No more porridge in Papertown

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The origin of this book was a project undertaken in 1984 by a senior class in Fairview Primary School on the history of paper making in Ballyclare. Not a lot was known then about the industry by most people in the town. However, driven by the pupils’ natural curiosity and persistence in asking questions about the topic from former workers in the mill, older relatives and friends and neighbours, a surprising amount of information in the form of memories, documents and photographs of the paper mill was uncovered. These form the basis of what appears in the following pages.

Facts and statistics relating to the production of paper products at the mill can astound modern readers. Consider the vast quantities of water drawn from the Six Mile Water in a year, or the tonnage of coal and wood cellulose delivered to the mill by the narrow-gauge railway towards the end of the nineteenth century. In the modern economic climate, where so many products are imported into Britain from Asia, it is surprising to learn that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries large quantities of paper manufactured in Ballyclare were regularly exported to East Asia, China and South America. Dare one ask how many people from the town nowadays would be aware of the connection between paper made in Ballyclare and the establishment in Dublin in the 1920s of the Gaelic Athletic Association? All will be revealed here.

In the 1980s paper from the mill was still to be found in the most unusual places in Ballyclare and in use for curious functions. Rolls of paper turned up in the recesses of cupboards and drawers. Apparently, sheets of paper had been ‘diverted’ from the mill’s supplies to serve as what was known locally as a ‘Ballyclare Tablecloth’. A section of a ‘couch roll’ salvaged from a process in the mill was found still in use in 1984 as protection for the surface of a drawing room table.

This is the latest local history book authored by Jack McKinney. As with his previous books, he delivers a carefully constructed history with deftness and subtlety.

Description

The origin of this book was a project undertaken in 1984 by a senior class in Fairview Primary School on the history of paper making in Ballyclare. Not a lot was known then about the industry by most people in the town. However, driven by the pupils’ natural curiosity and persistence in asking questions about the topic from former workers in the mill, older relatives and friends and neighbours, a surprising amount of information in the form of memories, documents and photographs of the paper mill was uncovered. These form the basis of what appears in the following pages.

Facts and statistics relating to the production of paper products at the mill can astound modern readers. Consider the vast quantities of water drawn from the Six Mile Water in a year, or the tonnage of coal and wood cellulose delivered to the mill by the narrow-gauge railway towards the end of the nineteenth century. In the modern economic climate, where so many products are imported into Britain from Asia, it is surprising to learn that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries large quantities of paper manufactured in Ballyclare were regularly exported to East Asia, China and South America. Dare one ask how many people from the town nowadays would be aware of the connection between paper made in Ballyclare and the establishment in Dublin in the 1920s of the Gaelic Athletic Association? All will be revealed here.

In the 1980s paper from the mill was still to be found in the most unusual places in Ballyclare and in use for curious functions. Rolls of paper turned up in the recesses of cupboards and drawers. Apparently, sheets of paper had been ‘diverted’ from the mill’s supplies to serve as what was known locally as a ‘Ballyclare Tablecloth’. A section of a ‘couch roll’ salvaged from a process in the mill was found still in use in 1984 as protection for the surface of a drawing room table.

This is the latest local history book authored by Jack McKinney. As with his previous books, he delivers a carefully constructed history with deftness and subtlety.

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