- Publication Date
Ulster Historical Foundation
Co. Antrim, Co. Down, Industry, Linen
The Linen Houses of County Antrim & North County Down provides an illustrated and informed commentary on the major linen families and their magnificent houses in County Antrim and north County Down. The images ' exterior views of the actual houses, interior scenes of the stately rooms and portraits of their owners, many selected from private collections of the families themselves ' present tantalising and poignant glimpses of a bygone age, when Belfast was justifiably known as 'Linenopolis'.
By the late nineteenth century Belfast had developed into one of the great industrial cities in the British Isles. Much of this new found wealth was based on the manufacture of linen. The opulent lifestyle that came to be so characteristic of the great linen barons is reflected perhaps best of all in the houses they built.
Many travelled from their imposing mansions in south east County Antrim, and in north County Down on the new railways which converged in Belfast. Others, particularly bleachers, lived in equally resplendent houses near the linen works they had already established, particularly on the Six Mile Water, and on the River Maine in County Antrim. Significant linen spinning mills existed in Comber, County Down, and Mossley, County Antrim, where their owners lived adjacent to their works.