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1896 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

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1896. Visits to Works.
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Note: This is a sub-section of 1896 Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Visits to Works (Excursions) in the Belfast area

Belfast Harbour

Belfast Harbour

The following description was kindly prepared by Mr. George F. L. Giles, Engineer to the Harbour Commissioners, for the guidance of the Members in visiting the Harbour Works on Thursday, 30th July. It is illustrated by the plans shown in Plates 104 and 105.

Starting from the Queen's bridge, which forms the southern limit of the harbour proper, and passing along the Donegall quay on its western side, which with the Princes quay extends for a length of 3,125 feet or 0.59 mile, some idea will be gained of the vast extent of the cross-channel trade to Belfast, as evidenced by the huge piles of merchandise which pack almost to the roof the lofty shed built along the whole length of these two quays. Donegall quay was re-constructed in timber work in or about 1847, and was rebuilt in concrete with granite ashlar face-work by the Harbour Commissioners between 1879 and 1886, from the designs and under the supervision of Mr. T. R. Salmond; the substructure consists of concrete between closely driven sheeting piles, and the superstructure of rubble masonry faced with granite ashlar; the total cost, including sheds, tramways &c., was £124,745, or £39 12s. per lineal foot.

Clarendon Dock.— Separating the Donegall and Princes quays is the entrance to the Clarendon dock, which is spanned by a double-road swing-bridge, built in 1882 at a cost of £17,000; the bridge itself cost £4,500, and its foundations £12,500. The dock, which lies at the back or westward of the two quays, has an area of 4 acres. It was built between 1847 and 1850, and is now principally used for small coasting vessels, the depth of water being limited to about 10 feet at low water, which however at the time the dock was constructed was amply sufficient for the class of vessels then using the port. Leading out of the west side of the dock are two small dry docks, one of which was constructed in 1800 and the other in 1826; they are now somewhat out of date, but are still extensively used by small vessels. In the immediate vicinity are situated the harbour workshops and stores, which include fitters', smiths', and carpenters' shops, as well as a slipway for the repair of barges &c. On the Princes quay to the northward of the goods sheds is situated a fixed crane, having a lifting capacity of 25 tons. It was erected in 1883, and is capable of being worked either by steam or manual power at a radius of 36 feet.

Princes Dock and new Branch Dock.— A little further to the north lies the old Princes dock of 31 acres, formerly called Dunbar's dock, which was purchased in 1843, and is the oldest dock in existence in Belfast. The entrance to it has lately been closed, in order to allow of an extension of Princes quay; and the dock is now being connected northwards with the Spencer basin through the new Branch dock. The Princes quay is executed in concrete work, like Donegall quay, and is 850 feet long; including sheds &c. it cost £34,762, or about £40 19s. per lineal foot. A 25-ton crane was erected on it in 1888, costing £1,692. The Branch dock was commenced in 1889, and was intended mainly for the transatlantic trade. It is constructed of rubble masonry faced with granite ashlar; the excavations and dock walls alone cost £68,898. It has a depth of water of 26 feet at low water, which is sufficient to allow any vessel likely to visit this port for some years hence to lie afloat at dead low water; and when completed with its extension at present in process of construction the water area of the dock will be about 10 acres altogether. On either side of the new Branch dock are large and commodious goods sheds, which are at the present moment being supplemented by others of similar design.

Spencer Basin.— The Branch dock communicates with the Spencer basin, which has a depth of water of about 15 feet at low water, and is principally used by vessels in the timber trade. The basin is 7 acres in extent, and was built between 1864 and 1871 by Mr. Lizars, the then engineer to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. Both this and the Dufferin dock opening out of it are of rubble work faced with random rubble, and together cost about £155,000.

Dufferin Dock.— The Dufferin dock of 3 acres area is a floating basin with 25 feet depth of water, which is used largely by the timber and grain trades. It was opened in 1871.

Milewater Basin.— Following the course of the river northwards, and extending for a length of 2,090 feet beyond the Donegall and Princes quays, of which it is in fact an extension, runs the Albert quay, built of timber between 1872 and 1875 at a cost of £49,500, or about £24 14s. per lineal foot. It is principally used for coal and iron ore, and large quantities of coal are stored along the back of the quay. Beyond the entrance to the Spencer basin at the north end of the Albert quay is situated the Milewater basin of about 3 acres area, which was formed about 1871 and provided with timber quays in 1885 and 1893. It is principally used as a fitting-out basin for the vessels built in the ship-yard of Messrs. Workman, Clark and Co., part of which adjoins the basin on the north side.

Victoria Channel.— Beyond Messrs. Workman, Clark and Co.'s ship-yard the harbour proper terminates northwards in what is known as the second cut of the Victoria channel, a length of about half a mile between the west and east Twin Islands, which was completed about 1849 and diverted the river bed from a tortuous channel into one going perfectly straight to the commencement of Belfast Lough. The river channel was again diverted from this point by means of the Victoria channel extension, which was one of the most important improvements in connection with the harbour. The length of this channel, which was dredged through the intervening sandbanks and slob-lands with a width of 300 feet between the bottoms of the slopes, is about four miles, and entailed the removal of about 3,762,500 tons of soil. The work was commenced in 1885, and brought to a conclusion in 1891 at a cost of about £70,000. The new channel has a depth of over 17 feet at low water, and this depth of water has since been carried right up to the heart of the city. There were two hopper dredgers in constant use, costing about £21,000 each.

On returning from the Lough, and traversing the east side of the harbour, the first point of interest to be noticed is a large new slip, which has been reclaimed from the slob-lands and leased to Messrs. Workman, Clark and Co., but still awaits development.

Alexandra Graving Dock.— Next comes the Alexandra graving dock, which until quite recently was reckoned the largest dry dock in existence; it is 830 feet long, 92 feet wide at coping level, and 50 feet wide on the floor, with a depth of water over the sill of 25 feet at ordinary high-water level. It was opened by the late Prince Albert Victor of Wales in 1889. The work is executed in concrete, faced with concrete of finer quality; the entrances and coping are of granite. The cost of the dock alone was £93,448; and including the Alexandra and Victoria wharves &c. the total cost was about £150,000. The engines, pumps, and machinery for pumping the water from the dock were so designed that 10,000,000 gallons of water, the contents of the dock, can be discharged into the entrance basin within two hours and a half. The engines are two pairs of horizontal compound non-condensing of 500 H.P. combined, having their cylinders placed at right angles, each pair acting direct on one crank-shaft with sweep cranks, for working with a steam-pressure of 80 lbs. per square inch. The high-pressure cylinders are 20 inches and the low-pressure 31 inches diameter, the stroke in both being 24 inches. At the bottom of the two pump wells are fixed two cast-iron centrifugal pumps, with runners 7 feet diameter secured to the vertical pump-shaft. The engines are so designed that either or both pumps may be worked at the same time. The dock is supplied with every convenience for the economical and rapid repair of vessels lying in it, and can be divided transversely by ship-shaped caissons into three different lengths of 300 feet, 200 feet, and 300 feet. The caissons cost about £4,830 each, for entrances 80 feet wide, the coping being 31 feet above the dock sill. There are several wharves and jetties in connection with the dock; and on the Alexandra wharf is a 100-ton derrick crane, alongside which the quay has a depth of 24 feet at ordinary low-water level.

