1988, with gap site to Little May Street
Flats replace the bombed building
The Markets area of Belfast was developed on marshy land reclaimed
from the mill dam of the Joy family's paper mill, which was situated at
the junction of Cromac Street and Ormeau Avenue during the 18th
century. Joy Street was mostly developed between 1825 and 1840. Many of
the houses were built of local dark brick and only very soberly
ornamented, but this group was probably one of the last developments in
the area and built at the beginning of the Victorian period when
fashion was moving towards stucco plasterwork and richer decoration of
architraves and doorcases.
The terrace originally comprised three houses and a flat over a shop on the corner with Little May Street, but the shop was bombed in the 1970s and its site cleared. The terrace was acquired by the Housing Executive as part of the Markets redevelopment. Although it was listed, the decision was taken, when it was found to be surplus to requirements, to put the terrace on the market as a commercial site. Hearth argued that there was sufficient housing need in the area to justify its retention, acquired the property in 1986 and put caretaker tenants in pending restoration, which got under way in 1989. As a housing association scheme it was not practicable to restore the corner shop, and no.12 was rebuilt as flats, providing a wider choice of houses.
Nos.4 and 6 have now been restored as three-storey family houses, with alcoves in the cross-walls of the ground floor front rooms, panel doors and simple moulded cornices. No.8 was an entry to the rear of the property, and remains such. No.10 was to have been restored, but proved structurally very fragile and when piling for the replacement of no.12 was under way the decision was reluctantly taken to demolish the house and rebuild it in replica. Both it and the flats at no.12 and 31 Little May Street are therefore of modern construction, but the continuity of the houses with the important Georgian terrace at 14-16 Joy Street, restored some years earlier by the Housing Executive, has been retained.
Hearth Housing Association
Quantity Surveyor: McNeil Rainey & Best
Main Contractor: Andrew Bradley Ltd, Magherafelt
Funded by Housing Association Grant
Accommodation: One four-bedroom house, two three-bedroom houses, one one-bedroom flat, one two-bedroom flat
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