Pictorial link to Ballymena’s industrial past presented to Council

Mid & East Antrim Borough Councillor Beth Adger and Alderman Tommy Nicholl pictured accepting the original painting of the historic Braidwater Spinning Mill that occupied the site of B&Q in Ballymena for well over a century from store Manager, Jay Smit. Also pictured are members of staff, Sharon Watson (left), Natasha Blair, and Joan McIlhagga (right).
Mid & East Antrim Borough Councillor Beth Adger and Alderman Tommy Nicholl pictured accepting the original painting of the historic Braidwater Spinning Mill that occupied the site of B&Q in Ballymena for well over a century from store Manager, Jay Smit. Also pictured are members of staff, Sharon Watson (left), Natasha Blair, and Joan McIlhagga (right).

A link to Mid and East Antrim’s industrial heritage is to be preserved thanks to a local retailer’s foresight.

Councillor Beth Adger MBE and Alderman Tommy Nicholl MBE have, on behalf of the new borough council, accepted an original painting of the historic Braidwater Spinning Mill that occupied the current site of B&Q in Ballymena for well over a century.

Speaking at the presentation, Cllr Adger said she was “very pleased to have been offered the chance to be the custodian of this link with the past”.

She said: “Braidwater Spinning Mill was established in 1865 and employed generations of workers in yarn spinning, almost all of them from the Ballymena area.

“The mill influenced the lives of thousands of workers’ families, having survived until 1999,” she said.

Manager of well-known B&Q DIY outlet, Jay Smit said he is confident that the link will be preserved appropriately.

“Sadly, the picture has been removed from display in our store on account of closure this weekend,” he said.

“However, this little gesture provides a bridge across the past 150 years explaining that what is now the Braidwater Retail Park was formerly a huge industrial facility and why it is so important to Mid and East Antrim to see this small link preserved.

“Now we can be assured that the historical significance of this former industrial and latterly, commercial site, will not be forgotten,” he added.

The picture, which was created when the new B&Q store opened 15 years ago by a former member of staff, will now go on display in the Mid Antrim Museum at The Braid.