Choosing Images for Panel One

Panel One 1850-1914

Women’s Suffrage Movement

The leaders of the suffragists were middle class women and some had connections with leading political figures. Although our tapestry is focused on telling the history of working class women from the port and docks, the suffrage movement greatly affected women from all social backgrounds and many women from working class areas were involved in the cause.

 

Women were excluded from being involved in national politics in the nineteenth century. They did not have the right to vote or to stand as Parliamentary candidates. Many people were of the opinion that a woman’s husband would make the political decisions and there was no need for his wife to have her own vote. Women’s role was domestic. They were expected to care for their home and family and the political views that they held were not considered valuable. During the industrial revolution there was a great demand for labour and many women were in full-time employment. This provided women with opportunities to meet in large groups to talk about social and political issues together. Organised campaigns for women’s suffrage were first formed in 1866 and from 1888 women were permitted to vote in many local council elections. In 1867, during a debate for parliamentary reform, John Stuart Mill put forward an amendment that would allow women to vote on the same terms as men however, his amendment was rejected by 194 votes to 73. As a result of this, campaigners became more driven and determined.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the main focus of the movement was to get the vote for women. The movement to get the vote for women had two strands, the suffragists and the suffragettes. The suffragists were formed in the mid 1800’s, while the suffragettes were established in 1903. In 1897, Millicent Fawcett led the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), which was made up of many local women’s suffrage societies. The NUWUSS campaigned for the right for middle-class property-owning women to vote. They carried out their campaign using peaceful tactics- petitions, lobbying MPs and holding non-violent demonstrations. It was important to Fawcett, that the NUWUSS was seen as being intelligent, law-abiding and polite and that this would demonstrate how responsible women would be when participating fully in politics.

Although the leaders of the campaign were middle class, many suffragists realised that they needed the support of working class women. It was very important that women from different social backgrounds came together.

Many members of Parliament were in support of the suffragists by 1900. In Parliament, several Bills which backed women’s suffrage were approved of by many, but there still was not enough support to pass them.

The Suffragettes

The suffragettes developed from the suffragist movement. Emmeline Pankhurst, who belonged to the Manchester suffragist group, disillusioned with the gradualist, middle class approaches of the NUWSS and she broke away from them in 1903 and founded a new society. This society became known as the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Pankhurst had a fresh approach to the cause and believed that it was necessary to   develop an active organisation involving young working class women. From 1912, the suffragettes became more aggressive and militant in their approach. The suffragette motto was ‘deeds not words’. Some members of the suffragette society went on hunger strike and used violent and illegal campaign strategies.

The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was divided into two groups in 1907 because Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel had a disagreement with other members of the WSPU’s executive body. The members who left the WSPU, set up the Women’s Freedom League while the Pankhursts and their supporters gained more control over the workings of the WSPU. Although the three groups were not in agreement over approaches, their message was consistent and they often worked together. At this time women’s suffrage was gaining support and by 1907 there were branches of the WSPU all over the country and the organisation published a newspaper called Votes for Women which sold 20,000 copies every week. The NUWSS also gained a growing membership and was also a nation-wide organisation.

The harsh treatment towards many suffragettes who were arrested and jailed as a result of protesting, secured the sympathy of many members of the public. They also gained approval because they suspended their protests or the sake of national unity during World War One.[1]

Myrtle Hill’s Talk- ‘Women in the North of Ireland, World War One and Two’

Historian Myrtle Hill came to Arts for All to give a talk about the Women of Northern Ireland during World War One and Two.

World War One

Myrtle began by telling us about the Suffragette movement. During the time of militancy, the development of trade unions and the fight for Irish Independence, many women became suffragettes- some of them destroyed buildings and went on hunger strike as part of their struggle for equal rights. When war broke out, they called a truce with the government. Most of them supported the war effort though some of them joined the pacifist movement.