100—Ton Derrick Crane, Alexandra Wharf.— This crane is capable of lifting loads of 100 tons at a radius of 50 feet; 80 tons at a radius of 60 feet; and 60 tons at a radius of 70 feet. It is used for the shipment of heavy machinery and boilers, and for masting; and is one of the finest and largest derrick cranes in the United Kingdom. Steel predominates throughout the structure, including the gearing, which is chiefly enclosed between the cheeks of the mast. The latter works in a massive centre step, resting on concrete, in which is fixed a steel pivot 15 inches diameter, bearing upon discs of steel and phosphor-bronze. The pivot is held in its place by a bottom girder, which is fixed at the base of the mast, and also receives the steps of the jib. At the top the mast has a strong T shaped 15-inch pin of mild steel, tottered down to a casting fixed to the framing; and to this pin are secured the slowing straps, containing the pulleys for the wire ropes which regulate the range of the jib. The combined stress due to the jib suspension and to the load is borne by this pin, and is opposed by the resistance of the back stays. The latter are single, and are made on the box principle; as also is the diagonal stay between the lower portion of the back legs. The feet of the back stays are held down by steel bolts with steel cotters; they are in two lengths, with intermediate castings to allow of expansion and contraction. The jib is double, and has two steel cap-pulleys for loads up to 26 tons, and four pulleys for the main load up to 100 tons. It is raised and lowered by an engine with double 12-inch cylinders of 16 inches stroke and with link reversing-motion, working direct through a worm on a worm wheel 8 feet 5 3/8 inches diameter by 8 1/2 inches broad and 3 1/4 inches pitch. The steel pulleys, 5 feet in diameter, are split at the bosses, and are bushed with gunmetal. The main block has three similar pulleys, the hook or sling working on a series of conical friction-rollers for easy turning. The hoisting engine has also double cylinders and link reversing-motion, like the luffing engine. The steel wire-rope is 7 inches in circumference, and has six strands, each proved with a load of over 30 tons. The barrel has three separate ropes; one for light loads, which hangs beyond the main load, and is double; the second for the main load (7 fall), and the third for luffing the jib (8 fall). They are wound separately on three barrels spirally grooved, which are revolved by a pair of cylinders 8 inches diameter with 12 inches stroke. There is a link reversing-motion, with two pinions, one on each side, working into a steel rack. All the engines are easily under the control of one man, and are protected from the weather by means of a glazed enclosure. The boiler is of mild steel, 6 1/2 feet diameter and 14 feet high, and has nine cross tubes. It was tested to 160 lbs. per square inch, and is fed by a donkey engine. The total weight of material used in the construction of the crane is 220 tons. The minimum factor of safety is considerably over 6 to 1, and for the wire-rope over 10 to 1. The bottom of the main lifting block gives a clear hoist of 90 feet; the jib is 100 feet long, and admits of a range, from the centre of the revolving motion to the drop of the main block, of between 30 and 80 feet, with a large amount of swinging movement within the limits of the back stays, rendering the crane capable of lifting from the quay and over the bulwarks of a vessel its heaviest working load, and depositing it in the ship with the greatest nicety. The foundations for the crane cost £7,596, and the crane itself £5,970.

Further southward is the south shipbuilding yard of Messrs. Workman, Clark and Co.; and the Victoria wharf, a timber structure erected in 1894, principally for the convenience of the shipbuilding companies in fitting out new vessels. Alongside the Victoria wharf there is a depth of water of 16 feet at ordinary low tide; and the water space opposite the wharf and between it and the river forms the launching basin for the north slip of Messrs. Harland and Wolff's shipbuilding yard, whence have been launched many famous vessels, amongst others the " Teutonic " and "Majestic," of 10,000 tons; and at the present time there is a vessel on one of the slips of fully 14,000 tons capacity.

Abercorn Basin.— Continuing southward alongside the workshops of Messrs. Harland and Wolff, the south slips of this firm are reached, and then the Abercorn basin, which was built between 1864 and 1867 of rubble work, similar to the Spencer basin and Dufferin dock, at a cost of £24,000. The depth of water is 11 feet at ordinary low-water level, and the average area of the basin is about 11 1/2 acres. Within it are two large and strongly-built wooden jetties of 350 and 317 feet length, which are used entirely by vessels lying alongside whilst being fitted out; No. 1 jetty 350 feet long, built in 1884, cost £6,736; No. 2 jetty 317 feet long, built in 1885, cost £5,435. For the purpose of masting large vessels or placing boilers and heavy machinery on board, a large pair of masting sheers capable of lifting 60 tons was erected in 1870 on the eastern side of the basin at a cost of £2,000. Leading out of the Abercorn basin is the Hamilton graving dock, completed in 1867 at a cost of £40,000; it is 470 feet long and 84 1/2 feet wide at the coping level and 50 feet wide on the floor; the entrance is 60 feet wide at the coping level, with a depth of 15 1/2 feet of water over the sill at average high-tide level. The cast quay of the basin is principally used for the fitting out of vessels, while the south quay is exclusively used for coal. Close to the south-east corner of the basin is the electrical generating station, which supplies the power for lighting the Queen's quay, Abercorn basin, and Hamilton graving dock, with 31 arc-lamps of 1,000 candle-power each.

Queen's Quay.— South of the Abercorn basin, and between this and the Queen's bridge, is situated the Queen's quay, which was re-constructed between 1875 and 1877 at a cost of £63,000, or about £29 3s. per lineal foot. It has a frontage of 2,150 feet, and a depth of water of about 15 feet at ordinary low-water level. It is used principally for the coal and iron trades, and is provided with a large number of 2-ton locomotive steam-cranes, and one locomotive steam-crane capable of lifting 7 tons with a radius of 30 to 45 feet, constructed in 1895 at a cost of £1,695.

Between the Queen's quay on the east side and the Donegall quay on the west side the river is traversed by two steam ferries, one placed near the Abercorn basin, and the other opposite the terminus of the Belfast and County Down Railway. Three steamboats constantly ply at these ferries, and greatly facilitate passenger traffic between the two sides of the river; the latest was built in 1889 at a cost of £937 to carry 120 passengers, and the working expenses, exclusive of interest or depreciation, are about £7 4s. per week. The Queen's bridge forms the southern limit of the water navigable for sea-going vessels.

Locomotive Steam-Cranes.— There are at present thirty-four of these useful appliances, some having a lifting capacity of 2 tons and others of 3 tons. The cost of the latest 3-ton steam-cranes of 45 feet radius, constructed in 1894 and 1895, was about £800 each.

Goods Sheds.— The cost of the double-span goods-sheds, 114 feet clear in width, is about £18 15s. per lineal foot of length. The single-span sheds of 80 feet width cost £15 12s., and of 60 feet width £10 per lineal foot of length.

Tramways.— About 81 miles of tramways for railway traffic are laid on various parts of the harbour.

Range of Tides in Belfast Harbour.— The level of the sill of Clarendon No. 2 graving dock is the harbour datum. Ordinary high water of spring tides averages 10 ft. 8 1/2 ins. on the sill, and of neap tides 9 ft. 10 ins. Ordinary low water of spring tides averages 1 ft. 3 1/2 ins. on the sill, and of neap tides 2 ft. 2 ins.

The shipping cleared from the port of Belfast during last year 1895 amounted to 2,150,232 tons; and the revenue of the Harbour Trust exclusive of pilotage was £139,190, leaving a net surplus revenue of £10,848 for the year. Eighteen vessels constructed in the shipbuilding yards at this port cleared during 1895, measuring 92,947 tons gross and 60,208 tons net.

Belfast Main Drainage Works and Pumping Stations


The following particulars were furnished by the kindness of Mr. Josiah C. Bretland, City Surveyor.

Main Drainage Works.— The act of parliament for the construction of these works was obtained in 1887. The works were immediately afterwards commenced, and have now been practically completed at a cost of about £300,000. Previous to their execution the sewers of the city discharged into the River Lagan and its tributaries, causing a pollution almost intolerable. Two large trunk sewers with numerous branches have been constructed, and are known as the high and low-level intercepting sewers: the former drains the higher districts by gravitation, and the latter the lower districts by pumping.

A storage reservoir situated in the slob-lands recently reclaimed from the sea, having a capacity of about five million gallons, receives the sewage until the proper time of discharge during the first portion of the ebb tide. The discharge from the reservoir is conducted along a covered timber sewer, about one mile in length, laid in the tideway as far as that portion of the Lough known as Whitehouse Roads, where a strong ebb current northwards prevails. The foundations of the reservoir and adjacent works are upon a soft alluvial formation, and are formed throughout of piles and concrete.

The sewage from the County Down side of the city is passed under the river Lagan, on the southern side of the Queen's Bridge, by a syphon formed of two cast-iron pipes, each 3 ft. 9 ins. diameter, embedded in concrete.

