Fire investigation launched…

POLICE have launched an investigation into the major fire in Belfast city centre yesterday that gutted several listed buildings. No doubt they will be talking to the gentleman from South Belfast they arrested last week while persistently squatting in the derelict upper floors of buildings in Wellington Place, where a number of fires have been started by someone recently.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    UPDATE: Gas could have been the culprit.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=572399

    The Tele reports:

    [T]he fire service’s Belfast area commander, Chris Kerr, believes the affected Waterstone’s and Goldsmiths shops will not reopen before Christmas.

    He said the fire was of such a magnitude that the initial response was to treat it as suspicious, but this was not to be construed as likelihood of arson.

    “Unless I could guarantee 100% that the fire was accidental, we would always treat a fire of that magnitude as suspicious,” he said today. “Police have secured the scene until it can be properly examined by forensic experts.

    “There was no sign of forced entry, and we do know that gas was involved. We had to get Phoenix Gas to isolate supply to the building.”

  • davidbrew

    Miracles do happen. The Ulster reform Club was next door and largely untouched . So the birthplace of liberal Unionism, the powerhouse of the resistance to Home Rule, and the best snooker tables in Belfast (not to mention ornate Victorian pissoirs) have been saved. Pip pip , G & T please Alex!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Davidbrew.

    I’ve often passed that fine building and wondered what it was used for. I suppose I had assumed that it was no longer used as a gentleman’s club – that such things no longer existed with a few possible exceptions in London. Am I mistaken?

    If so, are you a member? And if so, are we to take it that you would categorise yourself as a liberal unionist? And are we to take it that you are accepted in respectable society as a gentleman? (!)

  • davidbrew

    Billy,yes I am a member,a Liberal Unionist, and -apparently a gentleman. We have a website but I’m too thick to link to it.

    There are still some Gentlemens’ clubs in Ireland-the Northern Counties’ in Londonderry, the Tyrone in Omagh are the only two provincial clubs left, though the former will soon close.
    Dublin has several clubs in Stephen’s Green-the Stephen’s Green was Daniel O’Connell’s club, and still serves an excellent pint of plain. The Kildare Street and University Club isn’t in Kildare St any more but Stephen’s Green. The Hibernian Militery Club recently closed down.

    There used to be many more -in Downpatrick, Armagh, Cork, Sligo etc. all of which are closed as far as I know. THe URC is amalgamation of the Ulster Club (Conservative) and Reform Club (liberal) both founded in the 1880s. The old Ulster Club was demolished in the 1980s to make the new main post office opposite Macdonalds.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Thanks DB, very interesting. I had no idea such clubs still existed.

    (And can it be that only members of the Reform Club don’t know how to spell the name of the ubiquitous face-of-evil burger chain? Perhaps a suggestion of ivory tower syndrome?)

  • peteb

    Allow me.

    Ulster Reform Club

    (I assume this is the club in question?)