Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Northern Ireland's picture postcard past goes online

Ladies Bathing Place, Portrush
Carlisle Circus, Belfast
An eye for a bargain - this customer check out the goods at Bangor Market. 20/7/1983

Bustling scenes of the Belfast dockers’ strike and the stunning cliffs of Portrush are just two of the images featured in a new collection of historic postcards.

Over 6,000 photographs, political prints and portraits from days gone by form part of a project launched at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast.

The images, which have been scanned and digitised for an online archive, go on sale to the public from today through the Belfast Telegraph’s website.

Featuring grand architecture, old family photos and unspoilt landscapes, the postcards give a sense of life in towns and cities across Ulster more than 100 years ago.

From steamships and sports teams to linen mills and political rallies, the images cover the whole of Ireland and date from around 1800 to 1900.

Ships docked at Donegall Quay and passers-by at Carlisle Circus are just two of the postcards featuring black and white scenes of historic Belfast.

Other collections feature posters for Ulster’s industrial centres, including Barbour’s Linen Works in Lisburn and the spinning mill at Balnamore in Ballymoney. Seaside joke cards and old greetings cards can also be bought from the archive, which displays both black and white and full colour images to peruse.

Monica McErlane, deputy librarian at the Linen Hall Library, said the postcards would “bring back happy memories”.

“The postcards have a really nostalgic feeling — we’ve got pictures of the high street in Bangor circa 1900 and the old Belfast city centre,” she said.

“We’re hoping to reach people who maybe lived here and have since moved away, but want to look back on what things were like.

“By putting them online it reaches a wider audience and also conserves the postcards, as we don’t have to keep the originals on display.

The postcards are priced between £10 and £50 and can be reproduced as prints, A3 posters or on mugs.

To view collection and buy the images, visit www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/postcards.

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