Pumping Stations.— The machinery at Duncrue Street pumping station, where the sewage is lifted about 11 feet, consists of three multitubular boilers, each 12 feet long by 8 ft. 6 ins. diameter, with a working pressure of 90 lbs. per square inch. They are fitted with Grainger's forced draught, and a Green's economiser of 96 tubes. The chimney is 100 feet high. There are two compound condensing horizontal pumping engines, each capable of discharging 750 cubic feet per minute; and one tandem compound condensing centrifugal pumping engine, with a capacity of 1,500 cubic feet per minute. The pumps of the horizontal engines are worked at right angles, and have a stroke of 3 feet, with plungers 3 feet diameter. In addition to these there are two high-pressure centrifugal pumping engines for dealing with storm water, each capable of discharging 2,500 cubic feet per minute.

The function of the pumping station at the outfall works is to deliver into the reservoir such of the sewage as cannot be dealt with by gravitation, and thus to maintain a constant flow in the main trunk sewer. At this station the machinery consists of three boilers with economisers, same as at Duncrue Street. Two sets of compound centrifugal pumping engines have been provided, each capable of discharging 1,000 cubic feet per minute, and one similar engine 1,500 cubic feet per minute, through the maximum lift up to the top water level in the reservoir. Room has been left in this station for the addition of another boiler and engine when required, as well as for extension of the reservoir itself. There is also a set of hydraulic machinery, working up to a pressure of 750 lbs. per square inch, for the purpose of lifting the valves and sluices in connection with the reservoir.

Belfast Fire Brigade


The following description was kindly prepared by Mr. James Munce, Assistant Surveyor.

In 1892 the staff of the fire brigade was composed of six permanent men, and twenty-nine auxiliaries who gave their services when called upon. The horses were hired by contract, and stabled on the premises; but being frequently changed they could not be expected to acquire much intelligence. The urgent necessity for an improvement in the brigade is shown by the increase in the number of buildings. In 1892 the number of buildings erected was 2,212, and the valuation of the city was £737,816, whilst in 1895 the valuation had increased to £844,714.

The new station is situated in Chichester Street, in the rear of the Town Hall, and comprises dwellings for twenty-five men, with laundry and workshops, chief officer's residence, offices, duty room, engine room, gymnasium, quarters for single men, six-horse stable, hose tower, boiler house, and dynamo room. The old buildings have been converted into stables, stores, &c. The buildings are arranged fronting three streets — Chichester Street, Town Hall Street, and Oxford Street — and enclose a drill yard 164 feet by 94 feet. At the left side of the frontage in Chichester Street is the gateway leading to the drill yard. The foundation of the buildings is formed of piles and concrete. Larch piles 40 feet long, 12 inches diameter at head and 8 inches at point, were driven down and sawn off level; a layer of old roofing felt was placed on the bed of the trench, to prevent the concrete from mixing with the sleetch. Portland cement concrete was then filled in to the level of the pile heads. Cross sleepers 12 inches by 6 inches were spiked to the pile heads, and concrete was filled in to the top; then longitudinal sleepers were spiked to these, and concrete was brought up 6 inches above their top edge. On this footings of brickwork in cement were built to the ground line. The superstructure is of perforated brickwork and mortar; solid Annadale bricks were used for the external facing of the engine-house block. There are 49 piles under the tower, and 490 under the remainder of the building.

The engine house occupies the main portion of the Chichester Street front, and is 65 feet long by 35 feet wide, and 16 1/2 feet high to ceiling. It consists of five bays, each with a door 9 1/4 feet wide and 12 feet high, so that an engine can pass out at full gallop. The floor and roof of the gymnasium are carried by steel girders formed of two 16 x 6-inch I joists, with two 1/4 inch plates riveted on top and bottom flanges. Immediately behind the engine house is the stable. The stalls are so arranged that the centre line of each pair is opposite the centre line of a gate. The doors open into the engine house, and are lined on the stable side with sheet iron and fitted with galvanised rollers at the angles of the jambs, so that a horse rushing out cannot be injured. Over the engine room and duty room are the gymnasium and single men's quarters. The gymnasium is 39 feet by 35 feet and 16 1/2 feet high. It is fitted with bridge ladder, scaling ladder, vaulting horse, parallel bars, climbing ropes, &c. The floor is laid like a ship's deck, and is caulked so as to be perfectly water-tight. It is used as a reading and amusement room by day, and at night as a sleeping room for those on duty. The flat roof of the stables forms a promenade for men off duty.

The tower is situated behind the duty room. It rises 103 feet, and combines a chimney for the boilers, ventilating shaft to stables and engine house &c., and is used for hose-drying and look-out. The hose is made in 50-yard lengths, and can be hung up without a kink. The tower is ascended outside by an iron spiral stair, and has a wrought-iron balcony all round at top, at the level of the electrical testing room. All telephone wires and fire alarms are received in this room, from which they are led down a tube to the switchboard in the duty room.

The quarters for married men are arranged in flats round two sides of the drill yard. Each house is complete in itself, and one room can be taken off any house and added to the adjoining house to suit the number of occupants. All the buildings are covered with flat asphalte roofs, forming a playground for the children. The workshop contains on ground floor a fitter's bench, coachmaker's hearth and anvil, drilling machine, lathe, and 18 horse-power vertical engine. The upper floor is used as a carpentry and painting shop. A travelling crane capable of lifting 10 tons is fixed to raise an engine to the upper floor; and a boiler well is constructed in the ground floor. At one side of the yard is erected a drill balcony 70 feet high. It is of timber, and represents two bays of a six-storey building; and is used for training the men to climb and to use escapes, &c.

The system of electric bells is so arranged that the duty-man can call any individual, or, by turning a lever, the whole staff at once; a sick man or one off duty can be left undisturbed. The station is lighted entirely by electricity generated on the premises. A Lancashire boiler supplies steam not only to the engines for driving the dynamos, but also to a separate engine for the workshops, and hot water to the twenty-five houses, laundry, &c. It is kept at about 40 lbs. pressure during the day, and at 80 lbs. whilst the electric light is turned on to the whole station, that is till 11 p.m. The exhaust steam is used for heating the feed-water pumped into the boiler by a Worthington pump. The consumption of coal is as low as about 40 cwts. per week. The dynamos are driven by two high-speed engines, each of which is capable of developing about 18 horse-power, while the average load is about 10 horse-power for each. The dynamos are on the same bed-plates as the engines, and are driven by belts from the respective fly-wheels. The switchboard is placed in the duty room, where the man on duty has control of the lights, bells, and telephones of the whole station, and of the outstations as well. The electric current is direct low-tension; and in addition to about 170 incandescent lamps there are two powerful arc-lamps for illuminating the open spaces of the station.

Should an alarm of fire be received at night, the duty-man whilst the telephone is at his ear turns a handle which lights up the bedroom of every man, the engine house and stable, single-men's quarters and gymnasium; instantly the bells ring, the men on duty slip down poles, the first man pulls a cord which releases the stable doors, whereat the horses trot out and get under their harness. This the men secure, while the driver takes his seat; the engineer on seeing all right pulls cords which release the street doors, and the first engine starts off, only about fifteen seconds having elapsed between the receipt of the alarm and the engine starting. Immediately a second engine with men and horses takes the place of that first despatched. The chief officer is Mr. G. W. Parker, who was appointed in 1892.

Corporation Public Baths


The following particulars were furnished by the kindness of Mr. R. Graeme-Watt, by whom were designed the three modern sets of Public Baths which have been recently erected in Belfast, namely in Ormeau Avenue, in Templemore Avenue, and on the Falls Road. The principle on which they have been constructed is practically the same, though the arrangement differs slightly owing to the variation in level and size of the various sites. The general plan of these baths is to have the chimney and boilers as near the centre of the buildings as possible, and for this purpose the first and second-class swimming ponds and the first and second-class slipper-baths are placed symmetrically round the central heating apparatus.

