THE BOOK OF COUNTY ARMAGH,
A Manual and Directory for Manufacturers, Merchants, Traders, Professional Men, Land-Owners, Farmers, Tourists, Anglers and Sportsmen Generally.
GEORGE HENRY BASSETT
Author of similar works for Antrim, Down, Louth, Wexford and Kilkenny.
DUBLIN: Sealy, Bryers & Walker, 94, 95 & 96 Middle Abbey Street.
LONDON: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 4 Stationers’ Hall Court.
NEW YORK: Robert J. McMillan, 21 Park Row.
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF LURGAN
Estimated population over 14,000 in 1888.
URGAN is in the barony of O’Neilland East and parish of Shankill, 20 miles south-west of Belfast, 92½ miles north of Dublin, 5 miles north-east of Portadown, and 15½ miles north-east of Armagh. It is surrounded by a good farming country, and most favourably situated for communication with the centres of commercial activity. The lines of the Great Northern Railway bring it into direct connection with Dublin and Belfast, and at a distance of less than two miles, by means of a cut from Lough Neagh, an opportunity is afforded for participation in the benefits of the Lagan and Newry Canals. With the single exception of Belfast, no town in Ireland has increased in population and wealth so rapidly as Lurgan. The population in 1851 was 4,651. In 1881 it was 10,135, and there is good reason to believe that it is now far on the way to 15,000. This progress is entirely due to the development of the linen industry, initiated by William Waring, M.P., during the reign of Queen Anne, 1702 – 14. The most interesting fact in connection with the progress is that is does not seem to have been retarded by the great wave of depression which swamped so many promising enterprises elsewhere. During the last few years wonderful strides have been made in Lurgan. Several new streets have been added. Indeed it is calculated that within three years over 200 houses have been built for the accommodation of working people alone. Handsome dwellings for well – to – do residents, factories, warehouses, and school-houses are included in the descriptive particulars of the aggregate outlay in bricks and mortar. Some of the churches have been remodelled, and the Great Northern Railway Company, to keep pace with the march of improvement, has erected a large goods store. It is worthy of remark, as a most instructive feature of the building operations, that a considerable number of the smaller houses belong to working men, built for homes, and paid for out of their own savings. At every side of the town expansion has been the order of the day, but to the stranger, there is quite enough in view from the railway station to give an exalted idea of Lurgan enterprise. Brownlow Terrace, Victoria Street, Princess Street and Sunnyside had no existence a very short time ago. Now they form a substantial contribution toward the work of extending the town to the edge of Lough Neagh, about a mile and a quarter. As a market for agricultural produce, Lurgan is improving. Transactions are conducted in the principal thoroughfare, which is broad enough to give room for a large number of people without seriously interfering with the ordinary traffic. The walks and drives in every direction lead to places of interest, and bring into sight much scenery of a charming nature. In summer Lough Neagh invites with a magnetic power that cannot be resisted, and its exhilarating breezes do a great deal to maintain a respectable standard of health and vigor particularly among the working people.
BEFORE AND SINCE THE ENGLISH CONNECTION.