[1] Information from http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/higher/history/britstuff/suffrage/revision/4/

During World War One, people expected a civil war in Ireland and trained in preparation for it. The Women’s Unionist Movement opposed Home Rule and supported Britain’s involvement in the war, while on the other hand Cumann na mBan- a group of Nationalist women, who assisted in the Irish Rising, generally did not approve of Irish men fighting for Britain.

Patriotism was encouraged and nurtured during the war and women often featured in propaganda posters. Some ex-suffragettes sent white feathers to young men who were not fighting. Everybody was expected to contribute to the war effort. One duty for women was to gather and dry sphagnum moss and make bandages to send to the front. Sphagnum moss was an antiseptic and helped to heal many wounded soldiers.  World War One provided great industrial activity in Ulster because industries adapted for war production. The linen factories manufactured uniforms and parachutes. Women were employed by Mackie’s to produce munitions. Women nurses worked at home and in field hospitals.

Lady Londonderry set up the Women’s Legion which trained women to do jobs normally done by men: women worked in canteens, as drivers for transport companies, agriculture and food production, munitions and uniform production, brickmaking, engineering and other occupations. Men were anxious that they wouldn’t have jobs when they returned. Some women were in armed forces auxiliaries; by 1918 women were working as drivers and mechanics in the Women’s Auxiliary Royal Air Force.The war united women at work.

The Somme is very important as part of remembrance in Northern Ireland because there was a huge number of deaths from the Ulster Division there. This, of course, had a huge impact on people at home.

The image of the woman carrying a sack will be in the 1915-1950 panel. Arts for All commissioned a mural which is in Tigers Bay. We went to see it while it was being painted and it features the woman carrying the sack of coal.

women working in a munitions factory

women working in a munitions factory

The drawing and embroidery above represent women during World War One who had to bring up their families on their own when the men were fighting ant the front.

drawing of a female ambulance driver

drawing of a female ambulance driver

Women’s War Work– A female ambulance driver. This drawing was based on a real photograph of an ambulance driver during the First World War, however it was decided that it would not be included in the tapestry design as a depiction of a woman putting on lipstick does not do justice to the very important and often physically demanding jobs that women did during this time.

Northern Irish Women in Nationalist and Unionist Politics

The narrative of The Port and Docks tapestry will focus largely on women’s history. Two important female political figures who had connections with the port and docks area of Belfast will be commemorated- Winifred Carney in panel one and Margaret McCoubrey in panel two. There will also be a visual reference to women’s political involvement in unionism and nationalism. The period which we are representing, 1850-1950, saw huge changes for the island of Ireland and it is difficult to depict historical events in a balanced way. However it is important that certain events and figures are represented as they greatly affected Belfast and the lives of the women from the port and docks.

When discussing the themes for the tapestry, the group agreed that the signing of the Women’s Covenant should be represented in panel one. It was felt that the Women’s Covenant needed to be included because it was a very important step in Unionist Women’s history. However, there also needs to be a reference to the Nationalist Women’s movement- so that the tapestry conveys a balanced view of history. We aIso wanted to include leading female political figures who are associated with the port and docks. We had to keep in mind that most of the women involved in political organisations would have come from middle class backgrounds. The Port and Docks Tapestry is focusing on telling the story of working class women’s lives (who lived and worked in the port and docks area of Belfast). However, the women from this area would have been affected by the changes made by female political figures and that is why we want to commemorate them.

 

The group discussed how we could represent the nationalist side and we agreed that stitched Celtic motifs would be a good idea. The Celtic ornamentation in the design is a reference to the Gaelic Revival. While reading Diane Urquhart’s chapter ‘Women in Nationalist Politics’, I came across Alice Milligan and Alice Johnson both from the Antrim Road in Belfast. They were the two most prominent female nationalists in Ulster. Milligan and Johnson published the journal Shan Van Vocht. It was first published in 1896 and was the first publication in Ireland to express advanced nationalist views. Shan Van Vocht renewed an interest in the campaign for an independent Ireland.

