Donegall Street is an example of a terrace of Georgian townhouses belonging to the middle classes of the developing Belfast society. They originate from the late Georgian period, a time when Belfast was rapidly urbanising and industry was beginning to grow. Many people who had originally made a living from the land were moving into cities throughout Britain to find work in other areas. The development of the Georgian terrace was a response to the demand for city housing for the increasing population.
When Donegall Street was first laid out in the early 1770’s it was situated in open countryside, well outside the small, crowded streets of the town centre. The Georgian townhouses of Donegall Street were built in the 1790s and were home to merchants, doctors and ‘gentlemen’. The current St. Patrick’s Church was built in 1874, replacing an earlier chapel. The neighbouring house became the palace of the Bishop of Down and Connor.