History of The Cleaver Family
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 ‘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 over time.
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. Belfast was nicknamed Linenopolis as we were the world's largest exporter of linen.
This precipitated a move to a larger house on the Malone Road for the Cleaver family – a large Victorian terrace opposite Fisherwick Presbyterian Church. This is now The Harrison Chambers of Distinction
Lennoxvale across the road from the Harrrison was the home of Hu Robinson (below), a brother of Edward Robinson, both directors of Robinson & Cleaver. Although Hu was not one of the original partners, the department store theme prevails all around the Harrison!