Clifton House, once Belfast's poor house, is home to the Belfast Charitable Society, an organisation which has been responsible for helping the residents of the city for over 250 years. Today it contains a residential home and sheltered accommodation, continuing the philanthropic aims of the organisation.
It was also the house where Belfast's industrial revolution began - turning the city into the major industrial city which went on to build the Titanic. In the late 18th century one of the home's founders, Robert Joy, determined to give the poor house residents skills which would help them gain employment when they left.
He introduced to the house machines for cotton spinning and eventually a cotton mill was built nearby, with most of the workers coming from Clifton House. It was so successful that many Belfast entrepreneurs followed suit, thus paving the way for Belfast's industrial revolution.