EFORE the arrival of the English the broad acres forming the present parish of Shankill were used as grazing pastures for cattle. The formation of the country was such that it afforded no desirable point for a great stronghold. The O’Neill’s dominated the territory in which it was included. After Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, had fled to Rome in company with O’Donnell, his principal ally, 1607, Shankill was forfeited to the Crown with the possessions of the O’Hanlon’s, at Tandragee, and those of other Armagh chieftains who had contributed to swell the forces under his command during the Rebellion against Queen Elizabeth, 1594 – 1603. In the Plantation of Ulster by James I., 1609, William Brownlow received a “portion” of the forfeited lands containing 2,500 acres. He immediately took steps for the settlement of a number of “well disposed” English families, and founded Lurgan. A census of 1619 shows that 42 houses had been built. For 20 years the town continued to grow in comparative peace. Soon after the Parliament of Kilkenny began to make its power felt in Ulster, 1641, the troops of Sir Phelim O’Neill seized Lurgan and destroyed it. While engaged in this work they used for garrison purposes a small church which had been erected by the settlers, and subsequently burned it also. Two fine mansions, belonging to Mr. Brownlow, were reduced to ashes. During the Cromwellian period the inhabitants had not recovered from the effects of the O’Neill visitation. They made no sustained attempt to rebuild the town until the advent of Charles II. Encouraged by the hope of permanent security under his reign, Mr. Brownlow stimulated his people to exertion, and things had begun to assume a favourable aspect when the war of the Revolution broke out. The then Mr. Brownlow was opposed to James II., and declared an outlaw. About the same time the town was again destroyed. After the Battle of the Boyne, 1690, had decided the war in favour of William, Prince of Orange, the prospects of Lurgan soon became brighter than they had been at any time since the Plantation. King William granted a patent for markets and fairs, and the inhabitants of the town and surrounding country, having devoted themselves earnestly to the cultivation of the land, these rights soon proved valuable. When the Princess Anne, daughter of James II., succeeded to the throne, 1702, William Waring, M.P. introduced the manufacture of diapers, and to the interest aroused by the instruction personally given by him may be attributed the fact that Lurgan has reached the present stage of prosperity.
TOWN GOVERNMENT, VALUATION, SEWERAGE SYSTEM, PUBLIC LIGHTING.
OR many years the town was governed by Commissioners, appointed under the 9th of George IV. Cap. 8. The lighting and cleansing clauses only were taken advantage of. When the Towns Improvement Act came into force in 1854 the people of Lurgan were among the first to petition the Lord Lieutenant to be permitted to participate in its benefits. The old Commissioners, on September 4, 1854, appointed a committee consisting of Messrs. Hancock, Paul, May, Conn and Macoun to consider the propriety of preparing the petition. The Bill had only received the Royal Assent on the 19th of the previous month. On the 2nd of October a report was made in favour of the Act, and a memorial signed by Lord Lurgan, Chairman, on behalf of the Commissioners, was forwarded to Dublin Castle. The next step was an order from the Lord Lieutenant to take the sense of the ratepayers upon the subject. A meeting was accordingly held at the Town Hall, 14th December, 1854. On the motion of Mr. James Malcolm, father of Mr. James Malcolm, D.L., seconded by Mr. Francis Watson, the Act was adopted in its entirety, and by a unanimous vote. The result having been made known to the Government, an election of 15 Commissioners was ordered. It was held January 13th, 1855, and choice made of Lord Lurgan, John Hancock, J.P., Samuel Rogers, John Hazlett, James Armstrong, Arthur Donnelly, William Murray, Charles Magee, Joseph Murphy, John Gilbert, George Lockhart, James Malcolm, John Johnston, W. W. Paul, and John Ross. Of the number, Messrs. Joseph Murphy, J.P., W. W. Paul, and John Ross are the only survivors. Five Commissioners go out of office every third year. The election takes place on the 15th of October. Mr William Sear was appointed Town Clerk. He was succeeded by Mr. Hamilton Rankin, and Mr. Rankin by Mr. Thomas Lutton. Messrs. Sears and Rankin were also Town Surveyors. The office of Town Surveyor is now separate, and is held by Mr. William James O’Neill, C.E. When Mr. Sear was Town Clerk and Surveyor, although the estimated population was 5,650, the work he had to do could not have been regarded as laborious. His salary was only £40 a year, and in consideration of this he was obliged to provide the Commissioners with an office for meetings, etc.
In the first year of the Government under the new Act, 1855, names were given to the streets, and recorded on panels at the corners, and arrangements made for connecting the town with the outer world by means of the electric telegraph. The rate for general purposes in 1856 was 8d. in the £. This produced a total of £231 14s. 10d. In 1868 that valuation of the town was £14,467, and the rate for general purposes 10d. Ten years later the valuation was £16,052 15s., and the rate for general purposes 1s. 8d. In 1888 the valuation was £19,770 10s., the rate for general purposes 3s. 0d., and a sanitary assessment of 6d. in the £.
