No place like home!

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Where: Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

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When: Unknown

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The original title for this stereo pairs shot is "Institutional building, open University, wings 3 bays wide, 4 deep, main obelisk 3 a side 3 to central portion, cart foreground" and I suspect that it won't last too long? A very imposing if unattractive building that I do not recognise and suspect that it no longer stands? Most assuredly it looks no place like home!

While I was (thankfully) wrong about the "no longer standing" prediction, I wasn't wrong about how quickly this one was identified. sharon.corbet was quick to pinpoint this as the Custom House in Belfast. B-59 tells us that it was designed by the prolific Charles Lanyon (1813–1889), whose firm's works we have come across several times before. Sharon also proposes a refinement to the date range - based on the suggestion that the south entrance (visible/tagged on the right) was only in place between 1872 and 1886.....

Photographers: Frederick Holland Mares, James Simonton

Contributor: John Fortune Lawrence

Collection: Stereo Pairs Photograph Collection

Date: Catalogue range c.1860-1883. Perhaps c.1872-1883 (south entrance)

NLI Ref: STP_1986

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


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 22948
lawrencecollection stereographicnegatives jamessimonton frederickhollandmares johnfortunelawrence williammervynlawrence nationallibraryofireland institutionalbuilding cobbledsquare cart onlooker 3bays locationidentified belfast northernireland ulster customshouse charleslanyon samuelferris customhouse countyantrim donegallquay stereopairsphotographcollection stereopairs

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    • 16/Jan/2018 08:58:15

    It's called "The Post Office, Belfast" in a similar Eblana shot.

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    • 16/Jan/2018 09:02:39

    Whereas Lawrence names it the Customs House. Streetview

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    • 16/Jan/2018 09:08:10

    Designed by Sir Charles Lanyon (1813-1889), 1856.

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    • 16/Jan/2018 09:18:41

    Flickr is sometimes amazing - in 2010 via

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    • 16/Jan/2018 09:24:36

    The stairs and door to the right should give a clue to the date: "The entrance to the post office at the south elevation was removed in 1872. This had been a triple-arched stepped entrance (see image gallery below) but was replaced with a new entrance to the west of the south block. This new entrance was short lived and was removed in 1886." From here. I think this is the 1872-1886 version (west of the south block).

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    • 16/Jan/2018 09:40:11

    There's an earlier(?) Stereo Pair which shows the "triple-arched stepped entrance" to the post office.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 16/Jan/2018 09:42:02

    [] The steps and entrance are gone in this Lawrence shot, earliest date 1880.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 16/Jan/2018 09:46:27

    The earlier entrance in the South Elevation.?

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    Niall McAuley

    • 16/Jan/2018 09:51:18

    Hmm, seems there used to be a 3 arch stepped entrance on each side.

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    • 16/Jan/2018 10:25:38 The building faces west, so the south elevation would be the entrance on the side of the building. I noticed that there appears also to be a partial extra storey here, which has since disappeared again.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 16/Jan/2018 21:07:45

    Charles Lanyon indeed - given how many of his works come up on this stream, I wonder if it would be quicker to count the Victorian structures of Belfast that he (and his partners) *weren't* involved in : Before rushing for my abacus, I've updated the map, tags and description :)

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    • 17/Jan/2018 01:46:13

    "In the 19th century, and into the 20th, the steps of the Customs House were the Speakers Corner of Belfast where orators harangued, exhorted and cajoled the crowds enjoying the open space of the square. One, Frank Ballantyne, liked to denounce “ping-pong and other helleries” but most famously, this where dock labour organiser Jim Larkin would address crowds of up to 20,000 in the early years of the 20th century. " Used to denouce ping pong and other helleries!