Exhibition at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum marks 100 years of the Head Line shipping company.

One hundred years of the Head Line shipping company is celebrated with an exhibition at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. On display are models of ships, paintings and documents tracing the development of the company since its establishment in 1877.

The launch of the exhibition was attended by the Chairman of the Irish Lights Commission Patrick Jameson.

Included in the display is a model of the steam ship Fair Head built in 1937. From 1947 and 1954, this vessel carried cargo between Dublin and various ports on the continent. There is also a portrait of Gustavus Heyn, the founding father of the company. He came to Belfast from Danzig in Germany and started a shipping firm. It was his two sons who in 1877 formed The Head Line and the Ulster Steamship Company.

The first Head Line ship was the Iron Screw Bickley, 170 feet long and weighing over 400 tonnes. The company's second ship was the first to have the name of an Irish headland, the Fair Head built in 1879. Head Line ships bear the names of prominent Irish headlands and carry the Red Hand crest on house flag, bow and funnel.

The tradition begun with her naming has remained with the company until today.

Head Line had its first office at Waring Street in Belfast and employed local men.

Deputy Keeper Michael McCaughan comments on the success of the company.

The company was formed in 1877 to provide Ireland with direct shipping links with continental ports and The Baltic.

Today Head Line is involved in a variety of shipping operations. The company today has reduced its operation to just one ship, the Inishowen Head, which trades between Ireland, Europe and North America. Despite this, the company remains prosperous.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 April 1977.