The Belfast of the first decade of the nineteenth century was a bustling and growing town of some 22,000 inhabitants. It was dominated by the cotton industry and the linen trade. The foundations of such potentially important enterprises as engineering and shipbuilding were being laid. Yet this was still a period when a trip to Dublin took twenty-one hours by coach (with a double guard for extra security) and when the inhabitants were ferried around the town by sedan chair.
Merchants In Plenty: Joseph Smyth's Belfast Directories of 1807 And 1808, reprinted from unique copies in the Linen Hall Library, vividly recreates this Belfast of cotton mills and learned societies, sailmakers and booksellers. It will be of interest both to genealogists and to those who care for the history of Belfast.