not only the earth we share
Who Makes The City
The Production of Daily Life
Project Information

In collaboration with Household, Sol Archer has spent time with individuals and groups identifying with contemporary and historical Sailortown and it’s surrounding area: elderly former residents, new migrant communities, local grassroots organisations, and children and young people living in a small post-2008 crash social housing complex.

This process has involved the documentation of oral histories, with a particular focus on historical conditions of labour in the Docks, seafaring, and the now long-gone mills and factories to which Sailortown provided generations of workers.



oral histories

John, Billy, & Bobby
Terry Bo
Marie, Mary, & Sue

This archive will be added to over time.  The documents incorporate personal histories, labour conditions, spatialised recollections, reproductive labour, immigration, religion, international solidarity, poetry, song, city planning, the troubles, the struggle for Irish independence, and the construction of working class community identity.


Jim Austin

“The Docks were a place of great immediacy”

“One was constantly trying to think on one’s feet to plan the opportunities to put together a wage within a week.” 

“We have had a number of cases where wives have allegedly suffered loss of life as a consequence of handling clothes of men who were working and handling asbestos.”

“At the deep sea docks in 1972 we had a register at agreed at the union of six hundred and seventy nine men. When we finished in 1995 with the two de-casualisation schemes, there were only thirty-five men left in the industry by that time, because of the reduced demand for labour and the new technologies in the port of Belfast.”

“When I came in to the docks at the beginning there was something like ten million tonnes of cargo coming into the port with a register of nine hundred and thirty men, on deep sea only. At the moment theres more than double that [cargo] with only a small handful of men.”