Carrick’s local history buffs are in for a treat with the launch of a new book by Flame Gasworks Preservation Society.
Officially released at the society’s annual general meeting earlier this month, the publication outlines the development of the Carrickfergus Gasworks from its opening in 1855 to closure in 1987.
It follows the various social and economic changes which Carrickfergus underwent over a 130 year period from the mid-1800s. The book also details the facility’s subsequent restoration and opening as Flame, the Gasworks Museum of Ireland in 2002.
‘A History of Carrickfergus Gasworks’ can be purchased at the museum or through the new website www.flamegasworks.co.uk It will shortly be available in Carrickfergus Tourist Information Centre.Visitors can also connect with Flame on its new website to keep up to date with a range of information on the museum’s resources, history and events.
Meanwhile, the Gasworks Preservation Society is among the successful Challenge Fund projects receiving a share of £2.2million of Carrier Bag Levy money. It has received funding for ‘FLAME Illuminated’, a project involving the development of an online photo archive for FLAME Gasworks Museum, enhancing the preservation of delicate documents and photographs and increasing awareness of the museum.
Sharon Mustaq, of the Gasworks, said: “These photographs document a unique part of Northern Ireland’s industrial heritage, many of the physical remnants of which have long disappeared from the landscape.
“We feel that by digitally illuminating stories such as the development of the Ormeau Road gasworks site, the social activities of the past employees and how the Troubles affected the industry; this will help to increase public awareness of this facet of the built environment, and allow them to share these images and histories in an interactive fashion.”
The Challenge Fund has been made possible by the five pence levy collected on carrier bags. One million pounds had initially been set aside. Due to the scale of the response this was more than doubled. In total, 251 projects have successfully bid for Northern Ireland Environment Agency granted funding.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “The Carrier Bag levy is very much the people’s fund. It is only right therefore that so many people across a wide variety of ages and locations both urban and rural will benefit. This fund has inspired local communities to work together and I have been really impressed by the level of partnership between local businesses, schools, youth groups and residents.