Who We Are
The Harrison is owned by Melanie who restored the building back to its former glory when she fell in love with its beautiful facade. Little did we know the interesting stories and inhabitants behind the walls.
The result is sixteen beautiful, bespoke and individual suites and rooms which is a feast for the eyes and full of stories for the soul. We want guests to relax, unwind and enjoy the unique and opulent surroundings. We hope that you will leave as a friend.
The History of The Building
When Melanie found the building it was an office building like many in the row. However these houses had been built as grand residences for wealthy Victorian marchants and their families back in the 1880's. The Harrison was actually two of these houses. One being the home of Mayer, a famous cabinet maker and the other the much celebrated Cleaver family. You can still see much of the legacy John Cleaver left behind in the city as you explore Belfast.
Shown here is a historic picture of the Malone Road showing the location of The Harrison on the Malone Road in the 1920s. We can see Fisherwick church that was originally in Fisherwick place near the city centre and moved to the Malone Road.
The Cleaver Family
John Cleaver was originally from Scotland, he met Edward Robinson when he came to Belfast to work. The two entrepreneurs saw a gap in the market selling fine locally made goods such as linen. Belfast used to be known as Linenopolis at the time.
The ‘Royal Irish Linen Warehouse’ of Robinson & Cleaver opened the same year that Belfast received its charter as a city. The Department store is also known as the "Old Lady" by locals to this day. You can still see the magnificent Robinson & Cleaver building opposite Belfast City Hall although it sadly closed in the 1980's.
With success came great wealth for the founding partners and by this time, they would have been the equivalent of millionaires in today’s money. This reflected in the building where there was a grand staircase, marble colonnades and granite with ornate cornicing and decor everywhere you looked.
Over 60% of all parcels leaving Belfast to be distributed all over the world in the late 1800s were sent by Robinson and Cleaver and most of them contained Linen.
Cleaver married Richhill girl Mary Spence and they had 8 children together. They lived where The Harrison is now. It was then known as Windsor Gardens.
After few years they moved to a mansion just nearby on the Malone Road. It was known as Dunraven but was knocked down to make way for the houses on Cleaver Avenue and Cleaver Park.
John Cleaver lived in 45 Malone Road with his wife Mary and their 8 children
By the 1930's the terrace houses has been converted into apartments. Many of these apartments were inhabited by wealthy, well educated young men. Local people and young female students at the University playfully called it Bachelors' Row.
By the 1960's they were no residents left and all the buildings were occupied by businesses and used for office space.