A divided city
A divided city
Belfast’s middle classes lived in a divided city. Politically, Belfast was divided for the period under review into Conservative and Liberal camps. Religious divisions existed between Protestants and Roman Catholics, and within Protestantism itself. Society was also separated into different classes, with the middle classes positioned above the working classes and below the aristocracy. Political, religious and class tensions existed in every industrial city, of course. However, in Belfast, religious division assumed a particularly ugly and bitter hue. This chapter focuses on an elite living in a society divided along lines of both class and religion. The relationship of Belfast’s elite to the city’s working classes and the local aristocracy is explored; while a discussion of Belfast’s middle-class Roman Catholic community assesses the extent to which it was integrated into the city’s elite. The chapter also examines the relationship between the middle classes and the city’s growing sectarianism.
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