The most recently erected establishment is that on the Falls Road. The sizes of the swimming ponds here are respectively:— second-class 66 feet long by 24 feet wide, and first-class 55 feet long by 24 feet wide. Round each swimming pond is a subway which gives access to all the pipes and connections. There are twenty-three second-class slipper-baths, which are made of concrete composed of cement and marble chippings. This has been found to answer very well for the purpose, as it is easily kept clean and is not liable to chip. The first-class slipper-baths are of porcelain. The walls as far as possible are lined with glazed bricks or glazed tiles, so as to give a bright and clean appearance to the various places. The divisions in the slipper-baths are in the first-class of marble and in the second-class of slate. From experience it has been found desirable to have lavatories connected with the slipper and the swimming baths, so arranged that bathers can pass from one to the other. The laundry is used only for the washing of the establishment. There is a washing machine, which is also for practical purposes a disinfector, inasmuch as the articles being washed can be subjected to a pressure of 10 lbs. per square inch. The cost of this establishment was about £12,000.

In addition to the three establishments referred to, there is also one at Peter's Hill, which was the first enterprise of the kind taken in hand by the Corporation, and dates from 1879. While serving its purpose still and being fairly well patronised, it is not considered specially attractive.

David Allen and Sons, Printing Works

David Allen and Sons

For many years this firm has been celebrated for its art posters, of which it has made a specialty, so that a visit to these works will be found interesting, especially for those who have observed the rapid growth and development of this particular industry. When a poster is arranged for, a sketch is first prepared, usually at their London or Manchester house, in both of which is employed a staff of designers including many well-known names. The cost of such a sketch averages from £10 to £20, and sometimes over £100 has been spent in this way. It is then enlarged, outlined in conte crayon, and rubbed down on large litho stones, each of which generally measures about 60 inches by 40 inches, and has a surface grained to a consistency resembling cartridge paper. These are known as black stones. When they are completed, transfers or sets-off are taken, one for each colour required, and are placed on other corresponding stones. The latter when finished are printed in their order, each colour necessitating a separate stone and separate working for each different sheet; a large poster is made up of many sheets. The drawing being previously "fastened" by an etching process, the stone is then conveyed to the printing machine. All the kindred branches of lithography and letterpress printing are carried on by this firm, which, in consequence of the growth of its business, is erecting a new factory at Harrow, near London. In the Belfast house about fifty or sixty artists are employed, making with those in London and Manchester a total of over eighty. More than six million sheets of high-class art posters, made up of more than six hundred varieties, are annually turned out from the Belfast works alone. There are no less than twelve machines for printing sheets of 60 inches by 40 inches, which is an exceptionally large size. Over fifty parcels of theatrical printing are despatched every night by steamer, many of which are for shipment to distant countries.

Annadale Brick Works


The machinery in these works, which occupy about 50 acres on the banks of the river Lagan, was laid down by the late Mr. William Fitzpatrick in 1879, though bricks have been made on the ground upwards of fifty years. In 1888 the works were taken over by the present proprietors. The goods manufactured comprise common and selected bricks, perforated, facing, and ornamental bricks, chimney tops, flower pots, ridge tiles, and all kinds of terra-cotta work.

There are at present two brick-making machines, each capable of turning out upwards of 20,000 bricks per day; and several presses, which are each capable of producing 2,000 best facing bricks per day; also several pug mills, and pan and other smaller machines, for use in the various departments. The machinery is specially designed for the clay, and with the steam boilers was made by Messrs. Victor Coates and Co. of Belfast. It is driven by a compound high-pressure condensing engine, with fly-wheel of nearly 20 feet diameter; steam is supplied by two 30-foot Lancashire doublefiued boilers, working at about 65 lbs. pressure per square inch.

For drying the bricks, special sheds have been constructed. One of the kilns is of circular shape, containing twenty-four chambers; it is built on the Hoffman principle, and is capable of holding 500,000 bricks. The works employ upwards of 140 persons.

Belfast Ropework

Belfast Ropework Co

These works were established in 1876, and are situated in close proximity to the shipbuilding yards, and on the banks of the Connswater river communicating with the harbour. In the stores is a great quantity of raw material, in the shape of bales of hemp and hundreds of barrels of Russian tar. There are ten engines with rope-driving, which transmit about 2,000 horse-power for driving the machinery in the works; most of them are compound surface-condensing, supplied with the latest improvements. Complete arrangements are made by way of precaution against fire; in addition to a range of fire mains from the town supply, there are always in readiness buckets, extincteurs, hose, and steam fire-engines.

Strength and uniformity of make are the principal qualities necessary in ropes and twines. The raw material here used comes from Russia, Italy, India, the Philippine Islands, Yucatan, and New Zealand. The manila is made up in small hanks, and the Russian hemp is in bundles of 14 lbs.; these are packed into bales of 2 1/2 to 5 cwts. After being carefully sorted and picked over by girls, the fibres are taken to the hackling room, where the process is similar to that employed in the preparation of flax. Hand roughing and machine hackling are both used. By the machine process the hemp is carried over rows of pins, which comb it out and lay all the fibres perfectly straight. After hackling, the hemp is placed upon spreading frames, on which a continuous thin band or sliver is formed. This is then taken to the drawing and roving frames, where it undergoes a slight twisting; and the bobbins of roving are taken to the spinning machinery.

Both the wet and dry spinning processes are used, the former principally for fine yarns. After spinning, the yarn is removed to large tanks in another room, to undergo tarring, which assists in the preservation of the rope. The yarn is slowly fed from a circular frame into the boiling tar, and as it emerges is drawn between large iron rollers, which press out superfluous liquid. After being thoroughly dried, the tarred yarn is taken to the rope-walk to be twisted into strands, which are fastened to the hooks of machines called "travellers." These recede on tram lines from a stationary "fore-turn" or twisting head. On each traveller there are about a dozen hooks, and large and small ropes can be made on one machine. A quantity of fishing-lines are still made by hand on the old plan.

Cords made from harsh or extra fibrous material have to undergo a scouring process prior to being sized and polished. The machines take from twenty to thirty separate twines at a time, which have been twisted upon bobbins, and are placed in front of the machine. Any loose fibres which may be adhering are then removed by passing over carding rollers before the twines enter the sizing troughs. After leaving the troughs, the cords pass between two rollers, by which the superfluous sizing is squeezed out. Thence the cords go over a large steam-heated cylinder, whereby a beautiful gloss is imparted to them; and they are then made up into balls.

Special plaiting machines are used for making cords for window sashes, to resist the wear and tear caused by friction. Binder twine for self-binding reaping machines now forms a large manufacture. The range of goods here produced comprises every description of rope, from the largest cable down to the finest yacht-cordage.

Three years after commencing, the firm employed nearly 300 workpeople; now the number exceeds 2,000, with an office staff of about 80 clerks. The managing director is Mr. W. H. Smiles, son of Dr. Samuel Smiles.

Brookfield Linen Co


This business was commenced in 1851, and was formed into a limited company in 1866. Since its formation the company has built a second weaving factory, and has now 1,400 looms and 29,000 flax-spinning spindles in operation, besides extensive beetling, finishing, and dyeing works. Spacious offices and warehouses are occupied in Donegall Street, where the different classes of goods are made up and despatched to the home and foreign markets. The company also carries stock in New York, Toronto, Berlin, Paris, Melbourne, and Sydney, and has its agents in all the principal continental and foreign markets. The number of persons employed at all the establishments amounts to 2,600.

Cantrell and Cochrane

Cantrell and Cochrane

The works of this firm were established by Dr. Cantrell in Belfast in 1852, and were situated in Bank Lane. Frequent extensions of the premises were made, until it was found necessary to remove to the present extensive buildings in Victoria Square.

About this time a partnership was entered into with Sir Henry Cochrane of Dublin, who is now the solo proprietor of the two establishments in Dublin and Belfast. The works in Victoria Square stand on what used to be the site of the Town Hall, and portions of this building now serve as counting-house and stores. A well was sunk at a cost of £2,000, and at a depth of 116 feet an abundant supply of water from the Cromac spring was obtained. The supply is practically unlimited, about 18,000 gallons a day being pumped into an enormous slate cistern at the top of the premises. Before reaching this receptacle it undergoes a careful and final process of purification by being passed through a bed of sand and charcoal.

