Portrait of an Industrial City
Clanging Belfast, 1750-1914
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'Hammers clanging' was the sound that the great nineteenth-century novelist William Makepeace Thackeray associated with Belfast when he visited in 1842. By then, Belfast's industrial development was well under way. Had Thackeray visited the city in 1900, he would not have been surprised to find it was by then the fastest growing city in the British Isles. It had outstripped Dublin as the largest on the island of Ireland; indeed it ranked third in the British Empire - and still echoed to the sound of those clanging hammers.
Industrialisation was the engine of Belfast's remarkable growth and the principal contributors to its industrial development - shipbuilding, linen and engineering - take pride of place in one chapter.
Throughout Portrait of an Industrial City, Clanging Belfast 1750-1914, the deft use of primary sources and documents illuminates the intriguing story of Belfast, an industrial city described in 1914, at the end of the book's period of interest, as 'really a wonder'.
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