Another nearby former shirt factory is the Welch Margetson Factory of 1872 on Carlisle Road. This huge building is integrated remarkably well into its surroundings. Its polychrome brickwork reflects the Venetian Gothic style popularised by John Ruskin.
The Abercorn factory remains beside the former Tillie and Henderson site today. It dates from 1863 and is also of simple Georgian inspired design. It is enlivened by a decorative flourish at its curved corner above its clock. In the foreground of this view is the ‘hands across the divide’ statue, which was erected in the late 1990’s to reflect the transition from 30 years of ‘Troubles’ to peace
At the other end of the bridge once stood the Tillie and Henderson shirt factory. Demolished after a series of fires in 2002, this was the first factory of the city’s mechanised shirt industry which was its major employer during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This building encapsulated the story of the industry very well. The earliest part had a severe Georgian façade to the river while the 1866 extension reflected a growing prosperity presenting a Hotel de Ville inspired elevation to the new iron bridge (Carlisle Bridge). The building was used as a case study in Marx’s Das Kapital but also had a small school in the roof to teach the children of workers. The last extension was an extra story on top of the river façade in 1908
Beside the bridge is a second of the city’s former railway stations. This was the terminus of the Donegal Railway which opened in 1900 and operated until 1954, taking traffic from the city to Strabane and then on into County Donegal. The station was entered from the building in the foreground as well as from the long thin building at a higher level along Victoria Road. This was linked to the main concourse space, which is capped with a glazed pyramidal rooflight via an enclosed bridge which is now gone. The canopies over the former platform remain inside with decorative columns but the sides have been enclosed to provide office space.
Back to the Cityside across Craigavon Bridge, named after the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and completed in 1936 its lamp standards display unmistakeable touches of the Art Deco style so popular at that time. It is a double decked bridge with the lower deck used until the early 1960’s for rail traffic. There are currently proposals to designate it as a listed building on the basis of its special architectural and historic interest
Victoria Hall on nearby Spencer Road (1913), is an example of Tudor Gothic architecture. Its windows are grouped together under heavy horizontal ‘hood mouldings’ which in contrast to the vertical emphasis of true Gothic, creates a balance between horizontal and vertical effects.
Follow Glendermott Road downhill to the riverside. The former terminus of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway is at the bottom. Damaged by a bomb in the 1980’s and with its central portion rebuilt in glass, it never the less remains an important and prominent remnant of the city’s industrial past. It was designed in the Italianate style in 1873 by John Lanyon. He was the son of Charles, the famous architect of Nineteenth Century Ulster and of Queens University Belfast
Around the corner on the Glendermot Road is the former Union Workhouse
This stands as a testament to the Famine of 1845-8. Built in Tudor Gothic, a style often used for Alms houses, they were built across Ireland
to a standard plan on the eve of the disaster. Designed to be refuges of last resort, they had a deliberately harsh regime with families split into different wings on entering. Though the worst of the effects took place in the rural area- particularly in Donegal or beyond Glenshane, where farms were smaller and more dependent on potatoes, the city and its workhouse would have seen many arrivals in search of assistance, work, or emigration, and was hard hit by the Cholera epidemic which followed afterwards.
At the bottom of the hill and along Clooney Terrace is All Saints Clooney. This Church of Ireland church is situated on a very awkward site with a steeply sloping road into town along one side. This gives it a dramatic profile when viewed from across the river. It was designed in the First Pointed or Early English style of Gothic in 1864 by the prolific Victorian firm of Lanyon Lynn and Lanyon.
large east window behind the altar was added in 1887 as part of the addition of a chancel and transepts to the original church. This window is a good example of the Second Pointed or Decorated style of gothic architecture.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West and further afield with a little information about their history.