The making of a municipal culture
in Civic identity and public space
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The new ‘urban squirearchy’ created by municipal reform, in contrast to the traditional Toryism of the Donegalls, was a forward-looking and dynamic group that initiated large-scale schemes of urban redevelopment. Both public and private building reflected a strong ethos of civic pride. The new urban elite was less effective in dealing with the environmental and public health problems created by urban growth. It was also deeply rooted in sectarianism, ruthlessly excluding Catholics from any share in the running of the town. At popular level too, there was segregation between Catholic and Protestant districts in the expanding working-class areas, and sectarian clashes became progressively more prolonged and violent.

Civic identity and public space

Belfast since 1780

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