The Old Northern Bank Office

Lanyon’s conversion of the old assembly rooms made his name in the city

The old Northern Bank offices at the 'Four Corners' was originally Belfast’s market house and assembly rooms. Designed by Robert Taylor in 1775, it was perhaps the most important building in the Georgian town at that time. Then, in 1845, thirty-two year old Charles Lanyon, surveyor of public works for Antrim, made his name in Victorian Belfast with the conversion of the building for the Belfast Banking Company.

To create the elaborate stucco work for the Italian palazzo-style exterior, Lanyon borrowed from the published designs for Sir Charles Barry’s 1831 Pall Mall Travellers’ Club. Internally, Lanyon preserved as much as possible of Taylor’s work, though his pupil, WH Lynn, extensively remodelled the interior in 1895, leaving none of the Georgian design visible.

A branch of the Northern Bank until 2000, the frequently modified building is currently unoccupied, though used for occasional theatre performances.