The Commissioners began without delay to establish a system of sewage that would keep the town in good sanitary condition. In 1855 the North East sewer was built. This gave accommodation to 397 houses. A flushing apparatus was added in the following year, at a cost of £950, toward which Lord Lurgan subscribed £250, and the necessary water from the lake in his demesne. The town was divided into four drainage districts in 1857, the property-owners in each to be assessed separately, according to the amount of money expended in new works. The Town Commissioners at present are in debt to the extent of nearly £6,000. Most of this was spent on sewers. The discharge is at Lough Neagh. Upward of £4,000 out of the £6,000 was advanced by the Board of Works, at 3½ per cent. repayable, principal and interest, in a given period. The remainder represents loans from private persons, to whom the highest rate of interest paid is 5 per cent.
In 1857 the town was lighted by 62 gas lamps. This number was increased to 87 in 1861, to 145 in 1882, and to 177 in 1888. The contract with the Gas Company is in effect that a payment of £1 6s. each is made for lamps used up to midnight, and £2 6s. per annum each for those maintained at full pressure all night. The Commissioners pay a special rate of 3s. 11d. per 1,000 feet for lighting half a dozen or more large lamps and the great church-clock.
WATER SUPPLY, FIRE DEPARTMENT, BURIAL BOARD.
VER since 1854 there has been a “Water Question.” Several eminent engineers have had “schemes” for meeting the difficulty, but the supply continues to be drawn from street-pumps.
In 1887, the driest season for many years, the scarcity was so great that the subject began to be more seriously discussed, and during the present year, 1888, a Committee of the Commissioners, consisting of Messrs. R. Mathers, J.P., Claude Brownlow, J.P., Robert Hazelton, and John McCaughey, was appointed to confer with the Town Commissioners of Portadown and other places as to the desirability of adopting a scheme to make a reservoir at Loughislandreavy. An effort was made in 1859 to have the necessary service provided by a private Company. The capital stock was fixed at £10,000 in 1,000 shares at £10 each. Lord Lurgan sent in his name for 200 shares; but notwithstanding the stimulus which his example should have caused, only half the capital was subscribed, and the project fell through. But for the trouble to come to a decision regarding the source, the matter would have been settled long ago. Lough Neagh is only two miles from the centre of the town, and a great many persons believe that it could be utilized for a first-rate service. A great many also believe that the majority of the people could never be induced either to drink, or use for cooking purposes, water which receives the sewage of Lurgan and of several other populous towns. Schemes for utilizing Lough Neagh have been reported as follows :- By Mr. James Thompson, C.E., Edinburgh, 1857, to supply 180,000 gallons per day to a height of 174 feet, at a cost of £8,668. By Mr. Robert Young, C.E., 1871, to supply 347,000 gallons per day at a height of 196 feet at a cost of £10,507. By Mr. Wm J. O’Neill, C.E., 1887, to supply 560,000 gallons per day to a height of 196 feet at a cost of £16,424. Mr. Henry Smyth, C.E., in 1887, proposed to supply by gravitation from Slieve Croob, in conjunction with the service to other towns, 5000,000 gallons per day at a cost of £34,345. The Diamond Rock Boring Company (Artesian scheme) proposed, 1888, to make a 4 inch trial bore to a depth of 300 feet, if necessary, “on the understanding that if they do not, previous to that depth being reached, find sufficient water to warrant going on with the boring, they shall only be paid 7s. per foot; but if they find enough they shall receive 12s. per foot for actual depth bored. If they have to go down say 300 feet or less (total, 600 feet), they will say with regard to this next 300 feet, or less, a price of 10s. per foot if unsuccessful, and 16s. per foot if successful. If the test bore reveals the presence of sufficient water, they shall be pleased to quote for the permanent boring and for pumping, tackle, engine, &c.”
