
Clifton House, originally Belfasts Poor House, was founded by the Belfast Charitable Society in the 1770s.
An Act of Parliament gave the Society considerable power over the welfare of the towns citizens. As well as taking in the destitute, sick and poor, they administered the water supply, and exercised authority over town planning, policing and fire fighting. Children in the poor house were taught the skills of mechanised cotton spinning and weaving the start of the citys industrialisation.
In 1798, the military in the barracks next door gave the Society forty eight hours to clear the Poor House because of the radical connections of its founding members. Robert and Henry Joy, joint editors of the Belfast Newsletter, played pivotal roles in advancing the interests of the Poor House and their nephew Henry Joy McCracken was hanged for his part in the Rebellion of 1798. Henry Joys sister Mary Ann was a revolutionary and an advocate of the rights of women and children. After her brothers execution she devoted her life to the welfare of the residents of the Poor House.
In more recent years it became obvious that Clifton House required a major refurbishment. The Society commissioned a new purpose built nursing home at Carlisle Circus and leased Clifton House to Helm Housing Association for 70 years, allowing them to fund the renovation work. The Society now shares Clifton House with Helm who operate sheltered accommodation on the site while the Society run a residential home and an impressive Interpretative Centre.