Former employees of Mackie’s are being encouraged to share photos and memorabilia as part of an upcoming exhibition in the Innovation Factory, a new state of the art business centre located on the site of the former engineering giant.
The Innovation Factory will be hosting a one-off temporary exhibition on 15th June, inviting former James Mackie and Sons staff, community leaders and past employees to celebrate the past and to see the new building.
Shane Smith, the Innovation Factory’s Community Engagement Officer said: “In its time, Mackie’s was one of the biggest employers in this area and we want to celebrate the achievements of the thousands of men and women who worked here and contributed to its success.
“We are asking former employees and their families to take part in this celebration by sharing their memories and visiting us to see how the former Mackie’s site is being used to attract and support the innovators and entrepreneurs of the future.”
Shane Smith, Community Engagement Officer at Innovation Factory
At its peak, James Mackie and Sons, which made textile machinery, employed almost 7,000 people. During both world wars it switched to making munitions to support the armed forces. One of its most famous visitors was President Bill Clinton, who visited the factory to support the Northern Ireland peace process.
The Innovation Factory, a new, spacious hub, furnished in collaboration with top UK designer Wayne Hemingway, will support up to 100 new hi-tech businesses and create an estimated 400 jobs.
The £9.1m centre is the result of a partnership between Belfast City Council and Invest NI. Funding of £4.15m was secured from the European Regional Development Fund. Invest NI has contributed £2.1m and Belfast City Council provided the remaining funding.
Mr Smith added: “By celebrating the legacy of Mackie’s and its employees we want to involve the local community in the work of the Innovation Factory to help stimulate Belfast’s unique entrepreneurial spirit and culture.”
If you are a former employee or family member and would like to join in with this celebration, contact Shane Smith at the Innovation Factory on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 95 902500.