As plans for the future redevelopment of the Magheramorne site start to take shape, a showcase of memorabilia representing the history of the former cement works is being opened to the public.
Following the 2009 granting of outline planning permission for the ‘masterplan’ for Magheramorne, former cement works production manager Eddie Houston has been busy gathering information and artefacts to form an exhibition to celebrate the industrial archaeology of this important Northern Ireland site.
He said: “Whilst behind the scenes Lafarge is busy pushing forward with the plans for the various aspects of the redevelopment, I have been helping carry through their commitment to ensuring the history and industrial archaeology of the site is documented and remains an important element of the future plans.
“Back in 2006 we invited local people to come along to an event at the nearby social club. This was an opportunity for former site employees to share memories and reminisce. Using a former works building I have built on this and put together a display illustrating the various stages in the site’s past.
“It includes detailed photographs of the Works in past times, right through to more modern times which can be viewed on a short DVD presentation and displayed around the whole museum. The collection includes varied items from the old clock-in terminal, and sign-in desk, to clothing and other Blue Circle memorabilia.
“Another section of information can be viewed through newspaper articles, documents and correspondence to and from the cement works. One of the main attractions is a recovered set of steel rail wheels which were used on wagons in the quarry. In fact this display of ‘memories and memorabilia’ is the first project to come to fruition as part of Lafarge’s wider commitment for the site for the future.
“I am keen for local people to come along and see the exhibition and have an opportunity to celebrate the heritage of this site. But this is only a modest start and I am keen to expand it with more display items. I encourage people to contact me if they have information or historical objects which they would be willing to loan to me to make this Magheramorne Works showcase bigger and better.”
Lafarge Cement UK’s Magheramorne project manager, Lloyd McInally adds: “Behind the scenes we are busy progressing the plans for the transformation of this former cement works site into a recreation and tourism destination for the Province. At the same time we want to ensure we celebrate the past industrial importance of Magheramorne.
“At the time of its closure in 1980 the Works here employed around 300 people. As a former major employer in the area, it’s important Lafarge celebrates the industrial history of the site and secures a permanent record of its importance in the nearby community. We very much hope that former employees and members of the local community will arrange to come and take a look and also bring along any additional interesting memorabilia they may have.”
n To make an appointment to view the display, or if you have objects you would like to offer on loan, please contact Eddie Houston on 07894 072838.