Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Potholes in the past

A letter in the Belfast Telegraph (13 January 1939) from a contributor who called himself Old Contemptible complained about the state of the Ardoyne Road and in particular the number of potholes.

As an 'old soldier' who had served in the First World War he compared the state of the Ardoyne Road to 'the dreaded Menin road in Belgium where we had to be watchful for shell holes.'

As to the residents on the Ardoyne Road in 1939, the following were listed in the 1939 Belfast Street Directory.

Ardoyne Road    off Crumlin Road
       Andrews, George, J.P. (back entrance)
       Edenderry National School - A. McClean, principal
       Edenderry Female National School - Miss Maclenaghan, principal
   1. Clugston, John, weaver
   3. McVeigh, W. J., weaver
   5. Beattie, R., weaver
   7. Conlon, John, weaver
   9. Shortt, Mrs.

Marmount Gardens - new houses in 1939

I lived for some years in Marmount Gardens, back in the 1980s, and was therefore particularly interested to come across this advertisement in the Belfast Telegraph from 13 January 1939.

MARMOUNT GARDENS - New Semi-Detached Villas for sale.  Deposit £20.  18s 9d per week including repayments, ground rent and taxes.
Thomas Henderson & Co, High Street.

Those old newspaper advertisements are a great source of information about old Belfast, in this case when the houses were built and the cost of them.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Wheatfield Gardens

In a letter to the Belfast Telegraph (4 November 1910), Rev John Gailey, minister of Ballysillan Presbyterian Church, noted that 'a new avenue - Wheatfield Avenue - was opened up a short time ago, and already five new detached residences have been built.' 
The 1910 Belfast and Ulster Street Directory includes Wheatfield Avenue, with Cahereen (Hugh O'Neill, publican) and Freeman William Archer, clerk, on the right hand side and Claremount (A Kinkead, traveller) and a vacant house on the left hand side.

By 1912 the name had changed to Wheatfield Gardens and seven residents of Wheatfield Gardens signed the Ulster Covenant:
  1. Alfred H Kinkead of Claremount signed in the Old Town Hall.
  2. Andrew Kinkead of Wheatfield Gardens, Ballysillan, signed in Ligoniel Orange Hall
  3. George W Kinkead of Claremount signed in the City Hall
  4. William McVicker of 2 Wheatfield Gardens signed in the Old Town Hall
  5. Samuel Robert Boyd of 6 Wheatfield Gardens signed in Woodvale Presbyterian Church
  6. James Hanna of 8 Wheatfield Gardens signed in the City Hall
  7. Robert Stevenson of Wheatfield Gardens, Ballysillan, signed in the Old Town Hall
Three members of the Kinkead family signed the Covenant.  They were a Presbyterian family and the father, Andrew James Kinkead (44), was a manufacturing chemist who came to Belfast from county Armagh.  His son George Wilfred Kinkead (17) was an apprentice manufacturing chemist and the other signatory was Alfred Harper Kinkead, who was just 14 years old and therefore too young to sign the Covenant.  It is interesting to see that the three members of the family, the father and the two sons, signed in different places.  Did Alfred, who was too young, not want his father and his brother to know that he had signed?

Andrew Francis Kinkead of 62 Whiterock Street Liverpool also signed in Ligoniel Orange Hall and signed on the same sheet as Andrew Kinkead and directly below him.  He had probably travelled home from Liverpool especially to sign the Covenant and was probably related to the family although according to the 1911 census he could not have been a son.

The firm of Kinkead & Co, in Hamilton Place West, off Boundary Street, were manufacturing chemists, drysalters, mill furnishers, oil merchants and importers.

By the time of the 1915 Belfast and Ulster Street Directory more houses had been built in Wheatfield Gardens.
On the right hand side the houses and their occupants were Lann Roe (Hugh O'Neill, publican), Cahereen (Robert Stevenson, engineer), 5 and 7 appear to have been semi-detached houses (Joseph Donohoe, clerk, and W McKnight, plasterer) and Edenvale (Richard Hay, postal official). 
On the left hand side there were Glenmurray (William Murray), Claremont and 4 and 6 (A Kinkead, traveller, and Samuel R Boyd, contractor), Lauriston, a terrace of three houses numbered 8, 10 and 12, Dunelm (William McVicker, house-builder), Iona (Mrs McVicker), Roseneath (John A Dunn) and Cill-na-Hard (David Waugh, linen manufacturer and finisher).

