Cathedral Quarter Episode Two:
The Early Pioneers

This is an interpretative piece charting the development of the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast. It focuses on three of the pioneers of what was to become the Cathedral Quarter.

Barrie Todd founded Todd Architects and moved to Cathedral Quarter in 1989. It was to become the largest locally-owned architectural practice in Northern Ireland. Barrie chaired the local Business and Arts group in Cathedral Quarter, with a view to encouraging the re-development of this area as an Arts and Cultural quarter. He canvassed Government for the establishment of a major arts centre in the area from 1989-2005, and subsequently joined the board of Old Museum Arts Centre which became the Metropolitan Arts Centre (The MAC). The MAC was opened in Cathedral Quarter in 2011.

Nick Price established Nick’s Warehouse in 1989. A multi-award winning restaurant, it soon established itself as one of Northern Ireland’s most forward-thinking and progressive restaurants. The ground floor brasserie had a light industrial feel and a more intimate upstairs restaurant. Nick Price was a founder member of the local Business and Arts group in Cathedral Quarter working towards the redevelopment of the area.

Brendan Mackin, founder and chair of the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC), returned to Belfast from a trip to Liverpool in 1995 where he had visited ‘The Flying Picket’ – a bar owned by a charity group. He was immediately taken by the idea. BURC relied on public grants to fund its training and employment work, but was not able to fund advocacy initiaitves, so the idea that an organisation could generate some of its funds, especially in Belfast where there was political vetting of organisations in receipt of public funds, was appealing. The old News Letter printing offices, located on Donegall Street, in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, were purchased and the John Hewitt bar became a reality.

cathedral quarter