The area around Ballyhackamore was once the centre of racing in Ireland and the Sandown Road was in fact part of the course.

Strandtown was so named due to the golden strand which stretched from the bottom of Connsbrook to Holywood, and was popular as a beach for outings in summer time.

Two of the most important industries of Belfast in the last century were based at the bottom of the Newtownards Road. No, not the shipyard, but a glassworks and a pottery (Downshire) which gained a worldwide reputation. These businesses are long since forgotten but in their heyday they represented the trend for growing commercialisation in East Belfast which culminated in the rise of Harland and Wolff to the status of best in the world. Add also the influence of the Belfast Ropeworks, Sirocco, and Shorts, and it's not hard to understand why the East has always been the engineering heart of the city.

A number of prominent East Belfast citizens were involved in the 1798 rebellion — all true Presbyterians of course — and they are recorded for ever in the archives of the court records and some can still be traced to family plots in local cemeteries.

William Holmes Smiles, who founded the Belfast Rope Works in the early 1870s, was the son of Dr Samuel Smiles, the author of the Victorian classic, Self Help. William Smiles lived at Westbank on Palmerston Road. Mrs Lucy Smiles was half-sister to Mrs Beeton, the Victorian cookery expert. They had eleven children and, with William Smiles riding at the front, the entire family (both parents and all children) went for a cycle ride every Saturday afternoon from Westbank at Strandtown to Newtownards, Bangor, Donaghadee and back. One of the children was Lt-Col Sir Walter Dorling Smiles, who became an MP and died on The Princess Victoria sinking in 1953.

The Coates family, who created the Lagan Foundry in the Lagan Village (at the bottom of the Ravenhill Road), built and owned Woodstock Road, Moore Street, Swift Street, Hamilton Place, Woodstock Place, Ravenhill Road, Victor Street, Glenwherry Street, Mount Street, Henryville Street, Malcolm Lane, Radnor Street, Halcombe Street, Spring Street, Grovefield Street, Well Street, Lawnmount Street, My Lady's Road, Shamrock Street, Glentoran Street, Rathmore Street, Wallace's Row, Murray's Place, Ballarat Street, St Kilda's Street, Bendigo Street, Dunvegan Street, Carrington Street, Park Parade, Coates' Row, McMullan's Lane, Bennett's Place, Dann's Row and Albertbridge Road!!

The obituary of Sir Edward Harland (December 1895) in The Northern Whig stated that "He cared during [the early days of Harland & Wolff] very little for his personal comfort, or even for the not very agreeable effluvia from the river. He had not, he said, suffered from the stench; he did not see therefore why others should consider it a nuisance. During those years, when he was engaged in building up his fame and fortune with his ships, he had to content himself often with somewhat hard fare. He not long ago talked of the days when he went to work with a herring for breakfast in his pocket".