The hunt is on to find a name for a new cafe due to open inside Belfast’s City Hall.
The decision has been placed firmly in the hands of the public, who have been asked to vote for their favourite from a list of four possibilities — White Linen, The Bobbin, The Foundry or the Blackstaff.
Each name is linked to the city’s proud industrial heritage.
Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long said: “It is important that we recognise the contribution of ordinary working men and women who helped shape Belfast into the city that it is today.
“Thanks to the hard work of its citizens, Belfast was recognised on a world stage for its industrial innovation.
“Now, centuries later, another chapter in history is being made, and what a great opportunity to let people have their say.”
The Belfast Telegraph took to the streets to ask members of the public what they thought the latest tourist attraction should be named.
White Linen was the strongest contender followed by The Bobbin.
Ryan Garland (17) from Belfast and Christopher McMullan (17) from Crumlin both liked the name White Linen. “It sounds clean and pure and everyone will know the significance behind the name.”
Amanda McKinnell (34), a sales assistant from Newtownabbey, and her daughter Faith (11) also preferred White Linen: “It sounds traditional and clean.”
Gerard McCartan (17), employed at Belfast City Sightseeing Tours, thought White Linen was the most appropriate out of the four: “It sounds old and the City Hall is an old building, so it’s a clear winner.”
However Amy Wilson (20), a Queen’s University student from Belfast, disagreed: “White Linen sounds too much like a washing powder. The Bobbin is nicer and has a cheeky sound to it.”
Cecil Bowman (65), a retired civil servant from Belfast, also preferred The Bobbin: “If it was my decision, however, I would call it Rendezvous or Scala, which is the name of my hat!”
Wendy Brown (19), a Queen’s student from Newcastle, thought White Linen didn’t offer anything new: “We already have the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, so I think The Blackstaff or The Foundry are different.”
Surprisingly, tourists to the city weren’t keen on any of the names.
The cafe will open its doors in October, so the countdown is on to give it a name. Have your say at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/coffeeshop.
Suggestions and their significance
The City Hall was built on the site of the former White Linen Hall. The White Linen Hall, backed by the linen warehouses in the linen quarter, had been the centre of the linen industry that helped Belfast become a world-beater throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The scale of this industry was truly global. Irish white linen became associated with fine dining, being used the world over for tablecloths and napkins.
The linen industry was the first in Belfast to become mechanised during our industrial revolution in the 1820s. The bobbin was an essential part of this industry, produced in their tens of thousands, and used in all looms. A bobbin is a spindle or cylinder, with or without flanges, on which yarn or thread is wound. Bobbins were also used on a larger scale in other industries like the Ropeworks, a Belfast world-beater.
Foundries were one of the earliest small scale industries in and around Belfast with a history going back to the 17th century. The backbone of the growing Belfast industries in the 19th and 20th centuries, they supplied all the larger industries with machinery and materials. World leading foundries such as Mackies and Musgraves supplied stable and house fittings to royal families across Europe.
Belfast had three rivers — the Farset and Lagan, as well as the lesser known Blackstaff. The Blackstaff was the lifeblood of the Corporation's Gasworks, at the bottom of the Ormeau Road, and it was the profits from the Gasworks that funded the building of the City Hall in the early 1900s along with many other Victorian and Edwardian developments in the city. The Gasworks were critical for the rapid development of Belfast.