Click below to find out more about the eccentric people that make Banana Block!


William Henry Richardson from East Belfast became the first person in the British Isles to grow ripe edible bananas and owned a fruit shop on the Newtownards Road.

Otto Jaffe was Belfast Mayor twice, built the Strand Spinning Mill and grew banana trees in East Belfast with his head gardener WHR.

The BURC board bought the Portview site after the Mill closed. They also opened NI’s first social enterprise bar, the John Hewitt, and are invested in community regeneration.

Allie Nickell is an East Belfast based historian and researcher who uncovered the story of her great grandfather WHR’s banana trees.

Did you get a taste of our collaboration with Boundary Brewery? Our very own Banana Beer!

Marion is an East Belfast and Banana Block resident. She is a music producer, a dj and owns Sound Advice Records.

Between 1927 and 1932, Banana Ben called at people’s houses as part of an advertising campaign. He would give you a ten shilling note in exchange for six Fyffes blue banana labels.

Darren Hawkes is a gold medalist at the Chelsea Flower Show, and our Banana Block plant whisperer! He sourced, curated and planted our tropical banana ring.

Terry and Judy are our Hearty Growers, running their gourmet oyster mushroom farm out of Banana Block.

Our tenants

Find out more about the community of artisan producers, creative entrepreneurs, innovative businesses who call Portview their home. Meet the tenants and get a behind-the-scenes peek inside their worlds of mushroom growing, cheese making and record collecting.


Indie Fude are an independent deli and online store. They will be working in Banana Block in collaboration with Velocheese, to produce italian style cheeses and other products.

Sound Advice

Sound Advice is Banana Block’s very own record store, owned and run by local DJ, producer and avid record collector Marion Hawkes.


Terry and Judy promise to bring the freshest and tastiest range of gourmet mushrooms to the local market food scene that would have traveled the least amount of miles from their urban farm in Belfast to your table.

Banana Ring


Central to Banana Block is an interactive display of banana plants and other rare species which we are growing in homage to the mill’s former gardener, William Richardson, who was one of the first people to cultivate bananas in the British Isles.

Our spaces

Spaces to celebrate eccentric histories and creating incredible futures.


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.

What's the story?

What’s The Story is an adjacent gallery space for community takeovers and inventive displays. We will be working with members of the public and community groups to fill this space with regular displays of artwork, stories and soundscapes, expressing unique perspectives on the past, present and future.