by STACEY HEANEY
people who get the chance to visit Buckingham Palace this summer
will experience something which reminds them of home.
For the first time ever, and for this summer
only, visitors to the Palace will experience the spectacle of
the Ballroom set up for a State Banquet.
It is a breathtaking spectacle usually
reserved for Heads of State and the great and the good, but this
year visitors will be given access to the Ballroom splendidly
laid out for a State Banquet.
During their visit they will not only see the
traditional horseshoe-shaped State Banquet table, set with
dazzling silver-gilt from the Grand Service and adorned with
magnificent flower arrangements and will discover the Royal
connection with the linen industry in Ireland, and particularly
Lisburn.Lisburn is often thought of as the
birthplace of the Irish linen industry, and Coulson's of Lisburn
is one of the city's best known exports.
One historic cloth produced by Coulson's is
still kept in the Royal linen Room and it has been included in
the new book 'For the Royal Table - Dining at the Palace'.
The cloth, which has the name J.W. Coulson
woven into one edge, was made in "121 for
George IV to celebrate military victories in
the Napoleonic Wars.
Coulson's, which opened in 1764, was based in
a thatched building on Linenhall Street and remained there until
their closure in the 1950's.
William Coulson (1739-1801) set up the damask
linen weaving factory in Lisburn in 1764, which was among the
very earliest in Ireland.
His hand woven linen tablecloths and napkins
became renowned for their high quality and elaborately woven
patterns, and were commissioned by Royal and noble families
throughout the British Isles and Europe.
|The Ballroom splendidly
set up for a State Banquet.
|Much of the Royal linen has
traditional! been produced in Ireland. This linen wa
made for Queen Elizabeth II.
The Royal Households at Buckingham Palace,
Windsor Castle. Sandringham and Balmoral have always used linens
produced by Coulsons of Lisburn.
The four sons of the original founder
continued the business between them and it continued to produce
hand woven damask linens until the 1950s.
The summer opening of the State Rooms at
Buckingham Palace continue until September 29. Admission is by
For further information or to book advance
www.royalcollection.org.uk or telephone 020 7766 7300.