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.]

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