The Impact of the Domestic Linen Industry in Ulster

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Ulster Historical Foundation, 2005 - History - 223 pages
The domestic linen industry left an indelible imprint on Ulster history. It was introduced by colonists from the north of England in the 17th century, before the arrival of the Huguenots, and encouraged by the landlords to improve their rentals. Earnings from raising flax, spinning yarn and weaving cloth, provided farming families with regular incomes that enabled them to lease small farms and improve marginal land. Continual improvements by Ulster bleachers in the finishing of linens secured for them control of the industry, focussing its development. Exports to Britain first through Dublin and then direct to Liverpool and London, created a merchant class and underpinned the development of Belfast and the provincial market towns. By 1800 Ulster was reckoned to be the most prosperous province in Ireland. It was also the most densely peopled with a population of two million in 1821, almost equal to that of Scotland.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The origins of the linen industry in north Armagh and the Lagan valley
7
Drapers and bleachers in the early Ulster linen industry
23
The market book of Thomas Greer a Dungannon linendraper 17589
38
The linen industry portrayed in the Hincks prints of 1783
49
Ulster landowners and the linen industry
58
Ulster in the eighteenth century
86
The linen triangle in the 1790s
105
The evolution of the linen trade in Ulster before industrialisation
132
A handloom weaving community in County Down
157
Thomas Turner New methods of improving flax and flaxseed and bleaching cloth 1715
179
The case of the linen manufacture of Ireland relative to the bleaching and the whitening the same 1750
185
Serious considerations on the present alarming state of agriculture and the linen trade by a farmer 1773
189
The report of John Greer Inspector General for Ulster of the state of the linen markets in said province 1784
204
Report made to the Linen Board by Mr Kirk of Keady 1822
215
INDEX
219

Women in the domestic linen industry
116
The introduction of the flying shuttle into the weaving of linen in Ulster
127

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