Atlantic gateway

The port and city of Londonderry since 1700


Robert Gavin, William P. Kelly & Dolores O'Reilly

Hardback €27.50
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ISBN: 978-1-84682-146-2
July 2009. 440pp; colour ills.

This study takes a fresh look at the economic role of North West Ireland and the port and city of Derry. It sees the region as prospering from exchanges of labour and goods across the mercantilist North Atlantic, shifting radically in the early nineteenth century from rural linen and other industries to prosper again from urban, steam-powered industry and transport of perishable food products, pioneering scientific distilling, screw steamship construction, factory-based clothing manufacture and light-railway transport of goods and passengers, selling goods widely in open markets across Ireland and abroad.

Prosperity ended with partition that ushered in a new economic era and doubly peripheralized the North West once interventionist states installed multiple barriers across its previously integrated economy. The battle of the Atlantic brought Derry briefly centre stage, but the wartime command economy put Derry last in line while massive emigration left thousands on dole queues. Plans to rescue Derry¹s obsolescent economic structures came too late and the city sank into a deep economic, social and political crisis. Recovery was led by community initiatives and action backed by increasing, chiefly American, industrial investment, European assistance, a few government initiatives and a revival of local business confidence. This book tells the continuing story of a city that has frequently re-invented its economic structures.

Four Courts Press have published a number of books in the Ulster & Scotland series in association with the Institute of Ulster Scots Studies, University of Ulster.

Robert Gavin is emeritus professor, University of Ulster, and formerly provost of Magee College. William P. Kelly is lecturer in history, University of Ulster, Magee Campus. Dolores O'Reilly is head of the Department of International Business, University of Ulster.