Move North

Relocation of PS2 from18 Donegall- to 11 North Street

Ends 01 October 2016

Since 1993, Paragon Studios occupied different floors and rooms in their old premises and used these as studio spaces. Since 2004, PS2 used a small ground floor shop unit with 2 large windows as a project space. The small work- and showroom hosted performances, sound installations, 45 budgies on their Butlin’s holidays, one cat, an aquarium, a water fountain and many many artists and creatives developing and presenting projects. The walls and floor- and occasionally the ceiling were painted, white, green, pink, blue and white again. Artists constructed labyrinths, second floors, expanded the room into underfloor realms, rebuilt their homes, carried 400 plants into it and 2 tonnes of clay. They drew on the walls with small pens, with inks and crayons, meticulous nightmares or coloured fields, maps and more maps. They arranged food installations and edible sculptures. They made and developed, tested, experimented and played. And we all looked at it in amazement, surprise, delight, frustration, confusion and astonishment. But we don’t look back, we look North: to more studio spaces and a bigger project space for everyone to look- and come in.
PS² moves into a building full of history: built between 1880/90 it was first a colour and oil shop (Adams) and then, from 1988, the premises of Braddell and Sons, the biggest fishing tackle and gun shop in Ireland. Dating back since 1811, the business came to a smouldering end in 2014, when a small fire damaged the ground floor.
With the planned regeneration of the entire area, PS² hopes to find not just a temporary home before big investors will expel us, but will be able to stimulate, provoke and enrich the neighbourhood with and through contemporary art- not as an exclusive subject for few, but as a cultural asset for many to enjoy and take part.
We won’t sell fishing tackle any more, but we will fish for art and we want others to enjoy and share our passion.

Catching memories

Hello to all former Braddell shoppers
If you have any personal stories and memories about Braddell, your hobby of fishing or shooting and your ties to this famous shop and fishing institution, please get in contact with us. We plan to collect your story for a bigger art project.
Please send an email to pssquared[at]

About 11 North Street from Department of the Environment

'There is a building on the site on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Edition OS maps making it difficult to discern when the current building first appears. However Patton suggests that it was built c1890. In the mid 19th century North Street was home to numerous small businesses from shoemakers and publicans to tallow chandlers and umbrella makers. The Ulster Streets Directory of 1880 notes London & Counties Tea Co, Saml. Cheetham, manager as the occupier of a premises at 11 North Street but by 1901 J. Adams, an oil & colour merchant who had been recorded as the occupier of 7 North Street in 1880, was now noted as the occupier and registered as a glass and colour merchant. This may indicate that a new and improved building was constructed in the intervening time and that Mr Adams decided to move into a more modern premises whilst remaining on North Street. In March 1988, J Braddell & Sons Ltd. moved into the premises where they had two large sales floors, workshop and storage areas which made it probably the largest field sports shop in Ireland, with in the region of 400 rods on display at any one time. Joseph Braddell and his son came from County Donegal to the city of Belfast in 1811 where they set up a business to make and supply sports equipment for the gentry. The first premises were in Castle Place next door to the Ulster Club, convenient to their intended customers. As well as the shop there were five workshops equipped with the most up-to-date machinery powered by their own 15hp engine. There were up to twenty men employed manufacturing the “Ulster Bulldog” revolver, shotguns, fishing rods and golf clubs which were exported world-wide. After the death of Joseph Braddell the business was taken over by Colonel Charles Playfair, the son of a noted Birmingham gunmaker. In 1890, William James Clarke joined the firm as a junior salesman, later becoming manager. In 1915, W.J.Clarke, with the financial assistance of two wealthy customers, bought over the shooting and fishing section of the business and moved to Arthur Square. Another employee, John Knox, took over the golf and other sports sections and opened a shop in Upper Donegall Street. The manufacture of guns and golf clubs ceased after this move although guns bearing the name of Braddell were made by Midland Gun Company and J.W.Tolley. The business continued through the Second World War and the Clarke brothers worked together until 1970 when Bobby Clarke retired. In 1975 they moved to larger premises at 9 North Street which gave more space for display of a larger stock. In April 1982 the business changed ownership, the proprietor of a similar business in Royal Avenue, Belfast, took over. The shop was enlarged and the display areas refinished. After operating as two separate companies for a number of years Braddells and Rankins merged, in March 1988, and moved into larger premises at 11 North Street. The premises is still occupied by J Braddell & Sons Ltd, suppliers of fishing tackle, guns and accessories.
References: Primary Sources 1. First Edition OS Map (1833)
2. Second Edition OS Map (1860)
3. Third Edition OS Map (1938 revision)
Secondary Sources
1. Patton, Marcus. "Central Belfast A Historical Gazetteer." Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 1993, p.245 2. 3.'