The first church was built on this site in 1815 and was the second Catholic church built since the Reformation in the city of Belfast.
On the edge of inner city Belfast, Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church serves as a sober reminder of the city’s architectural legacy and its troubled past. Designed in the Gothic Revival style by noted architect WH Lynn and completed in 1875, the church was home to one of the largest Methodist congregations in Belfast. The sandstone and limestone exterior of the building was renovated in 1966, but the church ceased to be used as a place of worship by 1982, a consequence of the declining congregation and its location at a major interface between Catholic and Protestant populations.
At the heart of one of the most troubled parts of Belfast, the congregation shrank rapidly during the late 1960s and 1970s. The church trustees sold the adjacent Church Halls in the late 1970s and finally closed the church in 1982.
It was used briefly as artists workspace but by the mid 1990s the building had fallen into total disuse. The Trust successfully nominated the building for inclusion on the World Monument Fund Watch 2010 – a biennial list of the most endangered cultural and heritage sites in the world. Emergency stabilisation work was completed in 2012 and in June 2015 BBT completed a repaired roof and temporary internal services meaning that the building can once again be used by the public. Restoration of Carlisle Memorial is not about the past. Rather, it is a statement of confidence for the future that anticipates when the building will again become a vibrant and contributing place.