1918 Street Directory

Lann Roe (Hugh O'Neill, publican), Cahereen (Robert Stevenson, engineer), 5 (Freeman William Archer, county court clerk), 7 (W McKnight, plasterer) and Edenvale (Richard Hay, postal official).

2 Monellan (J J Houston), 4 Claremount (Mrs Kinkead), 6 (Samuel R Boyd, contractor), 8 (J E McIlroy, merchant), 10 (Miss McHarry), 12 (Henry M Wilson of Wilson & Campbell, valuator), Dunelm (W McVicker, builder and contractor), Iona (Mrs McVicker), Roseneath (Jos Coulter, weaving factory manager), Cill-na-Hard (David Waugh, linen manufacturer and finsher).
Cahereen is still there with the name above the front door.
Lann Roe
Edenvale - townland in county Antrim
Monellan - a mansion in Killygrdon, county Donegal
Claremont - a mansion in Surrey
Lauriston - 16th century tower house, with 19th century extension, in Edinburgh
Iona - island off the coast of Scotland
Roseneath - a village in Scotland

Monday, 26 May 2014

Ligoniel Rifle Club

The Ligoniel Rifle Club won the indoor league in 1914-1915 and the photograph on the left shows some of the winning team.

The man sitting behind the winners' shield was Robert James Adgey (1872-1957), a Belfast pawn-broker and gun-dealer, who was associated with Major Fred Crawford in the arming of the Ulster Volunteer Force.

He later recorded his memoirs in the book Arming the Ulster Volunteers 1914.

Adgey owned a pawn-broker's business at Peter's Hill and at the 1911 census he lived at Ballymagarry, in the Woodvale area, with his parents and younger brother.  His father, an elderly retired farmer, was suffering from dementia or some other form of mental illness.  Previously the family had lived for some years at 36 Dover Street but they moved to Ballymagarry around 1908.

The photograph of the Ligoniel Rifle Club appears to have been taken in a garden, possibly at Ligoniel, but there is currently no other information about the rifle club, of which there were many in Ulster at that time.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A senior Ballysillan Orangewoman - Minnie Turkington

The Belfast Telegraph (3 January 1939) reported the death of Mrs Mary A (Minnie) Turkington of Glenside Parade at Ballysillan.  She was the widow of James A Turkington and she died on 31 December 1938 in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

According to the report she was 'prominently identified with the Women's Orange Order for the past 21 years.'

The Orange Women's Association began in 1887 when a body of women with strong unionist views formed themselves into a body to work together for the promotion of Protestantism and the defence of the Union.  The founder was the wife of Colonel Edward Saunderson, the Conservative MP for North Armagh and himself a senior Orangeman.  The Association was authorised by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland in December 1887 and it flourished for a time but eventually ceased to function.  Then in 1911, with the consent of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Mrs R H Johnston of Bawnboy House in county Cavan undertook to reissue warrants.  That new start marked the origin of the Women's Orange movement of today.

The event that prompted this re-formation of the women's movement was the promulgation in 1911 by the Roman Catholic Church of the Ne Temere decree.  This decree declared that a marriage between a Roman Catholic and a Protestant was only valid in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church if it was performed by a Roman Catholic priest.  The decree became a matter of much public attention when a young Presbyterian girl in Belfast, who had married a Roman Catholic man named McCann, refused to be remarried in a Roman Catholic chapel.  The result was that her two children were kidnapped.  Protest meetings were held in Belfast and there was a very large meeting in the Presbyterian Assembly at which Bishop Crozier spoke.

Mrs Johnston read about the case in the newspapers and felt that a revived Women's Orange Association would be an influence against mixed marriages and the effects of Ne Temere.  She called a meeting in 12 Rutland Square, Dublin. in February 1912 and three warrants were issued.  The first went to Mrs W Bridgett to meet in Sandy Row Orange Hall, the second went to a lodge at Ballymacarrett and the third to a lodge in Kingstown, county Dublin.

The Ligoniel Women's LOL No 15 was formed in the summer of 1917 and Minnie Turkington was a foundation member.  She was a prominent member of the lodge and was WM for fourteen years.

Minnie Turkington was also Deputy Grand Mistress of the Grand Loyal Association of Orangewomen of Ireland, Deputy Grand Mistress of the City of Belfast and a Past District Mistress of No 4 District of the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland.  Minnie Turkington was also superintendent of the Association of Junior Orangewomen of Ireland, Lodge No 20.  Women's Orangeism, both senior and junior, was therefore a major part of her life.

