Northern Ireland news

New history project aims to collect memories of Belfast's famous Folktown market area

A new oral history project aims to collect memories of Smithfield and surrounding areas. Picture by Belfast Exposed Archive
John Monaghan

FORMER residents and traders from one of Belfast's famous market areas are being urged to contribute their memories of yesteryear to a new oral history project.

The area around Smithfield, King Street, Castle Street, Bank Street and Berry Street, now known as Folktown, was once the focal point of the city's traders.

A new project entitled What's Your Story? aims to collect as much material on the stories and characters of the area's heyday.

Joby Fox, director of Folktown Community Interest Company (CIC), said it was a subject close to his heart.

"My parents met in the old Orchid Cabaret Club in the 1950s so if it wasn't for this area, I wouldn't be here. My father was from Fermanagh and was up in the big smoke when he met my mother from Belfast.

"We want everyone to share their memories of this area. There are many who still remember the old Smithfield and the characters who worked there. We have been getting the word out through fliers and social media."

Sophie Rasmussen, fellow director of Folktown CIC, said: "In the future we also hope to develop an app so that people can hear all the stories as they walk around the area.

"We would appeal for people to come forward. All their memories are of value and it would be great to pass them on to the next generation."

The project is the latest part of the Heritage Celebrations project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A team of volunteers is being put together to record interviews, research archive material and gather as many stories as possible.

When completed, it will be uploaded to the website of Folktown CIC and form part of a Folktown Heritage booklet.

A number of sessions are also planned for July, when people can get together and share stories.

To get involved with the Folktown Oral History Project, visit or email

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