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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom
BELFAST (City and County Borough)
Additions : 1974 Antrim RDC (partly), Larne RDC, Newtownabbey UDC (partly)
Arms : Party per esse argent and azure, in chief a pile vair and on a canton gules a bell argent, in base a ship with sails set argent on waves of the sea proper.
Crest : On a wreath of the colours, a sea-horse gorged with a mural crown proper.
Supporters : Dexter, a wolf proper, ducally gorged and chained or; sinister, a sea-horse gorged with a mural crown proper.
Motto: Pro tanto quid retribuamus
The arms were officially granted on June 30, 1890.
The vair-along with the supporting wolf-is taken from the arms of Sir Arthur Chichester, the founder of Belfast as it exists today, who obtained the city's charter from James I in 1613. The ship tells of Belfast's pre-eminence as a seaport, as do the seahorses, and the bell is canting. The motto means "What return shall we make for so much?", and is a paraphrase of a verse from Psalm 116. The arms were first used on the city's seal, made circa 1640, but were not granted until 1890.
The arms on collector's items:
The arms as used on a JaJa postcard +/- 1905
The arms on a Wills's cigarette card, 1906
The arms in the Coffee Hag albums +/- 1925
The arms on a Mitchell's cigarette card, 1911
The arms as used on a Faulkner postcard +/- 1905
The arms in the Abadie albums
The arms in the city:
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© since 1995, Heraldry of the World, Ralf Hartemink Scott-Giles, C.W. : Civic heraldry of England and Wales, London, 1932 Briggs, G. : Civic and corporate heraldry. Heraldry Today, Ramsbury, 1971 Vinycomb, J. : The seals and armorial insignia of corporate and other towns of Ulster, The Ulster Journal of Archaeology vol. 1, 1894, provided by Z. W. Eisler.