“Wee blue blossom” and a tale from the Shankill Road.

The Belfast Telegraph ran a feature by Neil Johnston on what was known as the “wee blue blossom”, Flax and it’s huge role in the changes in the North East corner of Ireland to announce the release of a book “The Making Of Ulster Linen: Historic Photographs Of An Ulster Industry”, by Peter Collins. Modern Belfast is shaped by the boom in the linen industry which was to a great extent only possible because of the collapse of the Lancashire cotton trade caused by the American Civil war.Mention is also made of the Ballad of William Bloat, a fine example of the wonderful black humour so typical of Northern Ireland.

Who can forget the famous closing couplet in that dastardly Shankill Road tale The Ballad Of William Bloat – “For the razor blade was German made/But the sheet was Belfast linen.”

The linen industry was also a major employer in Lurgan – and Johnston is certainly a name that would be associated with the production of linen!