The Shipmakers House

Office development
Including Food & Beverage use

18 - 19 Donegall Square East, BT1 5HE

About The Shipmakers House

The Shipmaker's House comprises of No. 18 and 19 Donegall Square East which are two Grade B1 listed Georgian townhouses, currently known as Clarence Chambers. The three-storey terrace date from the early nineenth century (built around 1830) and are associated with the development of the White Linen Hall.

The dwellings are the only suvivor of the original domestic character of Donegall Square. They were originally designed for residential use, with No.18 being constructed for one of Belfast's first merchants - shipowner John Workhouse. By 1870, the buildings changed from residential to commercial use which continues to this day.

The buildings also have some religious significance too. No. 18 was acquired by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) around 1890. No.19 was subsequently acquired by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1892. The YWCA and YMCA gathered here until after the Second World War. No.18 Donegall Square East once had a rear return, however this was demolished and a new assembly hall was built by the YWCA and YMCA.

In July 1987, a planning application was submitted (Z/1987/1493) for 18 Donegall Square East seeking change of use to basement lounge bar. This application was later approved. In April 2019, Belfast hospitality group, Clover, announced it would open a new bar and restaurant in this location, which was a space previously occupied by the Basement Bar. This bar would become known as Margot.

The building was acquired by MJM Pearl Ltd, who later submitted a planning application (LA04/2018/2271/F) proposing to extend and refurbish No. 18 and 19 Donegall Sq East, demolition of rear return and infill buildings and the development of a new 7 story office building. This application was approved in April 2019.

In July 2020, MJM Pearl Ltd submitted a non material change (NMC) application (LA04/2020/1157/NMC) which sought to alter the external appearance of the development. This design changes relate to the geometry of the facade glazing of the building. In August 2020, this NMC application was refused as the Council believed that the proposed change to this planning permission is not acceptable as a non-material change and that a planning application would be required for the revised design for the development on this site.

In June 2022, hoarding was erected around the proposed office develpment site.

In July 2022, Clover Pubs NI submitted a planning application (LA04/2022/1326/LBC) proposing refurbishment works to vacant basement floor of 19 Donegall Square East. The refurbished basement of 19 Donegall Square East will become an extension of the bar (Margot) located in the basement of 18 Donegall Square East.

In February 2024, Clover Pubs NI No.1 Ltd submitted a planning application (LA04/2024/0247/LBC) proposing change of use from vacant storage area/former barbers at basement level & change of use from offices at ground floor to public house (to facilitate extension to existing licensed premises Margot).

Project Information


35000 ft²



Planning References

Project Team


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