A Heritage From Stone: The Power and the Glory

A Heritage From Stone: The Power and the Glory

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Ards Peninsula, Armagh, Ballywalter Park, Belfast, Bessbrook, Brownlow House, Custom House Square, Dungannon, Grand Opera House, Great Victoria Street, Methodist College, Queen's University Belfast, Sinclair Seaman's Church, Sion Mills, St Patrick Roman Catholic Cathedral, Union Theological College





26min 23sec




Betacam SP



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, UTV Archive

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In this episode of A Heritage from Stone, Brian Boyd explores the developments in Northern Ireland over time, taking a closer look at the direct links between economic growth, urban expansion and architecture. Visiting various places in Northern Ireland, Brian looks at the rich architecture realized in the buildings around us such as colleges, churches, banks.

By the mid 19th century, Belfast economy and that of Ulster was founded mainly on the making of cloth. Cotton mills were superseded by linen mills and as the industry grew so did the city. As the industry flourished, the city expanded to house all the workers it needed.  The industry thrived not only in Belfast. John Grubb Richardson, a visionary Quaker and linen merchant, founded a model village of Bessbrook around an old mill and expanded it with a new manufacturing site and housing for the workforce. Brian Boyd visits Bessbrook as well as Sion Mills, another mill complex in rural setting and looks at the layout and architecture.

With the population growth, the situation in Belfast was quite different than in the mill villages in rural setting. Population doubling almost every 20 years meant many if not most workers lived in very poor conditions. Mill owners on the other hand did not hesitate in displaying their wealth and what better way to show off one’s power and prestige than by building a luxurious residence. Brian Boyd takes a tour of some of the former mill owners’ homes such as Ballywalter Park and Brownlow House and explores the history and style of these architectural gems.  Back in Belfast, he also takes a look at the architecture of education institutions such as the Queens University, Methodist and Union Theological Colleges as well as Grand Opera and Custom House.


Ulster Television would like to thank

The Ulster Museum
Armagh County Museum
The National Trust
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Belfast Harbour Commissioners
Lord and Lady Dunleath


Written by Brian Boyd
Produced and Directed by Ruth Johnston
Music Composed by John Anderson
Advisor: Alistair Rowan University College, Dublin
Stills: Kenneth McNally
Graphic Design: Brian Owens
Production Assistant: Sara Bell
Lighting: Maurice Blair
Camera: Sam Christie
Location Sound: Rai Woods
Sound Mixer: Colin Somerville
Picture Editor: Brian O’Rourke


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