With this information in mind, I looked for imagery associated with the Gaelic Revival and the Cuala Press (run by the Yeats sisters). I also found images of Alice Milligan and Anna Johnston and the Shan Van Vocht. The group decided to include Celtic ornamentation, in the tapestry design, because these motifs were used during the Gaelic Revival in publications, posters and on costumes in Irish Mythology plays. We plan to somehow incorporate the X’s and the Celtic ornamentation together.

The group had several ideas about which of the prominent women they should include in the tapestry.  It was challenging to decide whose contribution was most relevant to the docks area as many Belfast women made vital contributions in political and feminist movements. The question was asked- should we not depict anybody as we will have to leave others out?- However, two female figures were chosen (after much discussion)- one for each panel. For panel one, which covers the period 1850-1914, Winifred Carney will be illustrated. For panel two, 1915-1950, Margaret McCoubrey will be included in the design. Isabella Tod was also considered for panel one.

 

Winifred Carney

Winifred Carney

Winifred Carney

The first panel covers the period from 1850 to 1914. Winifred Carney will be depicted in panel one. Winifred Carney was a feminist, socialist and republican. She was born in 1887 in Larne and moved to Belfast at a young age. Carney attended the Christian Brothers School on Donegal Street and also taught there as a junior teacher. Carney was among the first women in Belfast to qualify as a secretary. She was involved in the suffrage movement and the Gaelic League.

She was secretary of the Textile Workers Union when she wrote a statement saying-

‘’Many Belfast mills are slaughterhouses for the women and penitentiaries for the children. But while the world is deploring your conditions, they also unite in deploring your slavish and servile nature in submitting to them: they unite in wondering what material these Belfast women are made, who refuse to unite together and fight to better their conditions’’

In 1912, Carney met the socialist leader James Connolly when he was involved with trade union activity in Belfast. She became Connolly’s friend and secretary and joined the then newly founded Irish Citizens Army and taught first aid in Cumann na mBan (The League of Women) and was skilled at rifle practice. Carney fought with Connolly in the 1916 Easter Rising. In 1917 she was the Belfast delegate to the Cumann na mBan convention and in 1918 she stood as a Sinn Fein candidate in Belfast but was unsuccessful in the public polls. Carney stayed in Belfast and worked with the Transport and General Workers Union and was also involved with the Northern Ireland Labour Party.

In 1928, she married an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) veteran and Orangeman George McBride. Carney joined the Belfast Socialist Party in the 1930’s. In accounts of the Easter Rising, Winifred Carney is remembered as ‘the typist with a Webley’. She died in 1943 and is buried in Milltown Cemetary.[1]

[1] Information from www.culturenorthernireland.org/article/637/winifred-carney and www.newulsterbiography.co.uk/index.php/home/viewPerson/225

Isabella Tod

Isabella Tod

Isabella Tod

Isabella Tod is considered as one of Ireland’s most important feminists of the nineteenth century. She was born in Edinburgh in 1836 and moved to Belfast in the 1860’s. She was very proud of her Scottish ancestry and often talked about one of her ancestors who signed a copy of the Solemn League and Covenant at Hollywood, Co. Down in 1646. Tod wrote leaders for the Northern Whig and was also a contributor to the Banner of Ulster and the Dublin University Magazine. In 1868, Tod was the only woman called upon to give evidence to a select committee inquiry on the reform of the married women’s property law. From 1873 to 1874, Tod served on the executive of the Married Women’s Property Committee in London.

Under the terms of the Contagious Diseases Act of 1864, 1866 and 1869 any woman who was suspected of being a prostitute could be arrested and forced to undergo medical examination for venereal disease. Tod successfully campaigned for this act to be repealed because she saw it as a violation of women’s civil liberties. Tod was an advocate of temperance and in 1874 she founded the Belfast Women’s Temperance Association along with Margaret Byers.

