Understanding the past - where we have come from and what has moulded us - is important everywhere, and nowhere more so than in Northern Ireland's largest city. For 250 years Belfast, though quite unlike anywhere else in Ireland, was similar to many of the other great industrial cities of the United Kingdom. It embraced the industrial revolution wholeheartedly, and witnessed enormous economic success and expansion as a result. In its heyday it was a great port, a powerhouse of linen manufacturing, ship-building, and engineering, and a truly dominant force in the northern Irish economy. As the iconic shell of RMS Titanic was taking shape high above her Queen's Island birthplace, Edwardian Belfast was near the peak of her economic might. But within the city there developed patterns of community division and conflict - based on religion - which in their severity and seeming permanence have rendered it quite unique among the cities of the British Isles.
From the seventeenth-century Ulster plantations to Catholic migration from elsewhere in Ireland, the particular mix of people in Belfast has always been different from everywhere else and has fundamentally shaped the city's identity and history over successive centuries. Much of the industry has now gone, and for many years the city had to struggle with the pain of adjustment, at the same time as it was being scarred by a generation of the Troubles. Now, with a hard-won peace, investment and renewed hope, it is an excellent time to stand back and make a new assessment of the history that has brought Belfast to where it is today. Historian William Maguire, who has lived in Belfast for most of his life, succeeds here in painting an accurate, authentic and above all a balanced picture of the city, its events and its people.
Preface and acknowledgements ix 1 Site for a city 1 The castle at the ford 9 2 Founding fathers 21 A new town 23 The 1641 Irish rebellion 28 3 War, peace and survival, 1642-1706 29 4 A long minority, 1706-1760 38 Castle versus Corporation 38 Religion 41 5 Architects and agitators: Belfast, 1760-1800 50 Radicalism and repression 59 6 Industry, trade and politics, 1800-1860 70 Industrial revolution 70 Trade, finance and communications 74 Population growth and urban problems 81 Political change and political power 85 7 'Fit and proper persons', 1800-1860 87 Local government 90 Sectarianism 94 Religion and education 97 8 Industry, trade and society, 1861-1901 102 Linen 102 Ship-building 105 Engineering 107 Other industries 109 The port 112 Population change 114 Housing and urban development 116 Transport 120 Sanitation and health 121 Working conditions 126 Education 127 Churches and charities 130 9 Party politics and local government, 1861-1901 135 Sectarian violence and party politics, 1861-86 135 Town government 143 Sectarian politics and the labour movement, 1886-1901 149 10 Heyday and crisis, 1901-1914 153 The social pyramid 153 Standards of living 158 Religion and education 163 Industry and trade 166 Industrial relations 169 Municipal enterprise 173 Party politics 178 11 The First World War and after, 1914-1939 183 War and peace 183 The economy: trouble and change 191 Living standards and unemployment 194 Sectarian violence and municipal government 197 Education 200 Health 202 Public works and private pleasures 204 12 The Second World War and after, 1939-1972 206 Wartime 206 Industry: challenge and change 213 Trade and transport 217 13 Society and politics, 1945-1972 220 Housing and urban development 220 Education 223 Welfare services 225 Social trends 227 Belfast politics 228 Sectarian conflict 231 Local government reform 234 14 Social change, 1973-1993 237 15 The long war: a short history 242 Sinn Fein/IRA 245 1992-1997 246 1997-2004 247 16 Postscript: renaissance, revival, reconciliation 250 Culture wars? 251 What of the future? 254 Notes and references 259 Select bibliography 271 Index 274
Number Of Pages: 278
Published: 12th November 2009
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.38 x 18.8
Weight (kg): 0.82