History - The Linen Industry in NI
Why was the linen industry so important in Northern Ireland?
The climate of Ireland was ideal for growing flax and as early as the sixteenth century, most homes had spinning wheels to create linen yarn. In the seventeenth century, Huguenot refugees settled in north of Ireland and brought with them their skills in linen manufacture. They set about modernising the production of linen. This resulted in a massive increase in the amount of linen produced in Northern Ireland throughout the eighteenth century and established Belfast as an important port for the export of the material.
Ask pupils to read the following articles and look at the clips to consider what were the factors in the importance of the linen industry in Northern Ireland.
- BBC Primary Focus: Linen -The history of Linen in Northern Ireland
- BBC Primary Focus: The Textile Industry- Herdman's mill, Sion Mills