Northern Ireland news

Bust of Mary Ann McCracken unveiled at one of Belfast's newest housing developments

Ellene Rossi and Caitriona Liggett representing the Mary Ann McCracken Camogie club pose as a bust of the social campaigner is unveiled at the corner of Stanhope Street and Clifton Street in north Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.

TWO hundred and fifty years after her birth, the bust of one of Belfast's most important citizens has been put up at one of the city's newest housing developments.

Mary Ann McCracken's likeness was unveiled at the corner of Stanhope Street and Clifton Street in north Belfast, an area associated with the social reformer, philanthropist and abolitionist.

The Carrick Hill Residents Association raised the funds for the partial bronze artwork by local sculptor Anto Brennan.

Member and campaigner Frank Dempsey said it was placed with the agreement of Choice Housing which has recently completed the block of four houses and six apartments.

It was unveiled by Unison regional secretary Patricia McKeown, whose grandparents and great great grandparents hailed from the area.

"We're hoping in time the block will be named McCracken House after Mary Ann McCracken," Mr Dempsey said.

Mary Ann McCracken was born into a liberal Presbyterian family of Scottish and French Huguenot heritage.

She managed a successful muslin business in Belfast, led the Women's Abolitionary Committee in Belfast during the height of the anti slavery movement

As a child McCracken helped raise funds and provide clothes for the children sheltered by the Belfast Charitable Society in nearby Clifton House.

It was originally built with money raised by her uncles, Henry and Robert Joy and her father also served on its board.

She later formed the Ladies Committee of the Belfast Charitable Movement which helped educate the children and secure apprenticeships that would provide them with livelihoods.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news