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1800-1900 An Industrial Giant and the Shadow of Poverty

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1800-1900 An Industrial Giant and the Shadow of Poverty

The Industrial Revolution and the expansion of the British Empire conspired to accelerate trade and growth in the 1800s. North-east Ireland was transformed as a result.

National Museums NI industrial collection contains a wide range of engineering and linen-related material from this period, charting Ulster’s growth from a largely agrarian to industrial society. Linen was the biggest sector, but others prospered too. The collection includes artefacts from the rope making, engineering, tobacco, tea, and soap industries. It illustrates the development of technology too, in the progression from steam and paraffin, to diesel and petrol fuels.

The 1800s made Belfast. It grew from about 20,00 people to almost 350,000 over the course of the century, as the new industries pumped wealth into the economy. It briefly eclipsed Dublin as Ireland’s largest city. This rapid expansion had social costs. Men and women poured in from the countryside seeking industrial work. Many lived in back-to-back terraced houses, and the poorest struggled to survive. The Great Famine of the 1840s made the gulf between rich and poor all too apparent. Trade and exports continued to boom, even as starvation took hold and thousands emigrated. Our collection holds famine tokens and cooking pots from this period.

Our Domestic Life collection holds a variety of items that offer a glimpse into everyday life in 1800s Ulster. Cradles, pine kitchen dressers, and spinning wheels were once valuable and much-loved items. Religious and cultural pieces embody the hopes and diversions of ordinary people living through extraordinary times.

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Union is Strength 1892

Union is Strength 1892

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892. A crowned white metal bar with long pin fastening. Inscribed "UNION IS STRENGTH ULSTER UNIONIST CONVENTION 1982. Atta...

Button

Button

Daniel O'Connell button sold in aid of his political aim of repealing the Act of Union....

Union is Strength

Union is Strength

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892. A crowned white metal bar with long pin fastening. Inscribed "UNION IS STRENGTH ULSTER UNIONIST CONVENTION 1982. Atta...

United We Stand

United We Stand

Ulster Unionist Convention 1893 badge. A crowned white metal bar with long pin fastening. Inscribed "United We Stand, Belfast Demonstration 1983. Atta...

Bond

Bond

Fenian bond for $20 dated March 5, 1866....

Photographic negative

Photographic negative

Photographic negative showing a parade celebrating centenary of '98 Rising (June 1898). Scene near corner of Dunville Street (on right), during parade...

Orange Prudence and Self-Denial

Orange Prudence and Self-Denial

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal Saturday 14 June 1884. Titled 'Orange Prudence and Self Denial,' featuring a simian...

Left out in the Cold

Left out in the Cold

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' Saturday journal. Titled 'Left Out in the Cold' featuring spectral figure 'Irish Want' addr...

Away God Speed!

Away God Speed!

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal Saturday 16 Jan 1886, titled ' Away! God Speed!' featuring Erin waving goodbye a sh...

Ulster Unionist Demostration

Ulster Unionist Demostration

Badge from the Ulster Unionist Demostration April 1893, with Union Jack flag and Crown ....

1898

1898

small milk Jug. Commemorative centenary of the 1798 rebellion. Straight sided cream jug. Transfer printed in brown with harp, bust of woman with pike ...

Ulster Unionist Demonstration 1893

Ulster Unionist Demonstration 1893

Badge with pin fastening. On a crowned, circular, white enamel ribbon in gilt "ULSTER UNIONIST DEMONSTRATION APRIL 1893". In the voided centre a union...

United We Stand - Divided We Fall

United We Stand - Divided We Fall

Circular badge with pin fastening at back. 'United We Stand - Divided We Fall,' featuring Red Hand, Union Jack, Crown & Lion. Marked on Back: Manufac...

Henry O'Neill

Henry O'Neill

Postcard showing portrait image of 'Henry O'Neill,' "Councillor who has consented to become the Conservative and Unionist Candidate for South Belfast ...

Mr Chamberlain at Glasgow

Mr Chamberlain at Glasgow

Postcard showing 'Mr Chamberlain at Glasgow: "I take up the position of a Pioneer." 'The Orchid' boat with Union Jack Flag looking ahead to the 'Unkno...

Mr Chamberlain

Mr Chamberlain

Postard showing Joseph Chamberlain trying to wake up someone, "Wake up, wake up, 'tis eleven of the clock." Political connotations unclear. A postcar...

Sir Edward Carson, KC, MP

Sir Edward Carson, KC, MP

Photographic postcard portrait of Sir Edward Carson, clearly wearing his Unionist Clubs of Ireland membership badge. Part of the 'Real Photo Series.'...

William III Prince of Orange crossing the Boyne

William III Prince of Orange crossing the Boyne

Coloured graphic postcard featuring King William on his white horse entitled 'William III Prince of Orange crossing the Boyne.' From the 'No Surrender...

No Surrender

No Surrender

Coloured graphic postcard 'No Surrender, The Protestant religion I will maintain.’ Featuring William III, Prince of Orange on horse and landing at Car...

