ISBN 10: 1846316359 / ISBN 13: 9781846316357
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Rezension: For my money it would make a perfect Christmas present for the history buff in your life. -- Brian O'Neill 201211 To celebrate the occasion a new book has been published by Liverpool University Press. I was lucky to get an early copy and it really is a great read. The book is full colour with lots of beautiful photos of Belfast throughout the years. At nearly 400 pages there is some great reading in it. For my money it would make a perfect christmas present for the history buff in your life. The book can be bought from Amazon | Liverpool University Press and it should also be available from Easons, Waterstones etc. Below is some information on the book the publisher sent me: New urban history of Belfast published Belfast 400: People, Place and History will be published in November to mark the 400th anniversary of the granting of Belfast's City Charter. The most comprehensive history of Belfast will be published in November 2012 by Liverpool University Press, and officially launched at City Hall, Belfast on 24th January 2013. Supported by Queen's University Belfast and Belfast City Council, Belfast 400, People, Place and History tells the story of the city's unique urban history and has been published to mark the 400th anniversary of the granting of Belfast's City Charter in 1613. Beautifully produced and illustrated, Belfast 400 has been written by a team of experts on the city's history: historians, archaeologists, geographers and social scientists from Queen's University and NUI, Maynooth, led by Professor Sean Connolly from QUB's School of History and Anthropology. The project was awarded a grant of GBP60,000 by the Leverhulme Trust and has been three years in the writing. It explores the full range of developments in Belfast's urban history, from its emergence as a settlement, through its rise as an industrial town, through urban decay and renewal. The book looks at how Belfast, which began as a settlement at a waterlogged river mouth, developed into one of the world's great centres of shipbuilding and linen manufacture - and the effects of this industrialisation and its subsequent decline on its citizens. It asks how the city of Belfast can now redefine its identity, and the still often fraught relationships that exist between different sections of its population, to face the challenges of the twenty-first century. Editor of the book and Professor of Irish History at Queen's University Belfast Sean Connolly said: "This is one of those opportunities that comes along once or twice in a career. Over the past few years specialists in several fields have started to show us just how much there is to be discovered about Belfast past and present. I have been very lucky in being given the opportunity to pull the results of all that work together into an overview that should make anyone interested in Belfast look at the city in a new light." The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Gavin Robinson, commented: "There have been many books written about our city's rich history, but this is undoubtedly the most ambitious, and also the most timely, coinciding as it does with the 400th anniversary of the granting of the original charter. It will be a worthy addition to the canon of literature on our city, and no doubt will be essential reading for everyone with an interest in the story of what has made the Belfast we know today." Alison Welsby, Editorial Director of Liverpool University Press said: "Liverpool University Press is very proud to be publishing this landmark publication. Professor Connolly is one of the leading historians on Belfast. He and his team of contributors have crafted a compelling study of a city whose rich urban history has often been overshadowed." Belfast 400 is available in both hardback (R.R.P. GBP35.00) and paperback (R.R.P. GBP14.95) and also as a special limited edition slip-cased volume priced at GBP100.00. Notes Belfast 400 is published by Liverpool University Press and is available from www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk, Amazon, and all good bookshops across Belfast and Northern Ireland. Paperback, GBP14.95, ISBN: 9781846316357; Hardback GBP35.00, ISBN: 9781846316340, Limited edition hardback*, GBP100.00, ISBN: 9781846316364 *Limited edition only available directly from Liverpool University Press. For media and sales enquiries and review copy requests, contact Jenny Howard, Sales and Marketing Manager on +44 (0)151 794 2234 or jennifer.howard@liverpool.ac.uk -- Brian O'Neill 201211 BELFAST: Four hundred years after the Belfast charter, the city is still showing its remarkable ability to transform itself Belfast 400: People, Place and History, Edited by SJ Connolly, Liverpool University Press, 392pp, GBP35 hardback, GBP14.95 paperback Modelled on the very successful Liverpool 800, this book is designed to mark this year's 400th anniversary of Belfast's charter. In format and content it is high-brow-meets-coffee-table and the illustrations and maps are quite stunning. In many ways the character of the two cities is quite similar, and given that I am Belfast born