She also campaigned for the right for girls to access secondary and tertiary education. Because of Tod’s campaign several schools and institutions were established- The Ladies’ Collegiate School Belfast (1859), the Queen’s Institute Dublin (1861), Alexandra College Dublin (1866) and the Belfast Ladies’ Institute (1867). In 1874, she published On the Education of Girls of the Middle Classes in which she recommended practical education to qualify middle class women to earn a living. Tod put pressure on the government to include girls within the terms of the 1878 Intermediate Education Act.

She organised the first suffrage society in Ireland in 1871- the North of Ireland’s Suffrage Committee-the North of Ireland Women’s Suffrage Committee. Her speeches were extensively documented in suffrage journals and newspapers across Ireland and England. She was involved with the first Irish campaign to secure the vote for women and spoke at meetings in Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Carrickfergus and Coleraine. Tod gave a talk at a meeting in Dublin which resulted in the founding of a suffrage committee (which later became the Dublin Women’s Suffrage Society). In 1887, as a result of Tod’s campaign, women in Belfast were granted the municipal franchise. It would take another 11 years before women in other Irish towns would receive the same privilege. Tod addressed meetings in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow and went to London every year during the parliamentary session to lobby politicians.

Tod was opposed to Home Rule and argued that ‘’Home Rule would destroy Ireland’s Economic base, not only would there be a withdrawal of capital…many skilled artisans would come over to England which would not tend to raise wages’’. In 1888, Tod was the only female member of the executive committee of the Ulster Women’s Liberal Unionist Association.

Tod died in 1896 at her home on Botanic Avenue in Belfast. [1]

[1] Information from a piece by Kate Newmann from http://www.newulsterbiography.co.uk/index.php/home/viewPerson/1640

A drawing representing education rights for girls- -this drawing shows female pupils at Nelson Street National School in Sailortown (circa 1910).

A drawing representing education rights for girls- -this drawing shows female pupils at Nelson Street National School in Sailortown (circa 1910).

The Famine in Belfast

The first panel that we are working on this year covers the period from 1850-1914. The famine ended in around 1850. People would have emigrated from Belfast during this time and we have depicted a ship from the Belfast Telegraph from 1850 to commemorate them. The image of the Indian corn is also a reference to the famine as it was given as relief to famine victims.

embroidered famine ship

embroidered famine ship

embroidered indian corn

Many people assume that the famine did not badly affect the northeast part of Ireland. Even some historians take on this view based on the fact that the northeast was the most industrially advanced area largely founded on the textile industry and ship building. Because of these industries, it is believed by some that the eastern part of Ulster and Belfast city especially, did not suffer from the Great Hunger. However, the situation in Belfast after 1845 shows that no area in Ireland was unaffected. The great famine began in 1845 as a result of the failure of the potato crop and lasted approximately six years. To add to the misfortune, it was also a bad period economically as there was a credit crisis across Europe and an industrial downturn which affected the British markets. Many industrial workers lost their jobs or had their working hours cut. Therefore, many people were earning little or no money during a period when the price of food was rising. By late 1846, the workhouse was full of inmates from Belfast and the surrounding areas.

Even some poor people from England and Scotland depended on the Belfast Workhouse. The Irish Poor Law stated that the poor had to be given relief in workhouses (this was not the case in England or Scotland). The Belfast Workhouse received poor people from other parts of Britain who otherwise would have been refused relief, as well as natives of Belfast and people from surrounding rural areas. The workhouse was the main provider of famine relief and its resources were stretched because of the demand for aid. It had been built to house a maximum of 1,000 people but by November 1846 it had 1,103 inhabitants. The piggery, straw houses and stable had to be converted into wards to accommodate 600 more people. By January 1846, there were over 1,500 inmates and diarrhoea, dysentery and typhus fever spread across the institution and the 18 beds in the fever hospital had to be shared by two patients each.[1]

In order to lessen the demands on the workhouse, the guardians persuaded the management of the Belfast General Hospital to treat patients suffering from dysentery and smallpox. The workhouse infirmary could then focus solely on treating patients who had fever.[2] However, there was a high number of fever cases (253 on 23rd March 1847) that the guardians had to ask for more help from Belfast General Hospital.

