Tillie & Henderson’s shirt factory opened in 1856 at the junction of Abercorn Road and Foyle Road, Derry (next to the ‘Hands Across The Divide’ statue) and survived until 2003 when it was demolished after a fire (BBC); an apartment block is currently planned for the site (Derry Journal | BBC). It was the largest such factory in the world and one of 44 shirt factories in the city in 1900, all of which employed women, many starting in their teens.
It’s been a long time since workers walked en masse from east Belfast to the shipyard, but fish and chips remain popular, though the number of chippies has fallen from about 35,000 in 1920 to 10,500 today (BBC | Dockside). This mural is on the side of the ‘Chipyard’ in Strandtown.
This is a mural of a painting of a mural of a mural. The original is the piece by Terry Bradley (web) and Friz (web) at the Titanic museum, which was then reproduced in a different colour for the opening montage of the Kenneth Branagh film Belfast. The success of the film prompted the Department Of Justice to commission Bradley for a painting that could be turned into a mural and he reproduced the film version (BelTel). The mural that enlarges that painting was painted by DMC on Lanark Way, just above the security gates (Belfast Live).
“The dockers who feature in the painting are inspired by real characters and men Terry remembers walking home from the shipyard when he was a child. These hardworking men from Sailortown, Belfast, show a glimpse into the past of the shipyard pubs, where the men congregated after a hard day’s work.”
The orange lily and the (pale blue) flax flower take their place around the Ulster Banner alongside the English rose and Scottish thistle, and the Irish shamrock is retained even in the presence of the lily. The flax is perhaps included because we are in the Factory area of Larne, near the site of a (former) linen mill. The Welsh daffodil is excluded. The detail above is part of a wider board “Boyne Square celebrates 100 years of Northern Ireland”; the flanking emblems of the Boyne Defenders (LOL 1297), Rangers Supporters club (Larne Branch) – which also uses the shamrock – Boyne Square Bonfire Forum, and Larne & District Great War Society and included below; the emblems of three flute bands can be seen in Norman Anderson and The Gunrunners.
Titanic was built at Harland & Wolff shipyard in east Belfast; it took more than three years to build but was in service for only five days, as it famously hit an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic ocean. The welders formed their own football club, in 1965. The football and hockey players on the right are perhaps associated with Ledley Hall.
Earl Street and Sussex Street used to be sandwiched between wings of the largest tobacco factory in the world, Gallahers, which took up seven acres between York Street and North Queen Street. The factory was partially demolished in 1990 and became Yorkgate shopping centre and the two streets are roughly now the back and front entrances to the Tesco supermarket. These two plaques (both on North Queen Street) are to former residents. William Campbell, a H&W joiner, might have witnessed the construction of Gallahers (in 1897 – Look Again) before dying on Titanic in 1914. Francis Liggett, an IRA volunteer, was shot and killed by British forces during an attempted robbery of the Royal. (He is also remembered in a mural in St James’s near the site of his death and home – see Liggett & Brady.)
Camera Settings: f4, 1/125, ISO 80, full size 4896 x 3264
X06907 X06908 “William Campbell, an Apprentic Joiner at Harland & Wolff, lived in Earl Street, a site now occupied by the shopping centre. He was a member of the company’s Guarantee Group for RMS Titanic and lost his life on the voyage.” “Francis died on 18th January 1973 on IRA active service on the grounds of RVH hospital. Francis was shot dead dead by undercover British soldiers after an exchange of gun fire. 27th January 1948 – 18th January 1973. Francis family home was close to this spot.”
Newcastle artist Alan Burke in 2015 produced four pieces for Eastside Partnership (with funding from the Arts Council) for the area between the Newtownards Road and (what is now) CS Lewis Square (Tele). The piece shown in today’s post is a pair of metalworks depicting the heavy industry of Harland & Wolff. The works themselves are made from sheet metal, stainless steel, and weathering steel which is designed to “form a stable rust-like appearance” after a few years of exposure the elements.
“SOS – Wall St rapes Ireland”. Conor Devine (at EamonnMallie.com) provides context. This message on the mountain (Sliabh Dubh) came and went in a matter of days, if not hours, because the television exposé it was designed to coincide with was not in fact broadcast; also perhaps because parents did not appreciate having to explain rape to their young children – the mountain can be seen from a large portion of west and central Belfast.
The industrial high-point of Belfast, according to this mural, would seem to be when people travelled on trams, cloth was woven by hand, and Titanic sat in dry dock. Only the Shorts-Bombardier aircraft confuses the nostalgia.