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Sir Samuel C Davidson and his amazing Sirocco Works

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Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

2 Titanic Boulevard

Titanic Quarter

Belfast

BT3 9HQ

United Kingdom

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PRONI is pleased to welcome Eric Woods who will discuss the life and achievements of Sir Samuel Davidson, founder of the Sirocco Works.

About this Event

Eric is writing a book telling the story of the life and work of one of the greatest inventors Belfast ever produced. Having travelled to India as a 17-year old in 1863 to grow tea, Davidson proceeded to industrialise every aspect of teas production, except for actually picking the ‘two leaves and a bud’. He then came home, started a factory, and proceeded to become the world leader, not just in the manufacture of tea processing equipment, but of all manner of fans, these latter finding their way into mines, ships, the London underground railway and hospitals, including one in the RVH which is still working 120 years later), and much more. Someone once described the hot air blowing through one of his fans as being, ‘like the hot Sirocco wind that blows out of the Sahara desert’, giving Sir Samuel the ideal name for his factory and its products.

Eric will use a wide range of photographic and published and unpublished material to describe and explain the growth and then the ultimate decline of an industry of which Belfast can be proud. Sir Samuel C Davidson KBE, died in 1921, so the upcoming centenary of his death provides a good opportunity to revisit his phenomenal life. It is also likely that there will be renewed interest in the subject, given that the plans for development of the Works site there have finally been given the ‘go-ahead’.

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Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

2 Titanic Boulevard

Titanic Quarter

Belfast

BT3 9HQ

United Kingdom

View Map

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