[1] See Cecil Woodham-Smith, The Great Hunger, (London, 1965), pp.195-96

[2] Begley and Lally, ‘The Famine in County Donegal’,pp.81-83; James Grant, ‘The Great Famine in County Tyrone’, in Tyrone: History and Society, ed. Charles Dillon and Henry Jefferies (Dublin, 2000),pp. 607-10

women in belfast workhouse

Hundreds of people in Belfast also depended on the soup kitchens. In December 1846, two soup kitchens under the auspices of the council were distributing an average of 1,500 quarts of soup and 22cwt of bread to 1,200 families every week.[1] During a meeting in February 1847, the Belfast General Dispensary was informed that ‘at no period in our memory has such an amount of destitution prevailed in the town.’[2] By the end of February, two soup kitchens in Belfast were distributing 20,000 quarts of soup and 42cwt of bread a week.[3] Thousands of people travelled to Belfast from surrounding rural areas to access the relief provided by the soup kitchens.

[1] Trevor McCavery, ‘The Famine in County Down’, in The Famine in Ulster, ed. Christine Kinealy and Trevor Parkhill (Belfast, 1997), pp.98-99

[2] Ibid. pp.104-7

[3] Bourke, ‘The extent of the potato crop’, especially tables 3 and 4, pp.8-9; Margaret Crawford, ‘Food and Famine:Diet in County Londonderry, 1820-1860’, in Derry and Londonderry: History and Society, ed. Gerard O’Brien (Dublin 1999), pp.518-36.

Etching of an Irish soup kitchen

Etching of an Irish soup kitchen

An Emigrant Ship leaving Belfast Quay by James Glen Wilson 1852

An Emigrant Ship leaving Belfast Quay by James Glen Wilson 1852

Post Famine Belfast

The famine ended c.1850. In 1851, the population of Belfast was 97,784. Like other big Irish towns, the population grew because people moved from agricultural areas. However, the population in other parts of Ireland declined after 1851, but Belfast’s population grew rapidly. From the 1850’s Belfast’s industrial base was quickly growing. After 1851, as the population and industries declined in other parts of Ireland, Belfast was prospering and by 1886, Belfast was the third largest port in the United Kingdom (in terms of customs and revenue collection).[1] However, despite the town’s industrial and economic success, the poor of Belfast received little help in the years following the famine.

(information from Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, ed. John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Mike Murray, Cork University Press, 2012)

[1] Gallogly, ‘The Famine in County Cavan’, p72

Emigration and Immigration to and from the Port and Docks

We want to commemorate the people who migrated to and from Belfast through the docks. We have directly referenced the Italian and Jewish immigrants because there are still Italian and Jewish communities in Belfast. We did not include illustrations symbolising other immigrant cultures because we were afraid of leaving people out- so to symbolise the migration of all people to and from Belfast, we decided to use a migrating bird as an emblem. The drawing above is of a Dunlin- a bird that spends part of the year in Ireland and then migrates.

The motif of the ship is based on an illustration from a piece about emigration in the Belfast Telegraph from January 1850. The star-shaped drawings are of the ‘Offaly Famine Stitch’ a popular stitch used by women in post-famine Ireland. The Indian corn was sent to victims in the form of famine relief and would have come through docks in Ireland.

The tapestry group talked about representing immigrant groups who came to Belfast and wanted to acknowledge the contributions they made to the city. There are many migrant communities that settled in Belfast and we could not include all of them in the panel. After much discussion we agreed that we would commemorate the Jewish and Italian communities as they would have arrived during the period of history we are researching (1850-1950) and also because many descendants of the Jewish and Italian immigrants are still living in Belfast.

