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Banbridge owes its success to flax and the linen industry, and by 1772 was the main linen producing district in Ireland with no fewer than 26 bleach greens along the River Bann. As an example, in 1834 the bleaching concerns here turned out 185,710 webs which was almost equal to the total quantity bleached in all Ireland at the end of the 18th century (You can still have linen cloth woven and bleached in Banbridge).
In 1823, Atkinson wrote in his "Ireland Exhibited to England: "One of the best markets in this province, for the sale of fine lawns and linens, is held here," and further says: "This town is provided with an excellent hotel, a dispensary, a reading room and other useful public accommodation and on many accounts has a claim to eminent distinction in the history of Downshire."
Fabric production in the early days was on handlooms but by the middle of the nineteenth century the age of the power loom was already in evidence. In our generation the mechanical power of the river is no longer a factor as the weaving machines are controlled by

The church hymn "what a friend we have in Jesus" was written by a Banbridge man.

The town is also renowned for the song:

"The Star of the County Down"

Approaching the town centre from the north, visitors are confronted with this imposing structure which was unveiled in 1862 in fond memory of Captain F.M.R. Crozier who was second in command in the ill-fated search for the North West Passage.

They had sailed from the Thames in may 1845. Crozier was to take over command of the ship after the death of its captain and, although no-one survived the ordeal, it was later accepted that they were indeed the first to prove that a continuous water connection existed between the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The monument stands opposite the house in which he was born, and faces north west “where in some unknown spot he died”.

Banbridge still has direct descendants - indeed one of our founder members, James Crozier, numbers in these.

The famous "Cut" in the centre of town dates back to the days of horse drawn carriages.

Because of its steep hill Banbridge was at risk of being bye-passed in favour of nearby Portadown but the Marquis of Downshire funded the work to ensure that the Belfast - Dublin coaches would continue to pass through Banbridge.

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