The charging of Cromac water with gas generated from the action of sulphuric acid upon carbonates is the first stage after the pure water has been stored in the slate tank, which is covered with a glass lid, as a security against contamination. The gas is repeatedly washed to obtain absolute purity, and is stored in gasholders, whence it is drawn as required, a pressure of from 160 to 180 lbs. per square inch being used to impregnate the water. The syrups for the various products are prepared in slate, porcelain, or glass vessels, in order to prevent the formation of chemical deposits. In the bottling room are a number of continuous double-action soda-water machines, driven by overhead belting. Connected with them is a slate cistern of iced water, and everything is so arranged that the processes of gas generation, charging, and bottling are continuous. To this room the bottles are conveyed down an inclined plane from the room in which they have previously been cleansed by steeping in hot water, brushing inside and out, and rinsing in pure cold water.

There are two modes of bottling — by hand and by machine. In the hand process, the bottler sits in front of a machine; the bottle to be filled is placed beneath the mouth of the feeding-tube; the cork is inserted and pressed nearly home; and the requisite quantity of syrup is admitted into a glass gauge by the action of a treadle, and is then forced into the bottle by the aerated water. The atmospheric air is next exhausted, the bottle quite filled, the cork driven home and wired. In another part of the factory, the bottling is effected by automatic rotary bottling-machines. The machine is fed by one man with bottles and corks, the air being exhausted from the bottles as the apparatus revolves. During the revolution the bottles are syruped, filled with aerated water, corked, and delivered upon an endless band, whence boys pick them off and wire them. By the hand process one man generally bottles twenty dozen per hour, but by machine six times that number can be accomplished. In full-working summer days about 60,000 bottles are turned out per day. For sending abroad, the bottles are doubly wired, wrapped in paper, and packed in barrels with straw. Amongst the various mineral waters produced here and at the Dublin factory are club soda, club ale, club kola, seltzer, lithia and potass waters, ginger ale, lemonade, sparkling Montserrat lime-juice, &c. The number of men employed in Belfast and at the Dublin factory is 500.

Victor Coates and Co, Lagan Foundry & Princes Dock Boiler Works

Victor Coates and Co

These works were established about 1791. The foundry and the boiler works are two distinct establishments about a mile apart, each having its own managers and foremen.

The Lagan Foundry is situated on the east bank of the river Lagan, close by the Albert Bridge; and includes machine shops and foundry, with commercial offices, drawing offices, pattern shops, stores, and other departments, all lighted by electricity. The main building is a lofty erection divided into several bays, each about 50 or 60 feet wide by 160 to 280 feet long. The pattern shop, occupying two of these bays, contains eight or ten benches, and the usual wood-working tools. The adjoining bay is occupied as an erecting shop, and is spanned by a 6-ton overhead traveller, designed and made on the premises. The bay devoted to the machine shop is 320 feet long by 65 feet wide. Running along its whole length is a commodious gallery, in which the lighter class of work is done. An overhead traveller capable of lifting 39 tons spans the bay, and traverses it from end to end. The ground floor contains a full equipment of powerful tools, including several large horizontal drills, boring tools, and a face-plate lathe by Messrs. Thomas Shanks and Son, capable of taking in any diameter up to 15 feet. There is also a pit for turning fly-wheels up to 30 feet diameter.

The turning shop, about 100 feet long by 50 feet wide, adjoins the machine shop. It is equipped with a large number of capstan and other lathes, and with drills and other tools; the shafting and work of a smaller character are done here, and are conveniently handled by a number of small jib-cranes. The smithy is 120 feet long by 50 feet wide, and contains eight fires, two steam-hammers, and the usual tools.

The foundry and moulding shop occupy a separate block of buildings. In the yard are powerful sheer-legs and hoist for breaking up the large pieces of scrap into sizes suitable for the cupola. The foundry is a rectangular building 150 feet long by 85 feet wide, divided into two bays 50 feet and 35 feet wide; one side is devoted to the lighter class of castings, and the other to the heavier. Two overhead travellers span the separate bays, which are also lighted by electricity. Gearing is moulded by wheel-moulding machines.

The Princes Dock Boiler Works are close to the harbour, and entirely under cover; they occupy an area of 250 feet by 170 feet, alongside the dock. The building is divided into four bays, the first of which is spanned by a 6-ton overhead traveller, running the whole length. Plates, angles, &c., are here marked off, and passed on to the next stage. A number of heavy tools are in use; and a portion of the shop is fitted up with lathes and other machine-tools, for dealing with breakdowns and steamship repairs. In the second bay is a plate-heating furnace, large enough to take in plates up to 10 feet wide by 20 feet long; also steam-hammers and plate-bending tools, and a new shell-drilling machine with eleven drills of most improved design, capable of drilling two boilers a week. The third bay is devoted to riveting, which is done by hydraulic machinery wherever possible. The fourth bay contains finished work, and special machinery for flanging Adamson flues. The whole of the works are lighted by electricity, for which the necessary apparatus is situated in the second bay; the dynamo is driven by ropes. The engines for driving the machinery and the dynamo were made by the firm.

Besides steam engines and boilers, the work turned out includes machinery for bleaching and finishing works, for distilleries and breweries, tobacco manufactories, flour mills, soap making, brick making, manure manufacturing, felt and tar works, pork curing, salt manufacturing, railway plant, cranes, pumps, refrigerators, and air compressors. The two works together occupy six acres, and give employment to 500 men.

Combe, Barbour and Combe, Falls Foundry

Combe, Barbour and Combe

Those works were commenced in 1845 for the manufacture of machinery for preparing, spinning, and twisting flax; and occupy an area of five acres, the covered floor area being over 230,000 square feet. They have steadily increased in size and power of production, and their present output includes all the machines required for preparing, spinning, and twisting flax, hemp, jute, manila, sisal, and other similar fibres, ranging from the finest yarns that are used in the manufacture of lace to the coarsest yarns for twines and ropes; laying and cabling machinery; also steam engines of all sizes, single, compound, and triple-expansion; shafting, and all millwright and fire-proof work; as well as all the accessory machines and special tools required in mills and factories. It was in these works that rope-driving originated (Proceedings 1876, page 392); and the first pair of rope pulleys made for main driving purposes over thirty years ago are still at work here. The power is supplied by six boilers, and three condensing and eleven non-condensing engines. The number of men employed is about 1,700.

Dunville Co, Royal Irish Whisky Distilleries

Dunville and Co

Although this business dates back to 1808, the present distillery was not erected till 1869, at which time the site it occupies as well as the surrounding district was green fields, and the part now covered by the bonded warehouses was a sheet of water, in some parts 15 feet deep. The distillery comprises several blocks of buildings, built principally of the perforated brick peculiar to Belfast. The octagonal chimney stalk rises to a height of 150 feet, and for the first 60 feet is built with an inner lining of fire-brick, with an air-space between this and the outer structure. Iron hoops were put round the chimney about ten years ago to strengthen it, after an explosion in the air-space, which had been built without provision for ventilation.

Facing the entrance are three Lancashire steam boilers, each 30 feet long by 7 1/2 feet diameter, the flues being fitted with Galloway tubes. They supply steam to the engines and for the various requirements of the distillery, including the heating of the water used for the mashing. In the main flue is placed one of Green's economisers, through which the feed water is supplied to the boilers at a temperature ranging from 250° to 315° Fahr. The higher heat is obtained in the earlier part of the week, when the economiser has the benefit of the waste heat from the pot stills, as well as from the boilers.

Behind the boiler-house are the engine-house and grinding mill. A condensing beam-engine of 150 indicated horse-power, made by Messrs. Victor Coates and Co., supplies the principal motive power. There is also a high-pressure horizontal engine in connection with the still house, as well as several combined engines and pumps for feeding the boilers and for pumping the spent wash in the feeding- stuffs department. The grinding mill contains four pairs of millstones, each feet diameter, driven at a speed of 140 revolutions per minute, and kept running night and day in order to supply the quantity of grist required for mashing. From the mill the grist is conveyed by an elevator and screw to the grist room, where it falls into large heaps, no sacks being used.

