Friday, 19 February 2016

The Carlton, Belfast

I have received an old marketing brochure for the Carlton Café and Restaurant, which was located at 25, Donegall Place, Belfast, until about 1954.

I'm very grateful to David Thompson of McConnell's chartered surveyors and properties for this information.

25, Donegall Place is, I believe, the oldest remaining building on this thoroughfare.

It was built in 1790-91 by Roger Mulholland as part of a terrace of three houses.

Donegall Place frontage

The premises extended back to Fountain Street, where there was once another entrance (the premises today are known as Carlton House).


In the late Victorian era, Number 25 was occupied by a furrier called Lowry; and it was acquired by the Carlton during the inter-war years.

The Carlton closed its premises in Donegall Place about 1954 and relocated to 11, Wellington Place.

The directors in 1974 were as follows: Henry Toner; David Andrews; Dawson Moreland; Samuel Meharg; James S Andrews; Thomas Baker.

main restaurant

The main restaurant in Donegall Place boasted alternate panels of mirror plate and rose-coloured silk, surrounded by mauve decorations between substantial pilasters.

At the rear, a large soda fountain was installed which dispensed "iced beverages, ices and iced fruits."

The restaurant was approached through the shop.

The Locksley Hall restaurant was located behind the restaurant.

This room had Romanesque mahogany pilasters with gold-bound panels of Oriental, atmospheric, prismatic colouring, producing a cheerful "Plein Air" feeling.

The ceiling was painted in delicate tints of pale sage green and antique ivory.

It extended to over 2,800 square feet and could be subdivided.

There was an entrance from Fountain Street.

The Oak Room

The Oak Room was 
a regal apartment of comfort and elegance, panelled in natural oak, elaborately carved with all the correctness of detail and charm of execution of the LOUIS XV period; and relieved by smaller panels of rich tapestry of antique colour and design.
On two sides of the room, large mirrors were inserted in the oak walls.

An Oriental carpet graced the floor.

On the first floor from the shop was The Ladies' Room, "a beautiful apartment overlooking Donegall Place."

It was decorated in subdued tones of blue and gold, and "most exquisitely furnished."

The Smoke Room was on the second floor, "a most comfortable and restful apartment, overlooking Donegall Place."

It was beautified in the Jacobean style and contained "all the comforts of a luxurious divan."

The Balcony

The Balcony was available for dining or afternoon tea.

The Grand Ballroom was beside the Balcony:
Passing the celebrated Herbert Mortimer Orchestra, we mount a few steps and enter the GRAND BALLROOM, a veritable salon, both in purity of style and correctness of detail, reminiscent of that famous period of refinement and elegance - Louis Quinze.
The Grand Ballroom

The colour scheme was ivory white, with delicate shades of shell pink and pastel blue, enhanced by an oak parquetry floor.

This ballroom had a floorspace of 3,200 square feet and seated 300 or up to 400 for dancing.

It had a separate entrance from Fountain Street.

As a matter of interest, the Carlton operated a bakery in Donegall Avenue.

Number 25, Donegall Place, today is the retailer Oasis.

1 comment :

Kathleen Conti said...

My parents met at the Carlton Cafe in 1942 or 43. My mother was a waitress there and my was an American working for Lockheed servicing airplanes for the war effort preceding D Day.