Now, I always believed the story of Monkstown began in 1962, in some ways I was right but in a very interesting way I proved myself wrong. It was a visit to the new PRONI (Public Record Office Northern Ireland) on the week it opened that added a fascinating insight to the start of the story…
I am going to take a brief step back in time, into the previous decade…. A prequel, if you like.
In the PRONI there are a number of very interesting documents which containing the working files from the Department of Commerce. Interestingly I found these on the opening day of the new PRONI premises in the Titanic quarter, which is another story.
COM/63/1/127-129 provides an insight into the early discussions with Standard Telephones and Cables about a factory initiation in 1951
In 1951 initial discussions were about Castlereagh or Laurelvale including an opportunity for 100-250 jobs.
There was comparison between Scotland or Northern Ireland for this new opportunity but even in those days the cost of rented sites in East Kilbride (at 5s 0d per sq. ft.) was seen as extremely high compared to Northern Ireland.
By 1953, after many meetings the opportunity moved on to Londonderry and a proposed factory for the manufacture of underwater cable with a potential for employment of 1,500. This opportunity also did not come to fruition.
The discussion centred around whether a suitable jetty could be built and the Foyle dredged enough to enable STC to have their ships dock and be loaded. This was Submarine Cables Division in the era of the transatlantic cables.
This the the Monarch used by STC to lay the transatlantic cable.