Records of the Belfast Ropeworks Company Ltd, 1834-1983. Incorporated in 1876 in response to the enormous expansion of the shipbuilding industry in Belfast, the Belfast Ropeworks Company was an important industrial success for the city of Belfast, becoming at one point, the world’s largest manufacturer of rope and twine during the early 20th century. The history of this famous Belfast firm is well documented in the surviving archive which contains long runs of certain types of records. It includes: a complete run of Directors' Minute Books dating back to 1876 which document the economic fortunes of the business for almost a century, providing details concerning every outside factor which influenced the fortunes of the firm such as the 1st World War when there were attempts 'by cross-channel spinners to commandeer some of our stores of raw material at present in Great Britain'; a run of Annual Reports and Statements of Accounts of the Directors of the Ropeworks (latterly the Directors of the McCleery L'Amie Group Ltd and Lamont Holdings Ltd), 1927-1983. Other interesting aspects of the collection include a wide range of photographs, 1889-c.1960, many of which illustrate various work scenes and processes such as: preparing, scouring and hackling in the hard fibre departments; balling, netting, spinning and sisal carpetmaking in the Ropewalk; winding, testing, weighing etc. of ropes and twines; deliveries by drayhorse, c.1900. There are also promotional and display photographs, and views taken of staff groups, special occasions and royal visits. Maps and plans in the archive include a bundle of marked up Ordnance Survey sheets showing reclamation of Connswater, 1877-82, and a number of plans of Pottinger and Connswater mills, 1898-1961. In relation to the bombing of the Ropeworks in May 1941, as well as photographs of damaged sections of the factory, there are volumes containing inventories of goods and machinery damaged by enemy action at the Pottinger, Connswater and Bloomfield mills and details of machines bought to replace them.
Details are given of the history and development of the largest manufacturer of rope and twine in the world at the turn of the twentieth century, at an important time when Belfast was the largest growing city in the British Isles.
c.2,000 items, 1834-1983, comprising a range of documents, files, volumes, photographs, printed booklets and maps and plans and occupying 35 PRONI boxes.
See PRONI Calendar Reference D/2889 for details. Catalogues are available in the PRONI Public Search Room.
The collection has been deposited in the Public Record Office as an indefinite loan and has been transferred in three consignments. In 1973, some material was received from Belfast Ropeworks Company but the greater part of the archive was transferred in 1984 and 1992 by Lamont Holdings PLC, Belfast.