INDUSTRIAL HOMAGE BY NED JACKSON SMYTH – PORTVIEW TRADE CENTRE BELFAST MARCH 2019]
In the early 1900’s, Belfast machinery manufacturers Mackies persuaded Sir Otto Jaffe, a prominent local businessman who also owned a brickworks on the river Lagan embankment, to build a large spinning mill on the Newtownards Road in east of the city. He subsequently sold the mill and the business to Mackies, and it went on to become the Strand Spinning Company. In its day it was the largest flax tow spinning mill in the world. Following the outbreak of World War 2 and the loss of European flax supplies, the Mackies redesigned the flax machinery to spin Viscose fibres produced by Courtaulds.
Strand Spinning Mill continued to operate as a successful mill for many years, however the steady decline of the UK textile industry forced the mill to close at the end of 1983. The mill was reinvigorated during the 1980’s as Portview Trade Centre, providing useable workspaces for small businesses.