Belfast Telegraph

Belfast shipyard’s legacy is kept afloat at museum

By Elaine Loughlin

Deep in the hull of a barge docked along the banks of the Lagan is an exciting new exhibition which explores Belfast’s industrial past.

The £1m floating cultural centre celebrates the men who laboured on some of the world’s most famous ships.

Visitors who step aboard the Lagan Legacy’s MV Confiance will discover the history of Belfast’s shipyard through interactive displays, personal accounts, photographs and memorabilia, as well as tools and important drawings from Harland and Wolff.

The museum was officially opened yesterday by former worker George McAllister, from north Belfast.

Mr McAllister (78), who began working at Belfast’s shipyard in 1948, said the exhibition was important as it preserved local history which could have easily been lost.

The barge was brought from the Netherlands four years ago. It has been restored and converted into a maritime museum and theatre space, with a restaurant due to open in April.

Derek Booker, chairman of the Lagan Legacy, was among the four crew members who sailed the barge to Belfast.

He said: “After six or seven years of work it has been a long, long haul to get to today, not just for me but for everyone involved. To see it actually open is great. I think it’s the first of its type in Britain.

“The stories are what stand out to me because many of those who worked at the shipyard are dead and once they are gone their stories are also lost, but now they will be here forever.”

It is hoped the museum will become a popular visitor attraction and resource for schools.

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