I found this very interesting book (Ref Roddie Andrews) in the Linen Hall Library. It is a very personal look back at life in the village of Monkstown before and after the ‘American factories’ arrived in 1962.
The building of the Monkstown Industrial Estate was in the large meadow, owned by Nursery Owner Robert Kirkpatrick in the town land of Cloughfern.
It is a environmental change that I have read in a number of places but, in this book, the author Roddie Andrews comments on how the new factories “required lots of women with small hands” for the intricate work and how the women of the families in some cases “gained their independence” within the family due to the good wages paid.
Roddie Andrews mentions that the progress forced on the local area with employment contracts which required that employees “must work overtime as and when required” added huge strains to family life. “Another dehumanisation” was the introduction of Time and Motion on the work practices and incentive payments.
In my own memories even I can contrast the peaceful Boy Scout walks through the area when I was young to the queues of cars coming up the Doagh Road and trying to turn right onto the site across the daily commuter traffic jams. Living locally I always felt that the factories sat well within the community with a well understood co-dependence.
I guess STC and Spaldings were just two more causes for an influx of new people into the area following in the history of the Mill, Print Works and the garrison families from Carrickfergus.
As Roddie Andrews says the “1964 devastating news of the Housing Trust’s vesting orders” in preparation for the building of the Monkstown Estate was really the end of the Village structure.
With a population now over 85,000 in the wider Newtownabbey area, we can only look back with fond memories of the old Monkstown area where everyone knew everyone … .. and their mother.
Ref: Roddie Andrews: Requiem for a village