1955: Walking the streets of Belfast, shipbuilding capital of the world

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A look back at Belfast, the shipbuilding capital of the early 20th century
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A look back at Belfast, the shipbuilding capital of the early 20th century
The cargo ship Foylebank under construction at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. The ship was later renamed Patroclos. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A woman with two children stops to look at shipping in a harbour, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The cargo ship Port Melbourne (right) under construction at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. The ship was later renamed Princess Danae. In the background is the cargo ship Foylebank (later Patroclos), also under construction. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A group of children on a terraced street in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Customers at a news stand opposite the Royal Hippodrome cinema, Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. The cinema is showing 'Demetrius And The Gladiators'. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Two workmen by the Titanic Memorial outside Belfast City Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A delivery boy passing a carthorse, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A crane loading a truck on the quayside at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Two girls on the corner of Little Ship Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. A chalked grafitti drawing on the building (centre, right) is captioned; 'This is Ann'. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A man delivering sacks of coal from a horse and cart, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A group of children playing with an old bed frame on waste ground in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A horsedrawn cart carrying sacks of potatoes over a bridge in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A view down a street towards the Alhambra Theatre in Lower North Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. The theatre was destroyed by fire and demolished in 1959. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Workers on a lorry at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Workers at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The cargo ship Port Melbourne under construction at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. The ship was later renamed Princess Danae Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A boy crouching by a drain in a courtyard, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Men and boys on a bridge in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Waste ground behind houses in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A man standing at a watergate, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A group of boys playing football in a Belfast street, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A horsedrawn cart crossing a bridge in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. A workman on a ladder (right) is attending to a gas lamp. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Pedestrians on a shopping street, seen through an archway, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A number 73 bus to Ballygomartin Road on Linenhall Street, Belfast, with Belfast City Hall in the background, Northern Ireland, circa 1955. (Photo by Raymond Kleboe/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Two men on the quayside at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 7825 - Belfast - pub. 25th June 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland emerged as one of the shipbuilding capitals of the world.

The sprawling Harland & Wolff shipyards cranked out thousands of Navy cruisers, monitors, aircraft carriers and civilian ocean liners, including one famously massive and ill-fated one.

In 1955, Picture Post photographer Bert Hardy visited the city, wandering the bustling shipyards and lively streets.

Just a few years later, the local shipbuilding industry entered a downturn as the advent of jet travel reduced the demand for passenger ships.

 

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