Lord Donegall’s town
in Civic identity and public space
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The Donegall family dominated municipal life through their power as landlords and their control of the Corporation. Civic events reflected traditional Tory values of hierarchy and deference. However, the financial difficulties of the second marquis led him to surrender his power as proprietor, while parliamentary reform in 1832 ended the family’s control of the town’s two seats in Parliament. Municipal reform in 1840 transferred control of municipal affairs to an elected council dominated by the town’s business elite, ending the era of proprietorship by the aristocracy.

Civic identity and public space

Belfast since 1780

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