Dr. S. Agnew sent a sample of Lough Neagh water for analysis to Prof. Hodges, Belfast. The professor says: – “the water had no remarked smell; color slightly yellowish; microscope showed numerous organisms and water fleas. Total solid matters per Imperial gallon, 16.80 grains, consisting of mineral and saline matters, 6.30 grains, Organic and volatile matters, 10.50 grains; Chlorine in chlorides, 1.40 grains; one million parts yield – free ammonia, 0.080 parts; albuminoid ammonia, 0.140 parts.” – John F. Hodges, M.D., F. Inst. C, &c.
“Remarks – The sample of water contains an excessive amount of nitrogenous matter, and unless filtered would be unfit for domestic use. – John F. Hodges.”
A Fire Department is maintained by the Town Commissioners, but its efficiency cannot be brought to a high standard until there are hydrants giving power to send a stream of water over the largest building, as at Armagh. Mr John Long is Superintendent, and Mr. James Dunwoody, who also fills the position of Town Constable, is Deputy Superintendent. He receives a salary for the latter-named office of £2 a-year, and £1 extra for every fire attended. Mr. Long receives £10 a-year. Seven firemen are paid £2 a-year each, and when on active duty 3s. 6d. each for first hour, and 2s. each for every succeeding hour. The engine in use was presented by Mr. James Malcolm, D.L.
The Town Commissioners were created a Burial Board under the 19th & 20th of Victoria. They have jurisdiction over all the cemeteries used by the residents. The old Shankill churchyard, within the town, is still used. It has many interesting monuments, and the Mausoleum of the Brownlow family. The Roman Catholics inter around the site of the old chapel. It was first opened for the purpose in 1824, and became so full that more ground was added by Lord Lurgan in 1857. The burial ground of the Society of Friends is at the back of the Meeting House in High Street. The Presbyterian ground is at the back of the First Church in High Street. A new cemetery, one mile from town, was laid out in 1865, at a cost of £300. It is situated in the townland of Monbrief, and consists of 4 acres, bought from Lord Lurgan.
MARKETS AND FAIRS.
MARKET for the sale of grain, grass-seed – in the season – pork, fowl, butter, eggs, hay, straw, potatoes, turnips, etc., is held every Thursday. Until about 1846 the market was on Friday. It was then considered good policy to make an alteration, so that there might be no clash with Belfast, especially as nearly all the linen manufacturers and merchants in Ulster assemble there on that day. Lord Lurgan owned the patent for markets and fairs, but under his jurisdiction no tolls were charged in either, except for weighing. In 1858 the Town Commissioners, by desire of Lord Lurgan, exercised general supervision over the markets, but made no alteration in the procedure regarding tolls. Negotiations were opened between the Town Commissioners and Lord Lurgan for the purchase of the patent in 1882, and on 17th of November, 1884, he transferred his title in consideration of £2,000. The market-house was included, and the value of this was assessed at £1,000. The Town Commissioners had been making many improvements, and were about to tear down the market-house to widen Market Street. Lord Lurgan had been using the upper story as an office, and prevailed upon the Commissioners to let it stand, and accept him as a tenant at £55 a year. The grass-seed market has become a great feature, and there has been a noticeable improvement in the pork market. Thus far the transactions in every department have been conducted in the open streets, preference for locality only being made for convenience in weighing. On Saturday there is a market for fresh meat, etc., and as the working hours in the factories are short, there is usually almost as much life and motion as Thursday. During the three years ending in 1888, the receipts for weighing have averaged £244 per year, but