G.P.O. Belfast

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Where: 53-55 Royal Ave, Belfast BT1 1FD, UK

Try to find the spot where the photographer was standing.

When: 01 January 1886

Try to find the date or year when this image was made.
On the Monday after Assembly Elections in Northern Ireland we go to Belfast and an image of an impressive and deserted (almost) General Post Office. One of the two figures standing on the kerb appears to be a road sweeper a role that has long been mechanised. Oh yes and there are no dogs!

Based on the dating investigations from O Mac, Niall McAuley and beachcomberaustralia, it seems likely that this image was taken very close to when the Belfast GPO opened in 1886. And, per the link that B-59 and M0GNM share, we know it stood for just under 100 years - before making way for the CastleCourt shopping centre. From that linked description:
 A three-storey building in Dungannon stone. Designed by James Owens of the Office of Public Works and opened in August 1886. Extended shortly after in 1896 and again in 1909. The General Post Office closed in 1985 and was demolished shortly after to make way for CastleCourt.


Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: between 1880-1900

NLI Ref: L_ROY_0032

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 14311
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio thelawrencephotographcollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland ulster belfast gpo generalpostoffice royalavenue workshopsforindustriousblind grandcentralhotel castlecourt demolished rcarswellson postoffice dungannonstone jamesowens 3032royalavenue

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  • profile

    B-59

    • 09/May/2016 07:57:35

    This building was demolished in 1985, s. www.futurebelfast.com/30---32-royal-avenue--general-post-...

  • profile

    B-59

    • 09/May/2016 07:58:21

    Streetview 2015: goo.gl/maps/smkL9cG2KN42

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 08:26:02

    A DIA entry says the building opened in 1886.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 08:27:44

    Tram tracks but no electric wires, so 1872-1906 (no help!)

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 08:34:44

    Whoa, OSNI has had an upgrade! I can view this at 50 inches to the mile! (but I haven't worked out if i can link it...)

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 08:54:06

    Beyond the GPO, we have the 1883 Workshops for Industrious Blind

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 08:57:03

    At roof level on the corner of Berry (where H&M are today) I see Photo Art Co. R. Carswell & Son, at ground level, R. Carswell & Son Manufacturing

  • profile

    O Mac

    • 09/May/2016 09:06:23

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] Re OSNI maps. Great improvement. There does't seem to be a way to link but pasteing the coordinates into the search field would do. In this case the coordinates are OSNI 333749,374508

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 09/May/2016 09:09:27

    Strange that the street is almost empty. It's early morning by the shadows, also evident on this companion shot looking to the right (and including the Workshop for the Industrious Blind) - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000325551

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 09:16:29

    The Grand Central Hotel is not complete, so pre-1892. (An archive image with the finished hotel+GPO here

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 09:40:33

    Carswell and Son, noted above, seem to date from 1890. EDIT! Google books search gives The Scots in Victorian and Edwardian Belfast: A Study in Elite Migration which says Carswell moved to Royal Avenue in 1882.

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 09/May/2016 09:44:41

    Talking of notes ... Attn Flickroonies - *** N O T E S *** Get your Flickr NOTES feature back and write new notes ... www.flickr.com/photos/stignygaard/22866557834 www.flickr.com/photos/stignygaard/24678607824

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 09:57:32

    Based on the Hotel under construction, this must be 1890-92.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 09/May/2016 10:03:08

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] Noted!

  • profile

    M0GNM

    • 09/May/2016 11:10:00

    Demolished 1985, to make way for CastleCourt www.futurebelfast.com/30---32-royal-avenue--general-post-...

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 09/May/2016 11:40:44

    In 1962 via [https://www.flickr.com/photos/intervene/] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/intervene/4041185941/]

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 09/May/2016 12:08:22

    Thanks all. The frontage changes that we see in the 1960s image shared by [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] are quite interesting (not least the coats or arms added, wider doorway, and paint-job(?) over the Dungannon stone.) In our image though, it is the platform on the roof that intrigues me. Does anyone know what it is? Something to do with wireless or telegraph communications one imagines(?)

  • profile

    O Mac

    • 09/May/2016 14:54:01

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] It looks more like a viewing platform... Possibly there from the Royal Visit in 1885 or, since it's before the advent of the radio telegraph it might have been used as a look-out for Mail ships coming into harbour. The fenials give it a look of semi permanency.

  • profile

    M0GNM

    • 09/May/2016 15:27:38

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] This is the frontage I remember along with the trolley buses www.flickr.com/groups/belfast-trolleybus/

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 09/May/2016 20:22:16

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Aha! Childhood memories come flooding back - 'Timbo the Trolleybus' from Tootles the Taxi - au.pinterest.com/pin/571957221399620280/

  • profile

    O Mac

    • 09/May/2016 20:54:20

    The whitewashing on some of the GPO's ground floor windows and the absence of any signage whatsoever may suggest the photograph was taken just before it opened in 1886.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 09/May/2016 21:13:47

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] That makes sense; and somebody clever with azimuths should be able to work out the likely date from the shadows of the rising sun. The companion photo is a few minutes later - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000040114 (this photo) catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000325551 (companion)

  • profile

    O Mac

    • 09/May/2016 22:00:52

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] Your companion photo was taken a lot later,. Notice "POST OFFFICE" carved over the doors while not in the above. Also that roof platform is missing. I reckon it hasn't open yet. 1886ish

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 09/May/2016 22:51:37

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Impressed, as always, by your attention to detail. And the blinds of the Workshop for the Industrious Blind (no pun intended) are down in the later photo ...

  • profile

    Cuddly Nutter

    • 13/May/2016 09:18:17

    Approximately the same spot today. www.google.co.uk/maps/@54.6010757,-5.9310347,3a,49y,196.6...