Bank Buildings and Me.
The Bank Buildings fire on 28th August seems to have had a read effect on the ordinary people of Belfast.. Since the building was gutted, I have heard many people reminisce about what the building meant to them.. There have been fond memories of that first part time job that gives a little independence in a persons later school years, stories of Primark's awesome value and the piles of clothes that could be bought for relatively little money, and comments from those who just liked the buildings impressive façade. Now, nearly a month later, I still see people stop to shake their heads as they stare at the wreckage.
For me too the buildings demise brings sadness, because the only reason I live where I do is because of one of its founders. My fathers family originates in Co. Armagh. They come from farming stock, planters from near Newtownhamilton. One of their number, a distant relative of my grandparents, had come to Belfast and made good, and he was one of the founders of Bank buildings. He reputedly built one of the large houses on Ballyholme esplanade (in Bangor, Co. Down) for himself, so must have been wealthy. I know his surname, but not his forename. Unfortunately even though it names some of the original owners, a survey of local historic buildings does not mention him, so I have no idea which house was his. Some time in the early 1900's he brought my Grandmother and her husband up from Armagh. She was put to work as a shop assistant, and he drove a taxi. They too settled in Bangor, where the family remains to this day.
There is no real point to this short comment other than a little very local history. I hope they can save the façade. If you have your own memories or know a good story about the building, I would love to hear them.
A friend with an interest in local history sent me this advertisement for Bank Buildings from an old Belfast guide book. Thanks Sam.