Catherine Morris’s recent book ‘Alice Milligan 1868-1953 (Four Courts Press) seeks to restore the lost reputation as one of the main drivers of the Cultural Revival from the 1890s and her father Seaton (1837-1916), Businessman Historian and Antiquarian Collector of Ancient Manuscripts.
The book outlines the cultural scene in Belfast in the 1880s and mentions the Belfast Naturalist Field Club ad personnel such as Anna Johnston (‘Ethna Carbery’), Francis Joseph Biggar, Patrick McGinley, John O’Donovan, Michael Hussey, Dermot Foley, William Gray, T.Ward, Sinclair Boyd:
At around the same time Robert Lloyd Praeger was working an an engineer in the building of Harland and Woolfs yard later to be the National Library:
Belfast powered ahead innovating with an industrial base owned by local people. The rest of Ireland has never credited the entrepreneurial genius of the Northern people in business, industry and engineering.
In the 20th century both states in the Island airbrushed Belfast’s early cultural history and today it may come as a surprise to many.
Bulmer Hobson, was in the printing trade, was inducted into the IRB. He was from a Quaker background and c 1913 severed his ties with the Friends. He opposed the 1916 Rising, was imprisoned by the Rebels was was later released. He became a ‘non person’ in Republican ideology. Was was taken in c 1922 as a Technical Civil Servant overseeing security printing of stamps pensions etc. He later became deputy head of the Revenue Commissioners Stamping Branch.