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Pictures of the 1935 Belfast Riots in York Street

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A Rolls-Royce Armoured car in York Street,  June 1935.

A Rolls-Royce Armoured car in York Street, June 1935.

In Belfast during 1935 months of rising tension turned into some of the worst rioting in the city since 1920-22. By July the maze of side streets running between York Street and North Queen Street resounded to the noise of rifle and revolver fire with the Manchester Guardian describing the situation in the area as “something in the nature of a “reign of terror””.

The Northern Ireland Home Affairs Minister Dawson Bates, actually one of the more ‘Orange’ of Unionist politicians at the time, decided to ban all parades in the city. It took just four days for Bates to rescind the ban after being told by the Belfast Grand Master of the Orangemen that demonstrations would take place anyway ‘no matter what restrictions were placed upon us’.

It was estimated that between 30 and 40 thousand orangemen marched through the city on the 12th July accompanied by what Lord Craigavon, the Grand Master of the County Down Orangemen and Prime Minister of Northern Ireland described as “the inspiriting sound of the Orange flute and the big drum”.

Although the actual day of the 12th was relatively quiet during the next week or so the sectarian bitterness erupted in the York Street area into serious violent rioting. Initially, the drivers used to outbreaks of violence at that time of the year, the trams continued up and down the street but with the passengers crouching on the floor to avoid the snipers on the rooftops. By the 21 July almost 2,000 people, mostly Catholic, had fleed their homes after being forcibly evicted often with their furniture burnt in the street. Seven protestants and three Catholics lost their lives with 55 Catholics and 28 Protestants seriously injured.

Troops were called out in Belfast, Ireland on July 13, 1935, when rioting between Unionists and Nationalists flared up again. Soldiers on guard with fixed bayonets in York Street. (AP Photo/BEAD)

Troops were called out in Belfast, Ireland on July 13, 1935, when rioting between Unionists and Nationalists flared up again. Soldiers on guard with fixed bayonets in York Street. (AP Photo/BEAD)

York Street, July 13th 1935. (AP Photo/BEAD)

York Street, July 13th 1935. (AP Photo/BEAD)

An armoured car progressing along York Street, Belfast on July 14, 1935 when rioting between Unionists and Nationalists flared up. (AP Photo/BEAD)

An armoured car progressing along York Street, Belfast on July 14, 1935 when rioting between Unionists and Nationalists flared up. (AP Photo/BEAD)

An armoured car fitted with wire netting to protect the crew patrolling a street in Belfast. Fresh trouble broke out in Belfast on July16, 1935 when a man was wounded by a bullet at the funeral of James Lyttle, an Orangeman killed during Saturday's shooting. A street battle followed and many people were injured and three houses burned down. A detachment of military and armoured cars were rushed to the scene to quell the disturbance. (AP Photo/BEAD)

An armoured car fitted with wire netting to protect the crew patrolling a street in Belfast.
Fresh trouble broke out in Belfast on July16, 1935 when a man was wounded by a bullet at the funeral of James Lyttle, an Orangeman killed during Saturday’s shooting. A street battle followed and many people were injured and three houses burned down. A detachment of military and armoured cars were rushed to the scene to quell the disturbance. (AP Photo/BEAD)

Police armed with rifles descending from an armoured car to pursue gunmen in crowd following the shooting affray when James Lyttle's funeral procession passed York Street, Belfast on July 16, 1935. Cages for protection. (AP Photo/MAC)

Police armed with rifles descending from an armoured car to pursue gunmen in crowd following the shooting affray when James Lyttle’s funeral procession passed York Street, Belfast on July 16, 1935. Cages for protection. (AP Photo/MAC)