27 October 2013

Map of Hannahstown

Black Mountain overlooks many parts of Belfast. And from many parts of Belfast you can see a dip in the western end of Black Mountain. This ruffled edge is the location of a quarry. Down the slope from there, out of sight, is Hannahstown. I read that the village began in the early 19th century when a landowner called John Hamill gave an acre over for use a cemetery. His wife's name was Hannah. Their own daughter would sadly become one of the first to be buried in the new graveyard. Her name was Hannah too.

The cemetery was soon joined by a school, then a chapel, then a village.

The Hannahstown Heritage and Cultural Society is a newly formed group who, with funding from Belfast City Council, decided to make an historical map of the area. The result is beautiful hand drawn piece of cartography.


Detail 1

Detail 2

The map has an twisting perspective, wrapping Hannahstown around the map reader. This is just a good a way to represent a landscape as any other. Wherever you look you can see a horizon, just like reality. This map also looks back in time. Members of the society pooled their knowledge and packed the map with local history. It is full of information; folk history, old place-names, snippets of material culture, flora and fauna. Eamonn Mc Croy is the illustrator. He says the map "contains only a subset of the many topic discussed during a lively series of very enjoyable evenings."

Detail 3

Detail 4

The map is displayed in Hannahstown Community Centre and there are plans to do a print run of it. I am also hoping to include A Map of Hannahstown in the Mapping Alternative Ulster exhibition in the Ulster Museum next year. More on that soon.