On the left of the entrance is the granary, which with the sheds attached to it is capable of holding 240,000 bushels of grain. Abutting on the granary is the grain kiln and the malt deposit room. Behind the granary and separated from it by a yard 20 feet wide is the malt-house, four storeys high, the roof of which is a wrought-iron tank about 112 feet long by 85 feet wide. This tank has a capacity of over a quarter of a million gallons, and the main object of its erection was to ensure a good supply of water in case of fire. Two kilns for drying malt are attached to the malt-house; and next to the latter is the mash-house, containing three mash tuns, of which the largest is 29 feet diameter by 8 feet deep, having a capacity of over 30,000 gallons. Grist is passed into the various mash tuns through Steel's mashers. All the pumping in this house is done by a rotary pump, driven at from 600 to 700 revolutions per minute, which raises 1,000 gallons per minute to a height of 40 feet. The cooling of the wort is effected by two large refrigerators. Close by is the tun room, containing sixteen fermenting wash-backs ranging in size from 27,000 to 50,000 gallons.

The still-house, situated to the right of the main entrance and near the engine and boiler-house, is in communication with the mash-house. Here there are three pot-stills, holding together about 30,000 gallons, made by Miller of Dublin, with the necessary adjuncts of wash chargers, refrigerators, and receivers for the low wines, feints, and whisky; also the glass safes, through which the various distillates pass. From the still-house the finished whisky is run into vats in the adjoining spirit store, where the final operation of filling into the sherry and other casks takes place.

The principal warehouses for storing and maturing the whisky are situated about a mile from the distillery, in Adelaide and Alfred Streets; and there are also two warehouses adjoining the distillery, which hold about 10,000 butts. The total floor space of the warehouses is over 260,000 square feet, or nearly 6 acres. Between the distilleries and the warehouses a government staff of two supervisors and twenty officers are constantly employed.

About 60,000 gallons of whisky can be produced weekly. A very large sum is paid annually in excise duty, an example of which is shown in the payment of over £50,000 in one sum on 1st July 1895, when the spirit duty was reduced. A large proportion of the trade is done under bond, that is, the whisky is sent — without duty being paid in Belfast — to the various crown warehouses all over the kingdom, where the excise duty is ultimately paid. A sum of about £1,500,000 finds its way into the government exchequer before the yearly product of these distilleries passes into consumption. The number of men employed in the distilleries and warehouses amounts to 650.

William Ewart and Son, Crumlin Road Linen Mills

William Ewart and Son

These works embrace the complete manufacture of linen. The flax and hemp spinning mills are in Crumlin Road, and at Mountain Mill, Ligoniel. The power-loom weaving factories are also situated in Crumlin Road and in Bedford Street. The branch of bleaching and dyeing is carried on at Glenbank, Ballysillan. The number of persons employed in the whole of these establishments is 4,500.

Gunning and Campbells, Spinning Works

Gunning and Campbells

These works are arranged for spinning especially fine numbers of flax yarn by the wet process. For this particular class of yarn it is desirable that the machinery should run with the most perfect regularity; and with this object a set of triple-expansion high-speed engines by Messrs. Willans and Robinson have recently been erected, indicating about 400 horse-power and working with steam at 200 lbs. pressure per square inch, supplied by Lancashire boilers. The latter were specially constructed from the designs of Mr. A. Basil Wilson. The number of workpeople employed is 550.

Harland and Wolff, Queen's Island

Harland and Wolff

The rise and progress of this concern have taken place in a country which has to import all its supplies of coal and iron. The vessels which have here been turned out are now to be found on every sea, although only a little over forty years have yet elapsed since the founder of the business, the late Sir Edward J. Harland, Bart., came to Belfast. After serving his apprenticeship to engineering in the works of Robert Stephenson, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and filling various posts in the engineering and shipbuilding line in the north of England and in Scotland, Sir Edward, then Mr. Harland, became manager to Messrs. Robert Hickson and Co., who had started iron shipbuilding in Belfast on the Queen's Island at the mouth of the river Lagan in 1854, although even previously to that year a good many wooden ships and a few iron vessels had been constructed in the port. In 1858 the business was transferred to Mr. Harland, and a year or two later he took into partnership Mr. G. W. Wolff, who had served his apprenticeship to Messrs. Whitworth of Manchester; the firm has since been carried on under the style of Harland and Wolff, and about 1874 Mr. W. H. Wilson and Mr. W. J. Pirrie (the present Lord Mayor of Belfast) were admitted as partners, both of them being old pupils of the firm. The total number of hands employed in the yard, which in 1858 was only 100, has now reached about 8,000.

Among the large number of vessels which have left these works, first and foremost comes the entire fleet of the White Star line, including the "Teutonic" and "Majestic" of Atlantic fame; these two being subsidised by government were built with a view to their conversion into cruisers in case of emergency, and at short notice can be mounted with heavy guns. Not only the largest steamer built for the White Star line, but the largest vessel afloat is the "Georgic," 10,077 tons gross, completed in 1895, for the North Atlantic cattle trade. Noteworthy among the ships of the same line is the " Gothic," 7,720 tons, recently added to the fleet of steamers engaged in the frozen-meat trade between England and New Zealand, and also magnificently and luxuriously fitted as a passenger vessel.

Other ships have here been built for the Peninsular and Oriental line, the Pacific, the Union (South Africa), the African Steamship, the Johnston, the Harrison, the Atlantic Transport, the Dominion, the Leyland, the Bibby, the Warren, the Brocklebank, the West India and Pacific, the Asiatic, the " Head," the " Lord," and other lines; also for Messrs. Edward Bates and Sons, and numerous other ship-owning companies and firms. Whilst the work done has been principally for the mercantile marine, four gunboats and a torpedo ship have been built for the navy; two cruisers built in H.M. dockyards have been engined; and there is at present in hand the machinery for H.M. battleship " Hannibal," now building at Pembroke.

Various new features in shipbuilding have here been initiated. For example, the long narrow hull has been developed in a series of nine cargo steamers for the Bibby line, which are employed in the Mediterranean trade. The first of these was the " Venetian," 270 feet long by 34 feet beam, still afloat and at work, but now called the "Landana"; at the time of building she was considered very long in proportion to her beam, but nine vessels were built for the same owners, gradually increasing in length, until the last was as much as 91 feet longer than the "Venetian," although still retaining the same breadth of beam. In conjunction with first-class passenger accommodation in the middle of the vessel, the long narrow build was first adopted in the "Oceanic," built about twenty-five years ago for the White Star line; and, although at first looked upon by many with doubts, has brought about a complete revolution of opinion in its favour. Other new features were the low rise of floor, which is now generally adopted, and commonly known as the " Belfast bottom "; the straight stem; the cut-away fore-foot, which has proved its superiority in the handling of vessels over the yacht-shaped bow at one time almost universal. The twin screw is also strongly advocated, and has been fitted in most of the recent vessels built here.

The works cover an area of upwards of 50 acres, Plate 106, and are built to a great extent on piles, as the Queen's Island is " made ground," mainly recovered from swamps and river. The engine and boiler works, situated on the east side of the Queen's Road, were added to the yard in 1880. Prior to that year, the machinery for the steamers here built was supplied by makers in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, and elsewhere, although fitted on board in Belfast; but now the machinery as well as the ship is constructed in the works.

Entering the ship-yard on the west side of the Queen's Road, the time offices, workmen's entrances, and dining rooms are on the left-hand side of the gateway, and the general offices on the right. The drawing office in the centre is a large and handsome room, surmounted by an artistically decorated circular ceiling and lantern, affording abundant light and ventilation. Alterations and additions to the counting-house are in progress, which when finished will render the offices most convenient in every respect. Complete electric-bell communication extends throughout the building, and there is telephonic communication with the various departments in the ship-yard, the engine works, the city telephone exchange, and the post-office, and thereby with the principal cities in England and Scotland. Behind the offices comes the joiners' shop, built a few years ago and equipped with all the necessary tools and labour. saving appliances. Here are also the cabinet-makers' and polishing shops. Tho saw mill contiguous to the joiners' shop is likewise of recent construction, commodious and arranged on modern lines, with frame and hand saws of the most recent kind, and pneumatic tubes for conveying chips and sawdust from the various shops, and delivering them in front of the boilers; although to a certain extent in use in America, this arrangement is believed to be at present more or less of a novelty in Europe.

