Belfast News-Letter, 13 April 1921
On 13 April 1921 a missionary exhibition was launched in Belfast’s Ulster Hall. Organised by the Belfast branch of the Church Missionary Society, the exhibit aimed to recreate examples of day-to-day living as well as ‘pagan worship’ in the Middle East, China, Japan, India, and Nigeria. Re-creations, based on the experience of the society’s missionaries, included a Chinese shop, a Panyam hut, a Japanese living room, and a Bedouin tent (pictured). The exhibition, which ran for two weeks, was organised to raise funds for the Church Missionary Society, an overseas mission founded in London in 1799 by members of the Clapham Sect including William Wilberforce. A year after the Ulster Hall exhibition, the society split over theological differences.
‘Wide-world’ in Belfast: Missionary Exhibition in Ulster Hall, Opening Ceremony To-Day
The “wide-world” in Belfast! Such a statement at first appears somewhat strange, but in a miniature way it is represented in the great missionary exhibition which is to be opened at twelve noon to-day in the Ulster Hall by the Lord Bishop of Down, Right Rev. Dr Grierson, under the auspices of the Belfast auxiliary of the Church Missionary Society.
Curios and articles of unique value from all climes have been gathered together, and are now on view in the Ulster Hall, where they will be explained to the visitors by experts in the various sections. The spacious area has been divided into “courts” representing the numerous lands in which the servants of the society labour, and these should be of surpassing interest to the inhabitants of this country. On entering the hall the visitor will be confronted with the section representing Palestine and Persia, lands which, during the great world-war, were the theatre of many a struggle, with the final triumph of the British forces and the crushing of Turkish rule – the Crescent giving way to the Cross. Here the student will gain information as to the operations of the missionary in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Gaza – names which stir the human breast – while from Persia, the land of an ancient civilisation, there will also be much to fascinate the educationist.
India, with its coral strands, the land of teeming millions and boundless opportunities, is fully represented in the exhibition. There will be found the model of a Zenana, the portion of an Indian home reserved for women, and no doubt this section should be of more than ordinary interest to the ladies, especially when they reflect on the paralysing and degrading conditions under which the daughters of India spend their lives.