 The Jewish Community in Belfast

The Jaffe Memorial Fountain

The Jaffe Memorial Fountain

In order to represent the Jewish community the group decided to depict the Jaffe Fountain (in Victoria Square). It was first constructed in 1874 to commemorate Daniel Joseph Jaffe­- a leading linen merchant in Belfast. It was commissioned by his sons, one of whom was Sir Otto Jaffe (who later became Lord Mayor of Belfast).

Jewish migrants arrived in Northern Ireland over one hundred years ago and the community were influential in pre-war history of the province. There are approximately 500 Jews living in Northern Ireland at present and the North Belfast Synagogue has 30 members. The Jewish community was one of Northern Ireland’s first minority groups and they played an important part in the history of Belfast.

Otto Jaffe moved to Belfast from Hamburg in 1877 and was an important business man in the city. In 1899 he became the first  Lord Mayor of Belfast after being a city councillor for several years. Jaffe received a knighthood a year after his term as mayor. Jaffe was also Life-President of the congregation of Belfast and oversaw the growth of the community.

Another influential person from the Jewish Community is Gustav Wilhelm Wolff. His family had converted from Judaism and so Wolff grew up in the Protestant faith. He and Edward James Harland established Harland and Wolf in 1861, which was among the world’s largest ship building companies. The most famous ship to be built by the company was the RMS Titanic.

There is no record of Jewish migrants settling in Northern Ireland, in large numbers, before the 1800’s. There was one Jewish man recorded as living in Belfast in 1652. He was a tailor named Manuel Lightfoot.

Otto Jaffe’s father Daniel, who was a merchant from Hamburg, visited Belfast in 1845 in order to make contacts with people in the linen trade. Following that visit, he later founded a linen factory called Jaffe Brothers and within the following ten years there were another two Jewish linen houses in the city called Moore & Weinberg and George Betzold & Company.

The memorial fountain to Daniel Jaffe is outside the Victoria Square shopping centre and there is another one in the city cemetery on the Falls Road.

In 1869 there were 21 Jews living in Belfast and in 1870 Daniel Jaffe paid for a synagogue to be built in Great Victoria Street. The founder members of the synagogue were Mr Jaffe, Mr Betzhold, Mr Weinberg, Mr Lippman, Mr Boas and Mr Portheihis.

In 1907, a Jewish primary school was opened in Cliftonville Road in North Belfast. During World War Two a children’s hostel was started and communities in North Belfast came together to help children who were separated from their families. In Millisle in Co. Down a Jewish settlement called a Kinderfarm was formed as part of the Kindertransport programme set up during the second world war. The purpose of the Kinderfarm was to re-house women and children who had become refugees during of the war. It remained in use until 1948 and saved the lives of hundreds of children.

Another influential member of the Jewish community was Barney Hurwitz, who was President of the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. He was selected as a Justice of the Peace and received an OBE. Jackie Morris, from Clifton Drive in North Belfast, was the Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand. Harold Goldbatt was a founder of the Ulster Group Theatre. Writers Ray and Judith Rosenfield were contributors to the Belfast Newsletter and the Northern Whig.[1]

[1] Information abouth the Jewish Community in Belfast from an article by Catherine Lynagh (http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/article/1388/the-jewish-community-in-northern-ireland

The Italian Community in Belfast

drawing of a mosaic

drawing of a mosaic

This is the motif that will be embroidered in the 1850-1914 panel to represent the Italian community and their contribution to Belfast. The mosaic is on the floor inside the Harbour Commissioner’s Office which is a listed building that was built in 1850.

The first Italian immigrants to arrive in Northern Ireland came in the 19th century. The majority came from Southern Italy and Cassalattico. There are now over 1,600 people of Italian descent living in Northern Ireland. By the end of the 19th century, Belfast had a ‘little Italy’ and the Italian population grew and spread to York Street. They are famous for introducing popular food from their homeland-especially pizza, ice cream and opening fish and chip shops.