The mould loft at the north end of the yard is large and well arranged. The platers' sheds immediately adjoin the river frontage. The methods of bending and shearing steel plates and various sections of angle and channel bars for the different parts of a ship are almost unique; the two sets of plate-bending rolls are so large as to be capable of dealing with plates up to 31 feet long, of any necessary breadth, and 1 1/2 inch thick. The hydraulic keel-plate setting and flanging machine is also a powerful and useful tool, capable of exerting a force of over 2,000 tons in bending steel plates cold. Besides these heavy tools, there is in this department a complete equipment of power-driven shearing and punching machines; five hydraulic riveting machines, carried by cranes for convenient handling; also five pneumatic riveting machines similarly supported; and the other usual appliances. The smiths' shop is equipped with sixty-eight fires, six steam-hammers, and a hydraulic forging press.

The boiler-house, coal stores, general stores; paint, upholsterers', and pattern shops; boat-building shed, wood-drying kiln, &c., are all separate buildings, in convenient positions between the platers' sheds and the main offices and entrance, Plate 106.

There are four powerful travelling cranes in the open yard; and the whole of the works are traversed by a system of narrow-gauge tramway lines aggregating upwards of nine miles in length, for transporting the large quantities of material that have to be dealt with. Steam power for driving the machinery &c. throughout the works is supplied by eight Galloway boilers of 2,000 horse-power in the ship-yard, and by six of the same construction in the engine works.

The large electric-lighting installation comprises engine and dynamos by various makers, including Messrs. Allen, Crompton, Brush Co., Mather and Platt, and Stanley and Davis, besides sixteen machines which have been constructed on the premises. In the ship-yard there are 205 arc lamps, each absorbing 45 volts and 22 amperes of current. A large number of these are hung on poles from 70 to 90 feet high, placed in different parts of the works. The main offices are lit by 300 incandescent lamps, some of which are of the " sunbeam " pattern; a storage battery is also used when the dynamos are not running. In the engine works there are 200 arc lamps distributed throughout the shops. The total candlepower in the entire establishment amounts to about 410,000. Electric light is also largely used on board the various ships when finishing.

At the north end of the yard there are five slips, and six at the south or Abercorn Basin end, all of which are at present occupied by vessels in course of construction. Among the larger ships on the stocks or finishing may be mentioned the " China " for the Peninsular And Oriental Co., and several for the White Star line, the Union Co., the Pacific Co., the Hamburg-American Steam Packet Co., and other ship-owners. After a ship is launched at the Queen's Island, she is generally taken to the 60-ton sheers in the Abercorn basin or to the 100-ton crane at the Alexandra jetty. After receiving there her boilers, heavy machinery, masts &c., she is brought round to lie at one of the jetties in the Abercorn basin for finishing, Plate 106.

The Hamilton graving dock lies between the ship-yard and Queen's Road, and is capable of accommodating vessels up to a length of 470 feet. The Alexandra graving dock, measuring 830 feet in length, is available for ships of larger dimensions. In this fine dock the " Scot," belonging to the Union Steam Ship Co., was lately lengthened, being cut in two, pulled asunder 54 feet, and the new portion built into place.

Crossing to the engine works on the east side of Queen's Road, the main entrance is immediately opposite the sheer legs at the Abercorn basin, the time offices and workmen's entrances being situated on the left, while the drawing offices &c., which are tastefully designed and have been recently erected, are on the right. Near to the gateway are the fitting, turning, and erecting shops, where all the most modern machine-tools are to be found, as well as pits for erecting, travelling cranes, &c. In the adjoining smiths' shop there are thirty-five fires, six large steam-hammers, and two steam-olivers. A forge for working up scrap, with hammer, furnace, crane, &c., forms part of the same building as the smiths' shop.

Running parallel with these buildings are the store, fettling shop where castings are dressed and cleaned, and pattern shop. In front of these buildings is the brass foundry, alongside the boilers for supplying steam; and in an L shaped building the iron foundry is arranged, with four cupolas, large drying stoves, and several powerful overhead travelling cranes. The extensive boiler shops are situated alongside the Queen's Road, and are fitted with numerous machines driven by steam and hydraulic power; in each bay are several overhead cranes for lifting heavy weights.

For four years running the Queen's Island Works held the highest place in the world as regards the amount of tonnage launched, and the following are the figures for the last six years:—

Year . Number
of Vessels
1890 13 48,626 22,900
1891 13 64,962 34,650
1892 14 68,612 33,650
1893 15 65,660 41,640
1894 13 65,448 41,800
1895 7 58,093 26,800

The falling off in 1895 was due to the unfortunate strike of the engineers. In addition to the engines constructed during last year for vessels launched from the yard, the two White Star steamers " Germanic " and " Doric " also received new boilers and machinery, of 6,500 and 3,200 I.H.P. respectively, making a total of 36,500, I.H.P. for 1895.

The firm is assisted in the commercial department by Mr. Bailey, who has been connected with the establishment since its beginning; and Mr. Carlisle and Mr. Pratten are the respective managers of the ship-yard and the engine works.

George Horner, Clonard Foundry

Clonard Foundry

These works were established in 1859 by Mr. George Horner for the construction of hackling machines, of which some 2,520 have already been made from his various designs. They are situated in the largest spinning district of the city, and in close proximity to the users of the machines. These comprise single and duplex stripper- rod machines for hemp and the coarse and medium flares; single brush-and-doffer machines for the fine flares; and giant hackling machines for the various fibres used in their full length in rope and twine making; ending machines, flax cutters, hemp breakers and cutters; and other machines used in connection with hackling. A large trade is also done in castings and general millwright work. The departments comprise a foundry, having a 5-ton travelling crane, two jib cranes of 10 and 5 tons and smaller cranes; hackle- making shop; machinery, turning, fitting and erecting shops, and forge. When in full work they employ about 160 men.

Inglis and Co, Machine Bakery

Inglis and Co

This business was started in Castle Street, and was moved in 1882 to larger premises in Eliza Street, near to the river, the railway, and the public markets. The buildings cover more than an acre, and have storage capacity for twenty thousand 280-lbs. sacks of flour. Fifty-five ovens of various kinds are in nightly use, and the bake-house appliances are capable of baking 2,000 large sacks of flour per week. Labour-saving machinery is largely employed, from the blending and automatic weighing of the flour to the dividing of the finished dough for baking. At the present time the products, in the shape of bread, cakes, pastry, &c., are to be found in most of the towns and villages within fifty miles of Belfast. The premises are lighted by electricity, and the baking is mainly done during the night. The stables contain 75 horses, and about 300 persons are employed.

McCaw, Stevenson and Orr, Linenhall Printing Works

McCaw, Stevenson and Orr

This printing, publishing, and chrome-lithographic business was established about twenty-three years ago in Arthur Street, whence it was shortly removed to larger premises in Linenhall Street, and again in February 1895 to the present still larger premises at Loopbridge, Castlereagh Road, having a floor area of 126,600 square feet, or nearly 3 acres.

The special work here done consists of high-class chromolithography, letterpress printing, bookbinding, &c.; also transparent label printing, now largely used, and " glacier " window decoration. The latest improved machinery is in use in all the departments, and the works are fitted up and arranged for dealing most expeditiously with all kinds of high-class printing. The number of persons employed is very large.

W. A. Ross and Sons

W. A. Ross and Sons

These works, situated in William Street South, were founded in 1879 by Mr. W. A. Ross. They comprise a large and substantial block of buildings, underneath which is an artesian well nearly 250 feet deep, whence is pumped an abundant and unfailing supply of water, almost equal in purity to distilled water and more wholesome. The machinery is of the most effective kind, comprising a number of ingenious and labour-saving machines. The utmost cleanliness is observed in all departments, especially in the syrup room, where all the utensils and apparatus are of glass, crockery, or slate, no metallic appliances being used. In addition to the manufacture of aerated waters and ginger ale, raspberry vinegar is prepared from a special class of berries, grown in the firm's own gardens at Craigavad, County Down. The number of workpeople employed is 150.

