Robinson & Cleaver’s (former) Department Store, corner of Donegall Place/Donegall Square.

Robinson and Cleaver was a former department store located on the corner of Donegall Place and Chichester Street. They were renowned for being the most famous store in the world for Irish Linens. They also had a thriving postal order trade.

They had originally opened at Castle Place in 1874, before moving to High Street a few years later. Within just seven years, the firm had established itself the largest postal trade in the city.

Their building on Donegall Place and Chichester Street was designed by Young and Mackenzie and opened in 1888. The building had been a linen warehouse but was converted into a department store on six levels featuring a clock tower, ogee copper domes and a flock of Donatello cherubs carved by Harry Helms.

There were also 50 stone heads of the firm’s patrons including Queen Victoria, the Emperor and Empress of Germany, Lady Dufferin and General Washington, plus symbolic references to overseas marketplaces.

Do you want to learn more about the history of Belfast? We pass this site on my Buildings & Bricks Tour!