the expenditure has been in excess. The charges for weighing have not been changed for over 30 years. No bye-laws have yet been drawn to be submitted for approval to the Local Government Board. A movement, initiated some time ago, culminated in a petition to the Local Government Board, December, 1887, by the Town Commissioners, as the Urban Sanitary Authority, for a provisional order under the Public Health Act, 1878, to enable them to put in force the provisions of the Land Clauses’ Acts for the acquisition of houses and lands as the site of a market for butter, eggs, fowl and fish, and an approach by means of a new street, with good buildings on each side. An advance of £6,000 was asked as the probable cost of carrying out the scheme. In addition to providing necessary accommodation for markets, it was expected that a substantial sanitary improvement would be effected by the removal of an inhabited lane from 5 to 6 feet wide, and only 2½ feet at the entrance. It was believed that the ground left, after providing for the approach to the markets, would be worth more than the amount expended upon the entire undertaking. The Local Government Board sent down Mr. Cotton, one of its engineers, who held an inquiry, and reported that the project “appeared to be far more for a new street under Section 38 of the Public Health Act, 1878, than for a market under Section 103 of that Act. And, furthermore, the expenditure out of the proposed loan of £6,000 would be almost three times more for the works connected with the new street than providing the market, which appeared by the advertisement to be the main object of the scheme.” Having taken this view of the matter, the Local Government Board declined to accede to the request, but without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be taken in furtherance of the object in view. In a letter dated 18th May, 1888, on this subject, Mr. Thomas A. Mooney, clerk to the Local Government Board, concludes as follows: “If the Sanitary Authority see fit to publish fresh advertisements and notices in September, or October, or November next, describing fully and accurately the purposes in respect of which the lands are proposed to be taken, and their intention to make a new street, the Board will be willing to give the subject their prompt attention, and re-open the inquiry to receive evidence in the case.
A minority of the Town Commissioners have expressed disapproval of the scheme in a resolution from which I make this extract: “Wishes to thank the Local Government Board for having, in the prudent and judicious exercise of its powers, protected the ratepayers of Lurgan from the imposition of an uncalled-for, unpopular, and absurd outlay of £6,000 – an expenditure the direct result of which would be to gratify the designs of an interested few, without conferring any corresponding benefit on the many by whom it would have to be borne – to have deformed our ample market arrangements and to have opened our ethereal enterprise (without regard to physical and scientific defects), the commencement of which would have launched the town into protracted litigation, and the completion of which would inevitably have entailed a remodelling and extension of the original scheme, and an enormous waste of the public rates, against the will of the ratepayers, and without the remotest prospect of any future advantage to the town in general.” A monthly fair for cattle and pigs, on the second Thursday of every month, is held in the streets, also. At an inquiry instituted in June, 1888, by the Royal Commission on Markets and Tolls, Mr. Thomas Reburn, chairman of the Town Commissioners, testified that on market days which are also fair days, a great deal of confusion often occurs in the streets owing to the cattle, pork, butter, and sundry other articles being exposed in one place.
TOWN HALL, MECHANICS INSTITUTE, COURT HOUSE, ROYAL IRISH CONSTABULARY, UNION WORKHOUSE, GAS WORKS.
