The Black Box is a multi-purpose arts venue in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
The Black Box is housed in a Grade II listed building on Hill Street in the Historical Cathedral Quarter of Belfast, originally constructed c. 1850 and converted into its current usage as an arts venue in 2006.Hill Street, a narrow cobbled street running from Waring Street to Talbot Street, was first depicted on the 1757 map of Belfast as an entry running off Waring Street, the entry was originally known as Pott-House Lane due to the presence of a pottery shop along the street.
By the 1822 map of Belfast, the current layout of the street showed various structures lined the street, including private dwellings, a foundry and, in the mid-to-late-19th century, numerous public houses and licenced properties (Patton, p. 192).
Patton states that the building was constructed in c. 1850; however it is possible that the building possesses an earlier history. In 1843 the Belfast Street Directories noted that a Mr. Henry Steen, a provision merchant, operated from premises on Hill Street next to Elliot’s Court (the same location that Robert Atkinson was recorded from a decade later).
The original construction date of the building is difficult to ascertain due to the extensive refronting of the property in 1871 resulting in the current façade. The property was acquired by Bass. Ratcliff & Gretton ltd., English Brewers sometime before 1900 and continued to occupy the site until the mid-20th Century. Bass’s warehouse survived the heavy bombardment of the Belfast Docklands during the 1941 Blitz.1