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Modern history: 1800-1900

The Industrial Revolution and the expansion of the British Empire conspired to accelerate trade and growth in the 1800s. North-east Ireland was transformed as a result.

National Museums NI industrial collection contains a wide range of engineering and linen-related material from this period, charting Ulster’s growth from a largely agrarian to industrial society. Linen was the biggest sector, but others prospered too. The collection includes artefacts from the rope making, engineering, tobacco, tea, and soap industries. It illustrates the development of technology too, in the progression from steam and paraffin, to diesel and petrol fuels.

The 1800s made Belfast. It grew from about 20,000 people to almost 350,000 over the course of the century, as the new industries pumped wealth into the economy. It briefly eclipsed Dublin as Ireland’s largest city. This rapid expansion had social costs. Men and women poured in from the countryside seeking industrial work. Many lived in back-to-back terraced houses, and the poorest struggled to survive. The Great Famine of the 1840s made the gulf between rich and poor all too apparent. Trade and exports continued to boom, even as starvation took hold and thousands emigrated. Our collection holds famine tokens and cooking pots from this period.

Our Domestic Life collection holds a variety of items that offer a glimpse into everyday life in 1800s Ulster. Cradles, pine kitchen dressers, and spinning wheels were once valuable and much-loved items. Religious and cultural pieces embody the hopes and diversions of ordinary people living through extraordinary times.

BELUM.P59.1973

A CHART / OF THE SEA COASTS OF / IRELAND / FROM / DUBLIN / TO / LONDONDERRY
MAP; Sea chart

BELUM.P16.1986

A Map of the County of Tyrone divided into Baronies and Parishes
Map

BELUM.W2012.266

Aideen rescuing the body of Oscar
Poster

BELUM.W2012.262

All Round Coercion
Poster

BELUM.P14.1977

ARMAGH.
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.W2012.260

Away God Speed!
Poster

Placeholder - no image available for this record

BELUM.P463.1912

BELFAST
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.P658.1963

BELFAST
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.Y6918

Belfast Riots 1886
Photographic negative

BELUM.W2011.1426

Character of King William
Postcard

BELUM.P15.1977

COLERAINE. / FROM THE ORDNANCE SURVEY.
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.P39.1978

COUNTY OF THE CITY / OF / WATERFORD
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.P37.1978

DUNDALK. / FROM THE ORDNANCE SURVEY
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.P16.1977

DUNGANNON / FROM THE ORDNANCE SURVEY.
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.P38.1978

ENNISKILLEN / FROM THE ORDNANCE SURVEY
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.V2556

Gladstone
Chamber pot

BELUM.W2012.263

Help! Help!
Poster

BELUM.W2011.1295.72

Henry O'Neill
Postcard

BELUM.W2012.265

Her Own Patron
Poster

BELUM.P531.1939

I. SLATER'S, / (LATE) / PIGOT AND CO. / NEW MAP OF / IRELAND. / EMBRACING EVERY RECENT / ALTERATION
Map

BELUM.W2012.254

Ireland to Parnell
Poster

BELUM.W2012.255

Ireland to Parnell
Poster

BELUM.W2012.258

Ireland's National Order
Poster

BELUM.W2012.261

Ireland's Valentines
Poster

BELUM.P21.1978

IRLANDA
Map

BELUM.O44.1976

IUA junior Branch
Badge

BELUM.P17.1977

KINSALE
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.W2012.252

Left out in the Cold
Poster

BELUM.P19.1917

MAP / OF / THE COUNTY OF ANTRIM
Map

BELUM.W2012.251

Mocking Hunger
Poster

BELUM.W2011.1295.47

Mr Chamberlain
Postcard

BELUM.W2011.1295.48

Mr Chamberlain at Glasgow
Postcard

BELUM.W2011.1425

No Surrender
Postcard

BELUM.W2012.259

Orange Prudence and Self-Denial
Poster

BELUM.W2012.716

Oxdised Silver Shrine Casket to contain Illuminated Address to the Earl of Shaftesbury
Design

BELUM.P51.1974

PLANS OF THE PRINCIPAL TOWNS, FORTS AND HARBOURS IN IRELAND, FOR MR. TINDAL'S CONTINUATION OF MR. RAPIN'S

BELUM.W2012.21

Quis Separabit
Badge

BELUM.W2012.250

Realizing the Police Tax - When Mule met Mule
Poster

BELUM.W2011.1258

Sir Edward Carson, KC, MP
Postcard

BELUM.W2012.253

The Gale theat Ought to be Hanging
Poster

BELUM.P3.1976

THE GROUND PLAN OF BELFAST AND / THE DESIGNE FOR ERECTING A CITTADEL / UPON THE STRAND / pr. Tho. Phillips / Anno /

BELUM.W2012.151

The Loyal Orange Lily
Postcard

BELUM.W2012.264

The Orange Jack the Giant Killer
Poster

BELUM.O33.1976

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892
Bannerette

BELUM.O579.1922

Ulster Unionist Convention 1892 Bannerette
Bannerette

BELUM.O352.1929

Ulster Unionist Demonstration 1893
Badge

BELUM.W2012.22

Ulster Unionist Demostration
Badge

BELUM.X45546

Union is Strength
Badge

BELUM.O140.1913

Union is Strength
Badge

BELUM.X640.1935

Union is Strength 1892
Badge

BELUM.W2011.1261

Unionist Headquarters
Postcard

BELUM.O187.1979

United We Stand
Badge