Ulster Spinning Mills, Falls Mills


These mills, founded in 1833, are situated in Falls Road; and are wholly driven by means of a triple-expansion engine, recently erected by Messrs. Combe, Barbour, and Combe, whose works adjoin. The engine was put in to replace three beam-engines, and the saving effected by the change is over 50 tons of coal per week. The cylinders are 19 inches, 29 inches, and 46 inches diameter, with 3 1/2 feet stroke. The engine is designed for 1,000 indicated horsepower, but at present, running at 80 revolutions per minute, is driving only about 700. The change in the motive power also entailed a considerable change in its distribution, and the whole of the shafts are now driven by ropes instead of by toothed gearing. The power required to drive the engines and shafting has thereby been slightly reduced, thus shoeing that properly designed ropes do not absorb more power than toothed gear. The number of workpeople employed is 1,219.

Marcus Ward and Co, Royal Ulster Printing Works

Marcus Ward and Co

These works were established early in the century for printing, publishing, lithographing, book-binding, and the manufacture of stationery; they were rebuilt in 1874 at Bankmore, not far from the centre of the city. The building fronting the Dublin road is of red brick with terra-cotta insertions; the wide porch with pillars of red polished granite has the royal arms elaborately carved within the gothic arch. The front building is occupied with the sales and order departments, where samples of the various manufactures are on view.

The works extend backwards a considerable distance along the side street, and form an angle with the building which runs parallel to the Dublin road, the ground plan being L-shaped. On the ground floor all the heavy machinery of the letterpress and lithographic printing departments is placed; the large area with its broad glass-roofed side-aisles contains the printing machines arranged in rows, all of the latest and best construction. The work turned out is of the most varied kinds, from the largest pictorial posters to the smaller sheets of elaborately finished Christmas cards, coloured show-cards, trade labels, and commercial printing. The lithographic department occupies one side of the floor space, and letterpress printing the other; on the ground floor is also the stereotyping and electrotyping department.

The entire block of buildings consists of five storeys, all of which are reached by a central fire-proof granite staircase for the workpeople, while a steam lift is used for transferring goods from one department to another. The first floor is occupied by the counting-house, offices, and board-room; also the artists' department, which consists of one large room, running the entire length of the building and facing the north, and occupied by the artists, designers, illuminators, engravers, lithographers, and die sinkers. At an angle with this room is the drying room for printed work; and also the compositors' room, situated immediately over the machine room, where the actual printing is done, with which it communicates by separate stairs and by elevator.

On the floors above are carried on book-binding, manufacture and preparation of stationery goods, enamelling, fancy-box making, cardboard making, varnishing, and gelatining; whilst the making up of Christmas cards and other fine printed work employs a large number of young women all the year round. An extensive business forming an important department of the works is the manufacture and preparation for the British and colonial markets, through their houses in London, New York, and Sydney, of the royal Irish linen and other writing papers. A considerable trade is carried on in publishing literary, artistic, and educational works, and in the manufacture of albums, diaries, leather goods, Ac. The works occupy a floor space of about 4 1/2 acres, and give employment to over 800 persons.

Workman, Clark and Co, Shipbuilders

Workman, Clark and Co

The works of this firm consist of two ship-yards and the engine works. The North Yard at Spencer basin, on the north side of the river Lagan, was started in 1879, and the total tonnage turned out in that year amounted to 600 tons. Now the combined areas of the ship-yards and engine works amount to over 50 acres, and the total launched in 1895 was 41,723 tons, placing those works fourth in the year's list for the United Kingdom. Besides a commodious set of offices, the Spencer Basin yard contains all the most modern tools and appliances for building vessels of the highest class, examples of which can be seen on the slips and at the finishing berth alongside the yard. There is also a large caisson in course of construction for the government.

The South Yard in Queen's Road was acquired in 1893 and contains about 13 acres. It has great facilities for launching, and is conveniently placed as regards the public graving dock and fitting-out berths. The engine works, erected in 1891, consist of pattern shop, smiths' shop and forge, fitting, turning, erecting, and boiler shops; the last is at present undergoing enlargement. In every department the largest and most modern machine-tools have been provided. The erecting shop is of such height that the largest modern marine engines can be erected on the floor, without having recourse to the ordinary engine-shop pit. The number of men employed in the ship-yards and engine works is about 3,500.

York Street Flax Spinning and Weaving Works

York Street Flax Spinning Co

These mills, situated in almost the centre of the city, were founded in 1830 by the late Mr. Andrew Mulholland, from whose son, the late Lord Dunleath, and his partner, Mr. O. B. Graham, they were purchased by the present company in 1864. They were the first works of the kind in Ireland; and having since been increased by the purchase of another flax-spinning mill and a bleach-green, the company are now able to carry on all the manufacturing operations required for converting the raw flax into finished linen.

The works occupy an area of 786 feet length by 221 feet width, or about four acres, extending from York Street on the east to North Queen Street on the west, and from Henry Street on the south to Sussex Street on the north. The central part of the west end, a fireproof building of eight storeys, occupies a space of 124 feet length by 50 feet width. In it are stored flax, tow, dressed line, brown cloth, &c. The roof forms a cistern, supplying hydrants in the lobbies.

The south wing, 72 feet by 40 feet, has five storeys, and contains hydraulic presses, crane pumps, and gas-engine to drive them. The north wing, 229 feet by 46 feet, has six storeys, and is fireproof. This is the preparing mill. The first storey is used for tow carding and preparing; the second, third, and fourth for flax or line preparing, which includes spreading, drawing, and roving; the fifth storey for machine hackling; and the sixth for hand hackling and sorting. The east end communicates with the spinning mill by stairs and hoists through a building, 26 feet by 16 feet wide, of six storeys, which are used as stores, with the engineers' shop on the first floor.

The spinning mill is 221 feet length by 42 feet width, and the first storey is used for hackle-makers' shops, engineers' stores, wood-turning and fluting shop, weaving, beetling, cropping, and lapping rooms. The next four storeys are utilised as wet-spinning rooms, which contain 34,000 spindles; and the sixth is a reeling-room, from which there is a wire tramway to the drying loft on the third floor of the boiler houses.

On the south side are three buildings occupied as offices, salerooms, yarn stores, and stock and lapping rooms. In the quadrangle are eight Lancashire boilers and three beam-engines with Corliss valves. One engine, with 35-inch cylinder and 5 feet stroke, making 45 revolutions per minute, drives the preparing mill. The two others, with 35-inch cylinders and 7 feet stroke, making 32 revolutions a minute, drive the spinning mill. For driving the weaving factory and heavy finishing machinery there are four Lancashire boilers supplying steam to two beam-engines, with 38-inch cylinders and 7 feet stroke, which have wrought-iron beams and Corliss valves, and make 29 revolutions per minute. They drive two main shafts direct from the fly-wheel.

At the south-east corner is a five-storey building, in which the first floor is used for weaving, the second for pint winding, the third for yarn dressing and beaming, the fourth for hank winding, and the fifth floor for dressing. Adjoining is another building with similar accommodation. In an adjacent building the first floor is used as a drawing-in shop and beam stock-room; and the second floor as a cloth-passing room, from which a carrying band conveys cloth 138 feet to cropping machines on the first floor of the spinning mill. The weaving sheds contain 1,000 looms for plain and damask linens. Bleaching is carried on at Muckamoro, county Antrim.

The manufactures include fronting linens of different qualities, interlinings, printed linen shirtings, dress linens and lawns, &c., towels, hollands, handkerchiefs, sheetings, damasks, &c., and various goods for the West Indies and Spanish colonies, such as creas, platillas, bretanas, silesias, irlandas, &c. Besides 4,500 regular workpeople employed, large numbers are also engaged in the country in embroidery and fancy work, and also on the bleach-green.

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