What's the Story

Client: Portview Trade Center


What’s the Story? is an online and direct engagement campaign designed to reach out East Belfast locals to ask them about the former Strand Spinning Mill and what they would like to see from the future redevelopment of Portview Trade Centre. We carried out engagement during COVID 19 restrictions over 3 months popping up in CS Lewis Square and Connswater Shopping Centre. Meeting people directly provided us with valuable insights into the history and heritage of the former mill and helped us shape what Portview could now become in the future.

Fields of Practice

Public Space



We met people who had worked in the mill and they told us their stories about what life was like to work there and in East Belfast during 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

We learned about Doffers, Bogey Boys, Winders and Spinners and about why people went to work in The Strand Spinning Mill and what it meant for the local community. Most started work at 14- for some it was an opportunity gain an apprenticeship towards a more skilled job, for others it was a means to supporting their families.

Portview Stories

Our engagement led us to meet the Great Grand Daughter HR Richardson who grew the first banana in Ireland. Richardson was the head gardener at Kinnedar Estate on Sydenham Avenue- incidentally the home of Sir Otto Jaffe who built the Strand Spinning Mill. This led us to develop concepts around closed loop systems and agri tech as new fields for employment and sustainability.

Spinning Memories

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Portview Trade Centre
310 Newtownards Rd, Belfast BT4 1HE

Designed and developed by USI