The stitching group discussed how we would represent the Italian community and we chose an image of a mosaic and a set of tools to commemorate the skills that Italian craftspeople introduced to Northern Ireland, including mosaic, marble and stone work. Many of Belfast’s buildings were adorned with intricate terrazzo patterns on the walls and floors, by highly skilled Italian craftsmen. Mosaic was used to decorate several Catholic Churches, in the city, which were built in the late 1800’s. A beautiful example of terrazzo work can be seen in Clonard church in West Belfast and in the Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne.

The Crown Bar in Belfast, which was built in 1826 and is under the protection of the National Trust, was also ornamented with mosaic by Italian crafters. In the early 20th century, these workmen were initially brought to Belfast to be employed in shipbuilding at the Harland and Wolf shipyard.

By the mid-19th century, the largest number of Italian immigrants in Belfast were living on Little Patrick Street and there were also many Italians living on nearby Nelson Street who worked as street musicians.

Probably the most well-known Italian name in Northern Ireland is Morrelli. The Morrelli’s are famous for their ice cream shops. Angelo Morrelli created an empire of shops and cafes in Northern Ireland, the oldest were opened in 1911.

After the Second World War, the city underwent redevelopment and many Italian families were moved to other parts of the city and today much of ‘Little Italy’ is no longer there.[1]

[1] Information on the Italian Community in Belfast from- http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/immig-emig/northern-ireland/ni_41

One Friday morning as we met to work on the tapestry, a man came into Arts for All, to ask Heather about the Italian community inYork Road. He was from Italy and was visiting Belfast to do some research. He was trying to find where an Italian chip shop and ice cream parlour was in the 1970’s and it turned out that it was a few doors down from Arts for All. He explained that he was writing a piece about a sectarian murder that had happened forty one years ago. Alfredo Fusco, a fifty three year old man who ran an Italian chip shop and ice cream parlour was shot dead on the 3rd of February 1973. Mr Fusco had run the chip shop since the late 1940’s and his family had been living above the café. Three months before the murder, the family moved from the apartment above the shop because they had felt threatened when windows in the café were smashed.

Two gunmen entered the café and Mr Fusco tried to hide behind a door in the storage room. One of the men shot through the door and hit Mr Fusco twice in the head and once in the body. According to the man who visited Arts for All, there was also a second fatality. A customer in the shop, who had witnessed the shooting, died of a stroke.

The man who was researching the story, took photographs of the street where the chip shop was and he said that he will keep in touch with Arts for All and let us know when he has completed his research. Heather showed him the tapestry and he seemed really pleased that we were acknowledging the positive impact of the Italian community in Belfast.[1]

[1] Information on the Fusco Shooting from- www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11994217 and www.u.tv/News/Fusco-killer-shot-through-door-barricade/ede90b25-2e08-4af0-9ba2-b076cfb2ccf7

Ireland Before Partition

In order to illustrate what people did for fun, the group chose to include an image of people on the Lagan Boat Trip. People from the port and docks area would have gone on trips by boat at weekends and in their spare time. The drawing is based on a photograph taken between 1910 and 1920.

The tea chest represents the importation of goods through the docks

The tea chest represents the importation of goods through the docks

The compass is based on an image from a map of the port and docks of Belfast and will be at the centre of both panels and the anchor refers to the port and docks and will be in the border of the 1850-1914 panel. It will echo the first panel in the project, which also has an anchor motif in the border.

 The images of the flax plant and the yarn are in reference to the linen industry in Belfast

embroidery of the spool of yarn

embroidery of the spool of yarn

flax plant

flax plant

White Linen Hall was built in 1785 and was designed by the architect Roger Mulholland. It was demolished in 1896 and replaced by City Hall.

White Linen Hall was built in 1785 and was designed by the architect Roger Mulholland. It was demolished in 1896 and replaced by City Hall.

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