J.C. Beckett’s Belfast, The Making of a City is an anthology of 12 essays by different historians on the social, political, economic and cultural development of Belfast during the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

The nineteenth-century marked the period when the town of Belfast developed from a provincial market town of 20,000 in 1800 to an imperial city of 350,000 being a global hub for the shipping, linen and engineering industries one hundred years later.

The individual chapters cover a range of topics from the rise of the linen industry to popular entertainment. Overall, this is a useful work and would serve as an excellent textbook on an academic course on the social history of Belfast.

However, there are a couple of minor gripes. The lack of footnotes is annoying and it would have been helpful to have some maps for reference and to see how the city expanded.