Among the death notices at the time of her death was one from the management committee of Ligoniel Orange Hall, from John Sanderson (chairman) and John Porter (secretary).  John Sanderson was an overlooker who lived in Lavens Drive and John Porter was a clerk, who lived in Leroy Street.

A funeral service was held in St Mark's parish church on the evening of Monday 2 January 1939.

WLOL No 15 had its first meeting on 18 July 1917 and it was officially opened on 8 August 1917.  The officers elected were WM Ruby Kirkwood, DM Mrs Morrison, Secretary Leta Frazer, Treasurer Hester Mann, FC, Annie McCurley, Chaplain Nellie Wallace, Committee: Jean Moore, D Kirkwood, Annie Smyth, Annie Thompson, Cassie Adair, Tylers M J Shaw and Sadie Lynass.

Near the end of the year Sister Mrs Morrison, later Mrs Turkington, became W Mistress when the WM, Sister Ruby Kirkwood, went overseas.  She remained in the chair for fourteen years and her death at the end of 1938 was a great loss to the Orange community.

[The woman who revived the Women's Orange Association was Mrs R H Johnston of Bawnboy House in county Cavan and a Geraldine I M Johnston, of Bawnboy House, Cavan West, and Cor Le Grange, Gloucester, signed the Women's Declaration at Templeport Church and parochial hall in Bawnboy (Brackley) in 1912.  R H Johnston of Bawnboy House signed the Ulster Covenant at the same venue.]

Monday, 19 May 2014

Marmount Gardens

For many years Mary and I lived in Marmount Gardens, off the Oldpark Road  The first houses must have been built around 1938, just before the Second World War, and I was interested then to see an advertisement in the Belfast Telegraph (13 January 1939) for 'new semi-detached villas' in Marmount Gardens.

The deposit was just £20 and then the buyer paid 18s 9d per week, including repayments, ground rent and taxes.

Prospective buyers were to contact Thomas Henderson & Co, rent and estate agents, at 53 High Street.

By 1943 much of the street was built up but sites 1 to 11 were still vacant and the first house on that side of the street was 13, the house in which I later lived.

On the other side 2a was the confectionery shop owned by W T Polley, who lived at number 10.

Joanmount was named by the developer Sir William Frederick Neill (1889-1960) who named it after his daughter Joan.  So who was Marmount named after?  Well it was either his daughter, whose name was Margaret Joan, or his wife whose name was Margaret.

W F Neill married Margaret Marshall (c1890-1957).  She died on 19 January 1957 and at the time of death the couple were living at 21 Broomhill Park.  William and Margaret Neill were buried in Belfast City Cemetery and also buried there was a daughter Margaret Joan Neill, who died on 23 April 1933 at the age of 6 years and 3 months.

Since both Marmount and Joanmount were built in the 1930s it is probable that both were named after the little girl who had died in 1933.

[I am grateful to Jacqueline Nicholson for the additional information about W F Neill's family.]

Monday, 12 May 2014

Robert James Adgey

Robert James Adgey (1872-1957) was one of the key figures in the unionist operation to arm the Ulster Volunteer Force during the 3rd home rule crisis.  He was a pawnbroker, with a business at 97 Peter's Hill, and he collaborated closely with Major Fred Crawford in importing weapons and ammunition.

Afterwards he wrote Arming the Ulster Volunteers 1914 and in this he described his family background, including some connections with Ballysillan.

I was born in County Antrim in the townland of Ballykennedy, about 10 miles from Belfast, where my father, Robert James Adgey Senior, who was a farmer, came to live in Belfast (Shankill Ward) in the year 1881.  He commenced business in Riga Street, where he kept a number of milk cows and I had to learn to milk at an early age.
In the summer time the cows were put out to graze and I had to go in the milk cart out to the fields.  My father had the grazing of those fields belonging to Ferguson's old Bleach Green from Ardoyne up to opposite Wheatfield House on the Crumlin Road.  He had also several fields for grazing from Mr George Andrews of Ardoyne.  Going to it we had to pass down Ardoyne Village; at that time the old hand-loom factory  was in full operation where work commenced at 6 o'clock in the morning.  We passed through the village about 5.30 when the people were just going to their work.
This reminds us that much of Ballysillan remained rural right through to the end of the 19th century.

We also learn that the old bleach-green of the Ferguson family was roughly the site now occupied by the Abbeydale estate