Dunville Park in Belfast

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Where: Unknown

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When: 01 January 1880

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We had a rummage around in our Eblana collection, and we have a very neat and tidy park for you today, centred around a fairly fabulous fountain. Is that a hospital in the background?

Photographer: Unknown

Collection: Eblana Photograph Collection

Date: between ca. 1870-1890

NLI Ref: EB_1515

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

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 2291
dunvillepark belfast antrim ulster northernireland ireland park fountain nationallibraryofireland eblanaphotographcollection

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  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 07/Jan/2020 08:53:16

    "Dunville Park was the first park in Belfast to be donated as a gift to the city. It was presented by Robert G Dunville to residents in 1891. The Dunvilles were a wealthy family who were famous for their distillery, which was located on the Grosvenor Road and produced Dunville Irish Whiskey. Robert G Dunville was keen to contribute to Belfast's development and, in addition to his donation of land, he also gave £5,000 towards the laying out of the park, more than £1,000 for railings and £665 for a Victorian fountain, designed by AE Pearce. Dunville Park was officially opened in 1892 by the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava. During his speech, the Marquis referred to the benefits a new public park would bring to workers from the nearby distillery. He said that “the provision of such a park in an industrial area was symbolic of a new era when employers would think not only of the housing and sanitation of their workers but of their recreation as well" From - www.belfastcity.gov.uk/leisure/parks-openspaces/Park-6634...

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 07/Jan/2020 09:06:08

    I think this the Lawrence original - L_ROY_08989 - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000318534 , going by the ghost girls by the fountain. There is another at a similar time - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000332177 There is some script blanked out under the titles on each frame . I wonder what that was? (See note)

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    Foxglove

    • 07/Jan/2020 09:13:19

    yes, to the back are building associated with the "royal victoria hospital", where I once worked for several years. the "ventilation tower" (one at each end of the 20 or so Florence Journals wards") can just be seen. when I worked at rvh (late 70s) the prominent building to the fore were pathology labs/offices and admin. At that time the park had fallen into decay though I recently saw that things were improved, may be someone will link to a recent snap

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    Foxglove

    • 07/Jan/2020 09:14:18

    I think the large chimney has been demolished

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 07/Jan/2020 09:16:19

    "Reverse" view of the Royal Victoria Hospital, visited 7 years ago - https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/8976475130/

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    Foxglove

    • 07/Jan/2020 09:25:22

    oh the photo above brings back memories, thanks beachcomber

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 07/Jan/2020 09:25:49

    It seems those two wings of the hospital were joined at some time, implying that Mr French / Lawrence / Eblana was about here streetview - goo.gl/maps/REuz8hjFHBFppo5x5 Ed. He was possibly upstairs at No. 2 Dunville Street (see behind in streetview). Thinking he must have faffed around forever getting the fountain framed between the two wings so well.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 07/Jan/2020 10:21:44

    The erased text just says Dunville Park Belfast again to my eye, with the different catalog number 8989 from the original. I think the Eblana postcard version is a crop of the 8989 original (losing the railings at the bottom and empty sky at the top) and the title was moved to fit better as well as renumbered.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 07/Jan/2020 10:29:16

    As we learned some years ago at https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia's pic, the hospital opened after the park around 1903. Looks open here judging by the windows, narrowing the date a bit, 1903-1914.

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    Foxglove

    • 07/Jan/2020 10:58:57

    left of centre at the fountain is a small girl/ white dress and like a skipping stone on water, she has managed to cast a series of 5 or 6 "ghost" trails further to her original left.

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    suckindeesel

    • 07/Jan/2020 13:36:39

    All the versions seem to be from same date, as that guy on the park bench reading his paper appears in all of them. The park looks very new and tidy, so not too many years after its official opening in 1892. The PRONI OS of 1900-1905 shows more RVH buildings than the two separate ones in this shot. Can't see any chimney either. According to WIKI the Royal moved to this site in 1903, narrowing down the date range further. So, 1903-1905? Perhaps someone can date when they were joined up?

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    Niall McAuley

    • 07/Jan/2020 14:14:19

    8 entries at the DIA for the hospital: Foundations laid 1901. Officially opened 27 Jul 1903 by Edward VII & Queen Alexandra Nothing major after that until 1913, so I don't think the joining up helps. In fact, I think they are joined up here, just at a lower level like the Nightingale wards.

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    suckindeesel

    • 07/Jan/2020 14:39:29

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Yes, I think you are right, further examination of OSNI 1900-1905 shows 2 distinct "wings" which match photo. Other buildings between and to rear. Of course, no sense of height with a plan view. So, all we can say at present is post 1903.

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    suckindeesel

    • 07/Jan/2020 14:52:55

    Dunville published a colourised version of our Lawrence's photo as a postcard, it's postmarked 1906 www.dumville.org/photo_pages/postcards_pho.html. So, a date range of 1903-1906?

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 07/Jan/2020 20:40:52

    Forsooth, the fairly fabulous fountain is forlorn and forgotten ... In 2012 via https://www.flickr.com/photos/uahs/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/uahs/6849779910/

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    suckindeesel

    • 07/Jan/2020 21:37:54

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia How come these locations always look better in the old photos than the modern view? Is the world just getting uglier or is it that the likes of French had the skill to make anywhere look its best?

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    silverio10

    • 07/Jan/2020 23:21:30

    Buenas fotos antiguas .

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    Niall McAuley

    • 08/Jan/2020 06:17:16

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] That postmarked card is a good find! I don't think we will do better than July 1903 to September 1906!

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 08/Jan/2020 08:48:26

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Yes! Less clutter and smaller trees in town in those days, and Mr French was very, very good at composition.