Welcome to Banana Block
Banana Block is a new living museum and events space set within a historic linen mill and inspired by the curious connections between Belfast and bananas. Peel the banana a little further and you’ll find a space for original ideas, creative learning and new connections. A space for celebrating eccentric histories and creating incredible futures.
Banana Block is a living museum space showcasing the weird and wonderful things that people have been doing at Portview for generations. We invite you to learn about the past of this community, get involved in its present and help shape its future.
In 1911, East Belfast resident William Richardson became one of the ﬁrst people to cultivate bananas in the British Isles, with some sources claiming he was the first grow bananas that were actually ripe enough to eat.
Belfast-Grown Bananas – Belfast Telegraph 1911
Richardson was also the head gardener to Sir Otto Jaffe, the owner of Strand Spinning Mill, which in the 1930s was a key feature within a vibrant East Belfast community and a global centre of innovation in manufacturing and technology.
Mill workings in a Belfast Spinning Mill, 1911
Belfast and Strand Spinning Mill’s banana connection doesn’t stop there. During the Mill strikes of 1932, bands and workers from both sides of the community went on the march and the only neutral, non-sectarian tune that they knew and could agree on was… you guessed it, ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas’ which was played on repeat.
Outdoor Relief workers and supporters march through Belfast, 1932
We are located at Portview Trade Centre, 310 Newtownards Road BT4 1HE. Banana Block is in Block C which is down the entry beside Lightsource- you take an immediate left as you arrive at the site.
Portview has a no parking policy unless private circumstances are arranged in advance, however disabled and family parking is available. Accessed from Lower Newtownards Road next to Brown’s Funeral Parlour. Nearest parking is at Connswater Retail Park.
By Public Transport:
If you’re coming in from the city centre or central station of Belfast you can either take the G1 glider towards Dundonald and it will drop you on the Albertbridge Road (Connswater stop) or get off at Newtownards Road (Hollywood arches stop). Metro 3 Service and Ulsterbus services stop outside Portview Trade Centre.
Titanic Train halt is a 10 minute walk to Portview Trade Centre.
Limited bike parking onsite. Coca-Cola bikes available at CS Lewis Square.
Yes the site is all one level with ramp access at the Front Entrance.
Find out more about the community of artisan producers, creative entrepreneurs, innovative businesses who call Portview their home here!
Absolutely! We run a range of events here, anything from exhibitions, workshops, tours and we know how to throw a party! Visit our What’s on section of our website.
You can take a look at what we’ve got on @bananablockofficial to see what us bunch are up to day-to-day along with event updates. You can also join our mailing list to be the first to hear about what’s coming up at Banana Block.
We are open throughout the week from Wednesday – Sunday!
Our everyday running of banana block is an inclusive venue to all people of all ages which means we want this space to be accessible and welcome to a bunch of people. As we are a licensed venue, children under the age of 18 must be off site by 9:00 PM. Some events will have an 18+ policy.
Yes, indeed! You can enquire here!
Over here at Banana Block we have a few Covid measures in place to ensure the bunch of you are safe whilst visiting our venue. Hand sanitiser will be provided upon arrival and there will be additional sanitation available inside the venue. We advise face coverings should be worn while walking around the premises. We will be following the latest government guidelines. Our priority is your safety
We are a diverse bunch, and strive to be a welcoming and inclusive space for all genders, sexualities, abilities and needs. We’re always open to learning.