The Oasis

According to a history of Brown’s Square, the area was known as “the oasis” during WWII on account of its 3 dance-halls and 22 pubs (Religion, Riots And Rebels). As with so much publicly-funded art (though we cannot find any provenance for this art) it depicts Belfast in the “good old days” – that is, before the Troubles, which produced the so-called “peace line” dividing west Belfast.

In this case of Brown’s Square, the area was further desolated in anticipation of a planned ring road (formally to be known as the Belfast Urban Motorway). the plan produced only the subterranean “Westlink” that cut Brown’s Square in half. The images in today’s post are in Townsend Street, (these are from below the security gates; there are others above it). Before the construction of the Westlink, which opened in 1981, Townsend Street was considered the western border, and part of Brown’s Square. John Gilbert’s photographs at the Belfast Archive Project show the area in the mid-seventies, when much of it had been abandoned but prior to construction.

The Boys Brigade are shown parading in front of Townsend Presbyterian which held its last service in September and is being handed over to the Ulster Orchestra (Belfast Media) (see previously On The Other Side for stained glass windows inside the church). The Brown’s Square school was at the junction of Brown’s Square (the street) and Melbourne Street.

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Camera Settings: f5.6, 1/250, ISO 100, full size 3234 x 3234

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Camera Settings: f5.6, 1/250, ISO 100, full size 3012 x 3012

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Camera Settings: f5.6, 1/250, ISO 100, full size 3366 x 3366

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Camera Settings: f5.6, 1/250, ISO 100, full size 3174 x 3174

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Camera Settings: f5.6, 1/250, ISO 100, full size 3480 x 3480

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