Tours of Belfast tend to focus on things like the Titanic and the Troubles, but one building bears hidden scars from another moment in history. Look out for a plaque on the Telegraph building, and you’ll find lingering damage from the German air raids of 1941.
Belfast was hit hard during World War II. In the spring of 1941, German planes flying over the city killed around 900 people, injured thousands, and destroyed more than 50,000 homes, churches, and businesses.
Not much remains to be seen from this horrific period. But the Telegraph building bears remarkable witness to this terrible destruction, and tells an incredible story of civilian resilience. Somehow—through the terror, despite the damage—the paper continued to publish without delay or interruption.
On April 19, 1941, after hundreds of people had already been killed, and before the bombings were through, the Telegraph published its famous “Carry On, Belfast” message, which concluded by quoting what a local businessman had painted on his destroyed building: “Business as usual. I never liked window-dressing anyway. Now I’ve got a good a good excuse for not doing it. CARRY ON, BELFAST.”
The Telegraph no longer operates out of this building, but its message endures. A small, easily overlooked plaque highlights the building’s scars and honors those who refused to let the bombings stop them from carrying on.
Know Before You Go
To find the plaque, locate the blocked-up corner doorway under the word 'Telegraph." The plaque is on the right-hand side on some grey stonework.