A Sense of Tradition: Into the Cities

A Sense of Tradition: Into the Cities

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Belfast, Belfast Harbour, Harland & Wolff shipyard, Sion Mills, Upperlands




Transmission 30/09/1993


14min 59sec







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

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ITV schools programme.

Using the methods of reenactment, time markers, maps and by visiting current day locations, presenter Oliver McGilloway tells the story of Ulster's industrial history, examining the industries that drove the the rapid expansion of Belfast as a city.

Increasingly, machines could do the farm labourer's job, only quicker and cheaper. As a result, people moved from the country into the city, in search of work. 

Whilst linen had long been produced in Ireland, the process was laborious. To begin with, flax had to be soaked for a long time, then broken to get the fibres out, then brushed and spun into yarn. Then, the the linen was woven on a loom, laid out to be bleached by the sun and hit with hammers to make it shine. However, with advances in technology, this process was quickened, water mills and industrial machinery put to work. However, whilst the linen products could be manufactured quickly, working conditions for linen mill workers were poor and detrimental to their health.

Another booming industry during this period was shipmaking. In Belfast, Harland and Wolf were to the fore. By the end of the 19th century, approximately 9,000 people already working in their shipyards.


ITV Schools was the educational television service set up in 1957 by the Independent Television Authority, broadcasting learning programmes for children ages 5 to 18 across ITV-affiliated stations. It was an example of public service broadcasting on a commerical television network. ITV moved its schools programming to Channel 4 in 1987 although ITV continued to produce programmes and the service continued to use the ITV name for another six years.The last ITV Schools programme on Channel 4 aired on Monday 28th June 1993.    



Presented by Oliver McGilloway. 

Facilities provided by Northland Films.

An Ulster Television Production. 



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