The jail was constructed in 1824 and like St Columb’s Church, Chapel Road, it is in the ‘Gothik’ style. This is where gothic elements and battlements are added to essentially classical designs. Unlike the Georgian’s, the Victorian’s didn’t seek a unified architectural style, but tended to think that styles should be used as required to create an atmosphere or serve a particular function. Thus, robust defensible classicism was appropriate for banks and gothic in various forms was appropriate for churches, alms houses, jails, hospitals and universities.
The former Union Workhouse on Glendermott Road stands as a testament to
the Famine of 1845-8. Built in Tudor Gothic, a style often used for Alms houses, they were built across Ireland to a standard plan on the eve of the disaster. Designed to be refuges of last resort, they had a deliberately harsh regime with families split into different wings on entering. Though the worst of the effects took place in the rural area- particularly in Donegal or beyond Glenshane, where farms were smaller and more dependent on potatoes, the city and its workhouse would have seen many arrivals in search of assistance, work, or emigration, and was hard
hit by the Cholera epidemic which followed
Transport improvements over the century added to the city’s links to its surroundings. By the end of the period, four railway lines terminated in the city travelling north south east and west. The Waterside terminus of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway (1873)
was the grandest of them all and remains a prominent building in the Waterside. Like the Harbour Office it is in the Italianate Style popularised by Prince Albert when he had Osborne House on the Isle of White constructed for Queen Victoria in 1851
A ll of this emphasis on style transformed the central part of the city. Though the heights established by the buildings of the Georgian's remained, buildings became much more decorative with styles considered appropriate to their function.