At the first meeting of the New year of the Bellaghy Historical Society the Speaker was Mr Wallace Clark, well known writer and sailor, who spoke on the History of Upperlands Linen.
Mr Clark traced the story of his own familys involvement with the linen trade, spanning over two hundred and fifty years, and occupying nine generations of the family, while at the same time explaining the development of the trade in general. Ireland had at one stage three hundred linen
factories most of which were in the North. The American Civil War, when virtually no cotton was grown, saw the Americans turn to linen and this provided a boom for the Industry here. Irish linen gained and has retained a world wide prestige as the best.
With many anecdotes of past experiences the Speaker kept his audience well entertained. He also attributed the survival of his family firm, amongst a very small number now operating in Northern Ireland, to their decision to diversify, using synthetics to keep up with world wide competition.
Thanking Mr Clark for a most interesting and lively talk, the Chairperson, Mrs Mary Breslin, also reminded members of the February meeting, at which Mr George McIntyre will present a brief history of Drumlamph families, followed by presentations by several other members on employment in Bellaghy in the last century, the idea being to draw a picture of the life and activity of the village in past times.
Mr Wallace Clark well known writer and sailor, who spoke on the History of Upperlands Linen