HE Town Hall is an extension of the Mechanics’ Institute from the corner of Market Street and Union Street. It was built in 1868, at a cost of about £2,300. The Assembly Room has a seating capacity for 800 people, and a platform, but no scenery. Use is made of it extensively for concerts, dramatic performances, bazaars, etc. The rent is £1 for first night and 15s. for every succeeding night. The site of the Town Hall was leased at £60 a year from the trustees of the Institute, who contributed £1,000 toward the expense. The police barrack adjoining the Town Hall, in Union Street, belongs to the Commissioners, and is rented at £36 a year, which sum deducted from the £60 paid to the Mechanics’ Institute trustees, reduces their liability to £24 a year. The amount realized by letting the Assembly Room should more than cover this, so that the maintenance of the Town Hall is really not much of a tax on the people. In January, 1858, the Mechanics’ Institute was opened, but there was a ceremony of inauguration on the 6th of March, 1859, in which the chief figure was the Lord Justice of Appeal. The Institute was intended to be of a great benefit to the community. It had a good library, reading-room, school of design, and rooms for evening classes. The building, which has a handsome front and clock tower, cost £1,400. A bazaar, held by Lady Lurgan, in conjunction with the ladies of the town and neighbourhood, realized enough to pay for the library. There was a membership of 400 to begin, and things looked well for a long run of prosperity. The School of Design proved to be a little in advance of the time, and was eventually closed, but the other features as still maintained. There are 200 members at present. Mr. James Johnston is chairman of the Committee of Management, Dr. S. Agnew, secretary, and Mr. Courtney Johnston, treasurer. The Library contains about 1,500 books, and the reading-room is supplied with the leading daily and weekly newspapers, reviews, and popular magazines. Five shillings a-year pays for use of the reading-room, and ten shillings for the reading-room and library. A billiard-room is one of the features. Members have to pay so much for each game. Chess, and kindred games, may be played without charge. By a special arrangement, in the event of failure, the Institution becomes the property of the Town Commissioners, and they are required to keep it up in accordance with the ideas promulgated at the time of foundation.
The Court-House is situated inWilliam Street. It is well appointed, and has convenient offices for the Petty Sessions Clerk, Mr. Frederick W. Magahan. A hewn-stone building, at the opposite side of the street, used to be the bridewell, but it has not been occupied for some time. Under the system of concentration, all the prisoners are sent to Her Majesty’s Prison at Armagh. Lurgan is the head of a police district, and has barracks in Union Street, Edward Street, Queen Street, and High Street, and will soon have one inNorth Street. In 1840 the Union Workhouse of Lurgan was built. It stands in handsomely laid out grounds at the corner of Union Street and John Streets, and has a farm of three acres cultivated by the inmates. Notwithstanding the fact that the town is supplied with water from street springs, at the time of my visit, March 20th, 1888, there was not one fever patient in hospital, and I was informed by the clerk, Mr. James Donaldson, that none had been admitted for about 12 weeks.
Lurgan received the advantages of gas-light in 1848. The works are in William Street, and seem to be maintained in excellent condition. They are owned by the Lurgan Gas Light and Chemical Company Limited. Although a dividend at the rate of 7½ per cent. was paid in 1887, the rate of the general consumers was only 3s. 11d. per 1000 feet. There are 23 shareholders, Mr. Samuel A. Bell, J.P., is chairman, Mr. Frederick W. Magahan, Secretary, and Mr. Thomas Tallentire, manager and engineer. In addition to the gas, the Company manufactures sulphate of ammonia.
BROWNLOW HOUSE AND DEMESNE, THE LURGAN ESTATE, LOUGH NEAGH-NAVIGATION SYSTEM, CURATIVE EFFECT OF WATERS- BOAT CLUB, LURGAN RIFLE ASSOCIATION.
