Thorndyke Street, Belfast, Co. Down

Thorndyke Street, Belfast is home to a large mural depicting the history of the area including a section remembering the Belfast Blitz of April 1941.

Thorndyke Street

Belfast

Co. Down

BT5 4QB

United Kingdom

Thorndyke Street stands off Templemore Avenue, Belfast, Co. Down. Before the war, the East Belfast street had been a quiet residential community. The Belfast Blitz would change the street forever.

The street is on the fringe of the docks area and the heart of industrial Belfast. Luftwaffe maps show they aimed for the shipyards, rope and linen factories and gasworks. Nearby Westbourne Street, Newcastle Street and Ravescroft Avenue were all but destroyed.

Belfast Blitz - Thorndyke Street

Belfast Telegraph Photo: AR 175 (Part of the Belfast Telegraph Collection). Rescue teams, Air Raid Precaution Wardens and Vicars amongst the remains of Thorndyke Street, Belfast. 16th April 1941.

Thorndyke Street in 1939

The following information is taken from the 1939 Belfast Street Directory.

NumberFirst Name(s)Last NameOccupation
1SamuelMcCleeryCar Owner
3Gateway
5ThomasPattersonPlumber
7DMcCabeBoilermaker
9Mrs. JaneTomlinson
11Miss JaneBurns
13HamiltonMcClementsDriver
15Mrs. AWoodrow
17DavidGordonBarman
19SamuelNesbittIron Turner
21Mrs. MaryScott
23Mrs. ElizabethMcDowell
25ThomasForsterFireman
27RobertFinlayDairyman
29JosephMcKintyFitter
31Mrs. EllenBlair
33WilliamGreerLabourer
35Emerson
37JohnCraigLabourer
39JosephTomlinsonLabourer
41HDevlinFitter
43WilliamCaruthFitter
45SamuelSherranPublian
47Mrs. JaneMcDonald
49Miss SHaggan
51WilliamSkillen
53JamesMageeRivetter
55RobertDempsterLabourer
57HHowarthOperator
59ESkillenPlater's Helper
61EdwardNeillShoemaker
63JohnSmyth
65WilliamHagganLabourer
67GeorgeGrayShoemaker
69SamuelMillerStoreman
71JamesReidConductor
73Mrs. SarahMiller
75JosephNobleLabourer
77CMcMasterVan Man
79GeorgeGibsonLabourer
81WilliamElliottLabourer
83ASpenceLabourer
85MatthewGorman
87JohnBrownLabourer
89SamuelNelsonConductor
91Mrs. ElizabethKelso
93Mrs. MaryBradley
95Miss EMMiller
97EdwardNewman
99TATurnerTram Conductor
101JamesFisherDriver
103JohnBradleyFitter
105JohnIrvineBricklayer
107OWWilsonLabourer
109ThomasGilpinHairdresser
111JEEdgarLabourer
113AndrewLamontLabourer
115SamuelPeacockLabourer
117DavidBrockelsleyLabourer
119ThomasLong
8Miss MCrotty
10Miss JScott
12Miss SarahHughes
14JamesIrvineFitter
16RobertWherryIron Turner
18RobertDunlopTurner
20JohnRobinsonCivil Servant
22AGreerTraveller
24SLunnBrass Finisher
26RChambersIron Turner
28RobertMooreheadLabourer
30Mrs. IsabellaHawthorne
32HughMcConnellLabourer
42Miss SadieGilmore
44AlexanderMcGrath
46CharlesLatimerLabourer
48DBeckLabourer
50MatthewSmythLabourer
52JohnMcAfeeLabourer
54GeorgeMaxwellLabourer
56JamesGilpinMachinist
58WilliamSaundersRivetter
60Mrs. MargaretRyan
62Mrs. ACotter
64JohnOgleDriver
66WilliamGormanLabourer
68RobertPattersonLabourer
70DavidHarrisonMarker
72AMcClementsDriver
74WilliamWarkRivetter
76AlexanderMcFarlaneLabourer
78JamesHagganLabourer
80RobertIrvineHouse Painter
82SChambersLabourer
84AlexanderHamiltonHolder Up
86Mrs. CatherineCabrey
88JosephGardinerWeaver
90Frederick ThomasMcCartney
92HMcCreadyLabourer
94HaroldNeillClerk

The Belfast Blitz

A large mural commemorating the Belfast Blitz stands in Thorndyke Street dating back to October 2004. The painting shows the aftermath of the Luftwaffe bombs that destroyed an air raid shelter in the street on 15th-16th April 1941. The names of 7 residents and 2 Air Raid Precautions Wardens feature on the mural although many more died on the street that night.

