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Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Yesterday a friend had his birthday. He and I started work together on the same day in Harland and Wolff.  A great deal of information about Harland and Wolff is available on the internet and a great many books about it are in print.

One little known item which is rarely mentioned is the fact a "SHIPYARD UNITED GOSPEL WITNESS" existed within the Shipyard and all apprentices commencing work were presented with a New Testament with the text Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;  on the inside cover.

Earlier I came across this internet article which presents Belfast through the eyes of a  Shipyard worker in an earlier era;

"Belfast Y.M.C.A. had a splendid teacher of Elocution in their School, Mr. Willian Pyper. I plunged into this grand study, in the years won gold and silver medals. This put better language and more dramatic power into my preaching. Belfast where they talk English with a funny accent.

"Belfast" . . . . its long bridge over the River Logan, its horse drawn tram cars, its jaunting cars, its thousands of shipyard workers, its very strong politics, protestantism, its fine Churches, Colleges, its great crowds on the Custom House steps on Sunday afternoons: ---- there thousands would gather to hear fiery speeches in defence of Belfast's Protestant Faith.

"Belfast" . . . . a beautiful city, fine buildings, lovely gardens, drama, music, sport, ashore and afloat. . . . . As is usual with large cities. Belfast was not a city of Saints. It had its shady side, and a wide open opportunity to preach the Gospel. Many of those fiery protestants of 1900, loudly declared that, "They would die for an open Bible", but alas to many of them it was a closed book."

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