LINENOPOLIS AN EXAMPLE OF STREET ART BY NOMAD CLAN AT TOWER STREET OFF NEWTOWNARDS ROAD BELFAST
A pair of artists known as Nomad Clan installed this work ‘Linenopolis’ at a mini-park park at the corner of Tower Street and the Newtownards Road. The last time I was in the area the wall featured ‘flax flowers’ by Deirdre Robb but it was in poor condition.
Back in 2015 – 2017 the Council in Belfast invested about £305,000 on enhancing 74 shop fronts and two environmental improvement schemes on the the lower Newtownards Road between Bridge End and Welland Street. The work at Tower Street [shown in my photographs] involved the removal of unsightly metal fencing from the corner site which was then landscaped. Interpretative signage, featuring information on the area’s industrial heritage, was then added.
Linenopolis was a nickname applied to the city of Belfast in the 19th century. During the American Civil War there were disruptions to the supply of cotton reaching Europe, and during this period Irish linen experienced somewhat of a revival. There was a shortage of cotton goods on the world market. This was known as the Cotton Famine, and much of the slack was taken up by Irish linen. There was significant expansion in the industry, and many mill owners made enormous profits. Even after the end of the Civil War in 1865, the momentum was maintained and companies continued to flourish until the mid-1870s. Belfast was by then the largest linen producing area in the world, and this continued to be the case up until World War I; the city greatly earned the nickname of Linenopolis. Manchester was the cotton capital of the British Empire; Belfast was the linen capital.