Belfast was once at the forefront of industrial innovation. The city was home to some of the world’s largest textile mills, several engineering companies produced tools and machinery used around the world and in its docks great ships were being built, among them the ill fated Titanic. The city’s engineering expertise also came in handy during the two world wars, its factories helping the war effort with planes, ammunition and other equipment.
Most of the old industrial sites were located along the rivers flowing down from the hills into Belfast, exploiting the power of the water. A large number of factories, foundries and mills were located in West Belfast, following the paths of rivers such as the River Farset and Forth River.
There was also a good relationship between the industries and the surrounding neighbourhoods; the industry became a part of the community. Today, sadly, it seems that much of the proud history is lost and forgotten amongst a large part of Belfast’s inhabitants. The decline in the traditional industries, along with the Troubles’ role in unsettling the economy, has caused a problem with a lack of jobs.