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Shipbuilding was a most unlikely success story in Belfast and its prosperity was created by a strange mixture of entrepreneurial ability, timing, technical expertise and employment patterns. It was the last of the 'main' industries to develop in Belfast but in terms of wealth-creation and prestige, it was perhaps the greatest of the city's employers.
By the start of the twentieth century Belfast had become one of the main centres of the British shipbuilding industry and, in some years before the First World War, the city's yards were producing up to 10% of British merchant shipping output. But how did the town develop into one of the world's great shipbuilding centres?
This book offers the first history of the whole spectrum of the Belfast shipbuilding industry. It is the story of the yards and the ships. Beyond that it explores the social conditions and workplace environment of the tens of thousands whom this great industry embraced.