ROWNLOW House, the residence of Lord Lurgan, is beautifully situated within a few minutes walk from the centre of the town. It is in the Elizabethan style of architecture, and was built in 1836 by the Right Hon. Charles Brownlow. It was called Lurgan House until Mr. Brownlow was raised to peerage. Freestone, imported from Scotland, was used in construction. Part of the mansion which existed previous to 1836, and was at that time joined to the new edifice, still continues in habitable condition. The demesne consists of about 350 acres, including an artificial lake of 53 acres. In this there are trout, tench and bream. The feeding sources of the lake are rivulets from the County Down. Part of the overflow helps to flush the town sewers, and the other part turns the corn mill of Mr. Robert McClimond, in North Street. The demesne is splendidly planted. It is open to the public every day, and serves the purposes of a park without any cost to the ratepayers. Lord Lurgan has offered to sell his estate to the tenants, under the provisions of the Ashbourne Land Purchase Act, on the following terms :- For lands in the Electoral Division of Lurgan, 18½ years’ purchase; for holdings in the Electoral Division of the Moyntaghs, 16½ years’ purchase; and for the remainder of the estate (excluding town of Lurgan, building ground, &c.), 18½ years’ purchase. Lord Lurgan has done a great deal to stimulate building operations in the town by giving long leases. Many handsome villas have been erected along the road leading to Lough Neagh, owing to this liberal policy. There is a side-walk all the way from the town, and on the edge of the lough there are seats. The side-walk was constructed by the county over three years ago. A cut from Lough Neagh, at Kinnego, is nearly 300 yards in length. It was made about the year 1863. In winter it has a depth of from 12 to 15 feet of water, and in summer from 7 to 8 feet. Lighters from 60 to 100 tons burden, come in here with coal. Mr. William John Green owns 4 vessels of this class. The captains, as a rule, live on board with their families. After paying all expenses Mr. Green divides the net profits with them. The lighters are towed from Ellis’s Cut, the Lagan Canal connection with Lough Neagh, at a fixed rate of 6s. each, with cargo, and 3s. light. The toll on vessels from Belfast to Kinnego, is 9d. per ton cargo; nothing on register. Coal and grain are the principal freights.
Kinnego Bay is good for pollen, and is “worked” by a few fishermen. Duck and Widgeon shooting is to be had in the vicinity. There is no hindrance to either shooting or fishing. At one time Lough Neagh was very much frequented by invalids. Its waters were regarded as a “sure cure” for scrofulous affections and rheumatism. The treatment consisted of bathing and drinking. In summer pleasure boats are numerous on the lough. Four belongs to the Lurgan Boat Club, which also owns 4 practice gigs, 2 “fours” and 2 “pairs.” The club was established in 1877, and has a good boat-house at Kinnego. About 30 members pay 10s. a year each. Mr. James H. Clendinning is secretary, and Mr. Patrick McGeown, treasurer. The funds show a balance to credit.
Rifle shooting is an amusement engaged in by about thirty of the residents. The Lurgan Rifle Association was established in 1886. Members pay an entrance fee of 10s. and an annual subscription of 10s. each. Mr. George Greer, J.P., chairman of the association, gives free ground for a range at Woodville. Mr. James Johnston is vice-chairman, Mr. Thomas Watson, secretary, and Mr. Thomas Faloon, treasurer. Committee meetings are held at the Mechanics’ Institute, and the practice days are Wednesday and Saturday. A team tried conclusions with the Carrickfergus Club in 1887, and won by one point. Mr. James Johnston, in 1886, presented a Challenge Silver Cup, to be won three times in succession by one member, 200, 500, and 600 yards. It weighs 40 ozs. Mr. Thomas Watson gave a Challenge Shield. The Martini-Henry is the rifle used by the members. The four highest scores in 1888, at 200, 500, and 600 yards were made by Messrs. James Gorman, Thomas Faloon, Patrick McGeown, and George Fleming.
CHURCH OF IRELAND, BELLS, CLOCK, CHANGE RINGERS, SHANKILL BUILDINGS, YOUNG MEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION, Y.M.C.A. OF THE WORLD, GIRLS’ FRIENDLY SOCIETY.