Most of those killed on Thorndyke Street died in an air raid shelter. Shelters were not always well built and the reinforced roof of this one collapsed on those inside. Around them, the street was strewn with rubble where houses once stood.

Hitler attacks Belfast

By 1941 Belfast was making a hugely significant contribution to the British war effort, a fact, which did not go on unnoticed by the Germans. During the war, Belfast built 140 ships, ten percent of the merchant shipping of the United Kingdom. The city and province also manufactured guns, tanks, ammunition, aircraft (including 1,500 heavy bombers), two million parachutes, 90% of the shirts required by the armed forces and one-third of the ropes required by the War Office. All this made Belfast a glaringly obvious target for the Germans.

The Luftwaffe made several attacks on Belfast with including an attack by 180 bombers on the night on 15th and 16th April 1941. The principal targets were the shipyard and the aircraft factory in east Belfast. East Belfast in general and Thorndyke Street in particular, as you can see from the mural did not escape the attention of the German bombers. Across Belfast 745 civilians were killed, 420 were seriously injured and more than 1,000 less seriously.

April and May 1941 an estimated 56,000 houses were damaged, some 100,000 people were made temporarily homeless and a further 15,000 were deprived of their homes completely

Thorndyke Street Mural – Belfast, October 2004

Thorndyke Street in 1943

The following information is taken from the 1943 Belfast Street Directory.

NumberFirst Name(s)Last NameOccupation
1-31Vacant
33WilliamGreerLabourer
35Mrs. EMcDowell
37JohnCraigLabourer
39JosephTomlinsonLabourer
41HDevlinFitter
43JohnDepoeBlacksmith
45SamuelSherranPublican
47Mrs. JaneMcDonald
49Miss SHaggan
51WilliamSkillen
53JamesMageeRivetter
55RobertDempsterLabourer
57JohnDempsterLabourer
59ESkillenPlater's Helper
61EdwardNeillShoemaker
63JamesWoodsElectrician
65WilliamHagganLabourer
67GeorgeGrayShoemaker
69ArthurDuckettLabourer
71JamesReidConductor
73Mrs. SarahMiller
75JosephNobleLabourer
77CMcMasterVan Man
79GeorgeGibsonLabourer
81WilliamElliottLabourer
83ASpenceLabourer
85MatthewGorman
87JohnBrownLabourer
89SamuelNelsonConductor
91Vacant
93Mrs. MaryBradley
95Miss EMMiller
97EdwardNewman
99ThomasOgle
101JamesFisherDriver
103JohnBradleyFitter
105JohnIrvineBricklayer
107OWWilsonLabourer
109ThomasGilpinHairdresser
111AlexanderMeikle
113AndrewLamontLabourer
115SamuelPeacockLabourer
117DavidBrockelsberryLabourer
119ThomasLong
8-26Vacant
28Occupied
30SamuelRogersLabourer
32HenrySandfordLabourer
42SamuelWelshLabourer
44AlexanderMcGrath
46CharlesLatimerLabourer
48DBeckLabourer
50MatthewSmythLabourer
52JohnMcAfeeLabourer
54GeorgeMaxwellLabourer
56JamesGilpinMachinist
58Mrs.Saunders
60Mrs. MargaretRyan
62Mrs. ACotter
64JohnOgleDriver
66WilliamGormanLabourer
68RobertPattersonLabourer
70DavidHarrisonMarker
72AMcClementsDriver
74WilliamWarkRivetter
76AlexanderMcFarlaneLabourer
78JamesHagganLabourer
80RobertIrvineHouse Repairer
82SChambersLabourer
84AlexanderHamiltonHolder Up
86Mrs. CatherineCabrey
88JosephGardinerWeaver
90Frederick ThomasMcCartney
92HMcCreadyLabourer
94HaroldNeillClerk

Casualties of the Belfast Blitz

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