The Loyal Orange Lily

The Loyal Orange Lily

Orange postcard with picture of Orange lilies flanked by Masonic symbols, and verse 'The Loyal Orange Lily O' posted to Mr R Robinson, Nelson Street, ...

Mocking Hunger

Mocking Hunger

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' Saturday journal. Titled 'Mocking Hunger' featuring John Bull approaching Erin, pictured wi...

Aideen rescuing the body of Oscar

Aideen rescuing the body of Oscar

Printed chromolithograph poster free with the 'Irish Fireside' 8 Jul 1885; entitled 'Heroines of Irish History - 1' featuring Aideen in a chariot res...

Her Own Patron

Her Own Patron

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal, titled 'Her Own 'Patron,' featuring Erin carrying a wand called Native Energy, loo...

Gladstone

Gladstone

Belleek chamber pot, around 1885 featuring William Ewart Gladstone, the Liberal leader and Prime Minister, who swiftly developed into a hate figure am...

Union is Strength

Union is Strength

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892. A crowned white metal bar with long pin fastening. Inscribed "UNION IS STRENGTH ULSTER UNIONIST CONVENTION 1982. Atta...

Ulster Defence Union Membership Card

Ulster Defence Union Membership Card

Ulster Defence Union Membership Card. gold border, blue interlace, series of rules : in centre medallion with crowned shield with union flag on crosse...

Ireland to Parnell

Ireland to Parnell

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal. Titled 'Ireland to Parnell,' featuring Erin presenting Parnell in medieval armour ...

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892

Shield shaped bannerette, red twill with blue fringes attached above top edge by cord to wooden roller. On obverse in stencilled white letters "ULSTER...

United We Stand

United We Stand

Ulster Unionist Convention badge 1893. A crowned white metal bar with long pin fastening. Inscribed "United We Stand, Belfast Demonstration 1983. Atta...

Sugar bowl, '1898'

Sugar bowl, '1898'

Sugar bowl. Commemorative bowl for the centenary of the 1798 Rebellion. Straight sides. Brown and white transfer with printed decoration. Bust of a wo...

Ireland's Valentines

Ireland's Valentines

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal Saturday 16 Feb 1886. Titled 'Erin's Valentines,' featuring a seated Erin surrounde...

Photographic negative

Photographic negative

Photographic negative showing members and premises of the Jemmy Hope '98 Club, September 1898....

Help! Help!

Help! Help!

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal, titled ' Help! Help!,' featuring Erin fending off the Crime Bill, with the Arrears...

Rifle

Rifle

Bolt action riflle. UVF stamped on butt. Gewehr 88. The Gewehr 88 bolt action rifle was commonly known as the Model 1888 Commission Rifle. Approximate...

Realizing the Police Tax - When Mule met Mule

Realizing the Police Tax - When Mule met Mule

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' Saturday journal on 12th Jan 1884. Titled 'Realizing the police Tax - When Mule met Mule.' ...

Quis Separabit

Quis Separabit

Irish Unionists Alliance badge. "Quis Separabit" Brass badge with Union Jack in centre with shamrock, english rose & thistle border with crown on top....

IUA junior Branch

IUA junior Branch

Irish Unionist Alliance, Junior Branch badge with a half moon fastening on back. A circular ribbon, blue enamelled inscribed in gilt "I. U. A. JUNIOR ...

Unionist Headquarters

Unionist Headquarters

Photographic postcard of 'Unionist Headquarters, Old Town Hall,' Belfast, clearly shows a Union Jack flag on top....

Character of King William

Character of King William

Coloured graphic postcard featuring William III, Prince of Orange on horse with Orange symbolism. ‘The Asserter of Liberty and Deliverer of Nations.' ...

Belfast Riots 1886

Belfast Riots 1886

Photographic negative entitled 'Waiting for the Islandmen, Belfast Riots 1886.'...

Oxdised Silver Shrine Casket to contain Illuminated Address to the Earl of Shaftesbury

Oxdised Silver Shrine Casket to contain Illuminated Address to the Earl of Shaftesbury

Pen and Ink, with crayon and wash; design for casket to hold illuminated address to the Earl of Shaftesbury, signed by John Vinycomb, F.R.S.A.I., cask...

Ireland's National Order

Ireland's National Order

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal, titled 'Ireland's National Order,' featuring Erin bestowing Nationality on Porthar...

All Round Coercion

All Round Coercion

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal. Titled 'All Round Coercion' featuring Gladstone herding Irish judges to the Courth...

The Orange Jack the Giant Killer

The Orange Jack the Giant Killer

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal 13 Feb 1886. Titled 'The Orange Jack the Giant Killer,' featuring a tiny Orange man...

Ireland to Parnell

Ireland to Parnell

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' journal. Titled 'Ireland to Parnell,' featuring Erin presenting Parnell in medieval armour ...

The Gale theat Ought to be Hanging

The Gale theat Ought to be Hanging

Printed chromolithograph poster free with 'United Ireland' Saturday journal. Titled 'The Gale that Ought to be Hanging' re recent land Court Decision....

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892 Bannerette

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892 Bannerette

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892 Bannerette depicting "Sons of Empire" and names of the colonies of the British Empire. On obverse in stencilled white ...

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