and bred, but live and work in Liverpool, I can be honest. We share a strange sense of humour, directness and a belief that the rest of the world is against us. We have not yet invented a word similar to "Scouse" to identify these Belfastian traits. They are there, more often than not, however, defying the sectarian stereotypes. Belfast 400 takes us from prehistory to the present, and there are masterly historical overviews by Sean Connolly and Gillian McIntosh. Yet, from the outset, we might well wonder how Belfast ever came about in the first place, for it is largely built on reclaimed slobland, perennially in danger of subsidence and flooding. Nor does it appear to have much history before its foundation charter in 1613, or as one local poet put it in the 1940s: "This jewel that houses our hopes and our fears / Was knocked up from the swamp in the past hundred years." Was this claim to newness, to being a town with no apparent link to a Gaelic, let alone a prehistoric, past only a Protestant foundation myth, asks the editor. Certainly it is suggested that a case of later unionist "wilful amnesia" was occurring in relation to the peoples who had gone before. Yet, despite valiant efforts, the early chapters of Belfast 400 struggle to present any concrete prehistory of the 17th-century town. And as there is no single book on Belfast archaeology and there have been only insignificant modern excavations, maybe the myth of Belfast as the Protestant-created capital of Ulster may not be so far-fetched. Belfast was very much the creation of the Chichester (Donegall) family, their names still reflected in its streetscape. Like counties Antrim and Down, which it straddles, it was not part of the Ulster Plantation, but was granted to Sir Arthur Chichester in 1603 as "a speculative venture" to restore his shattered finances. Thus its very foundation was a business venture. And so the foundation charter of 1613, reproduced in the book, has none of the "fripperies" of colour and illuminations of other such charters. Yet the image of Belfast as a Protestant town has always required modification. Presbyterians disliked the Anglican monopoly of civic politics, their 18th-century challenge eventually producing the Society of United Irishmen, established in Belfast in 1791. It was a time when Belfast became known as the Athens of the North, Ireland's capital of politeness, sociability, classical taste and enlightened thinking. It was then that Catholics began to arrive in significant numbers, their tendency to congregate in the west a reflection of where they first arrived rather than the sectarian corralling that it sometimes seems. Certainly Belfast would progressively become the polarised city of repute, but there are enough examples also in this book of shared experiences and a Protestant working class which was only intermittently the privileged group of legend. It was in the 19th century that Belfast became the industrial capital of Ireland, a success that redefined the city's architecture. Here Stephen A Royle expands on his earlier volume (with Frederick W Boal), Enduring City: Belfast in the Twentieth Century (2006), with a splendid analysis of 19th-century developments. True to form, Belfast reinvented itself. The old centre was demolished and today's rather formidable and austere buildings erected. Royal Avenue replaced working-class Hercules Street, where butcher women had once rescued Henry Joy McCracken from the military. Stylish, upmarket department stores arrived to serve the growing wealth. Huge linen and cotton mills, "aerated water" and tobacco factories were built just north and west of the centre and there was plenty of work for Belfast women, who made up as much as 43.7 per cent of the workforce by 1905. Then there was the shipyard, employing 14,000 people by 1914. Yet despite the importance to Belfast's economy of the new industries, the authors of Belfast 400 suggest that the new industrialists showed less commitment to the city than the older families (including the Donegalls, rather benign rulers) who had arrived in the 17th and 18th centuries and become Belfast people. A French visitor in the 1880s commented waspishly about Belfast's lack of artistic soul: "The second town in Ireland is commercial, Protestant and wealthy, that is to say profoundly uninteresting." Black humour There is not too much to criticise in Belfast 400, yet, although it is a very impressive work, it could be said to lack a certain empathy for its subject. This might have been remedied by an essay from a member of Belfast's significant literary and artistic community, or even from a scholar who has some kind of affinity with and affection for the place. The one essay that stands out as achieving this is by Sean O'Connell on the 20th century before the Troubles. Here ordinary people are given a voice and what he brings out very well is "Belfast's resilience" and its people's pride of place. Ordinary people are given space in separate vignettes, reproducing their testimonies. Their oral histories do not linger on sectarianism, an undoubted feature of Belfast identity, but on the many shared e...

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