URGAN has one of the finest Protestant Episcopal churches in the County Armagh. It is situated in the middle of Church Place, and its graceful freestone spire is identified in the view of the town for miles around. The style of architecture is decorated Gothic, and the chief material in construction black stone, with freestone dressings. Ornamental iron railings inclose a tastefully laid out space, encircling the edifice. The interior of the church, as a whole, is in keeping with the exterior. Three arches, supported on freestone pillars at each side, divide the nave from the aisles. There are three galleries, one in each of the aisles, and one over the principal entrance, used for the choir, and for the organ, an excellent instrument, presented by Mr. James Malcolm in 1863. The seatings are in pitch-pine, and have a capacity for a congregation of from 800 to 900. Some fine memorial windows, in stained glass, help to embellish the chancel. One, on the south side, representing Faith, Hope and Charity, was erected as a tribute of affection from his son Charles, 2nd Baron, in 1853, to Charles 1st baron Lurgan, who died in April, 1847, ages 52. The principal window, by Meyer, of Munich, consisting of three lights, was presented by the late Mr. Francis Watson, of Lake View, in 1873. The largest light, 28 feet high, has full length figures of the Apostles Mark and Luke, and the others, 22 feet each, of Matthew and John. Tablets in the vestibule indicate that the church was built in 1725, and rebuilt in 1863. Bequests are also noted in the same place, as follows: – 1763, William Lee, interest of £100 for the poor; 1794, Joseph McVeagh, interest of £300 for decayed housekeepers; 1821, Jacob McCann, interest of £350 for the poor; 1843, Thomas English, interest of £200 and £100 each to the rector and Presbyterian Minister, to be distributed among the poor of the parish annually. The painting and decoration of the church, a noticeable feature, were done at the expense of Mr. George Greer, J.P., Woodville. An object of curious interest is the baptismal font, bearing date 1684, used in the first house of worship erected by the settlers. The re-building of the Church, etc., cost over £8,000. Very Rev. Theophilus Campbell, Dean of Dromore, is rector, and the curates are Rev. Robert Forde and Rev. Jos. S. Carolin. Eight bells, by John Taylor & Co., Loughborough were put up in the tower, 1877, and a splendid 4-dial clock, by Gillett and Bland, Croydon, in 1878. The amount spent on both, £1,500, was raised by public subscription, through the instrumentality of Mr. James Ussher, solicitor. The clock is lighted by the Town Commissioners, and is a great convenience to the community. One of the bells was paid for by the ladies, and another by the children of the parish, numbering thousands. The largest individual subscription was given by the late Mr. William Watson, of New York, £200. All but four of the subscribers were residents of the parish. As a result of the purchase of the bells, the Lurgan Society of Change Ringers was organized in 1878. It has eight members, and is conducted by Mr. William Neill. The Shankill Buildings, Coffee Palace, opposite the church cost £1,500. Mr Ussher took the initiative in raising this money also, and the rent paid by the tenant, Mr. James Dickson, goes to the Parish Fund.
The Lurgan Young Men’s Christian Association, a branch of the Y.M.C.A., of London and the world, was established about two years ago. It has 58 members, who pay an annual subscription of 2s. 6d. each. A 7 years’ lease was taken of a new house in Union Street this year, 1888. Mr. William Mahaffy is President, and Mr. Hugh Ross, and Mr. George Parke, secretaries.
In the Church of Ireland Young Men’s Society there are 100 members. Mr James Malcolm, D.L., is president, Mr. Hugh Livingston and Mr. Charles W. Neill, secretaries, and Mr. Robert Mathers, J.P., treasurer. It has a debating class, the members of which pay 1s. each per session. An extra charge of 4s. a quarter is made for the use of the reading-room. The Society was established about twenty years ago.
A branch of the girls’ Friendly Society was established in October, 1887. At the first meeting, on the 11th of the following month, over 200 girls presented themselves for membership. This number was increased to 360. Weekly meetings are held, at which instruction is given in reading, writing, spelling, and plain and fancy needlework. One meeting in the month is devoted to Bible teaching, music, and readings. The Dean of Dromore, Very Rev. T. Campbell, is president.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES, MILLAR MONUMENT, METHODIST CHURCHES, “TALKING MAN” AND JOHN WESLEY, BAPTIST CHURCH, FRIENDS, CHRISTIANS, SALVATION TEMPLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, ST. JOSEPH’S CONVENT, ST. VINCENT’S PATRONAGE.
HE first Presbyterian Church, situated in High Street, is a structure of considerable dignity, with a handsome portico. The interior is spacious, and tastefully appointed. There are three galleries, supported on fluted pillars with Ionic capitals. It is about 200 years since the congregation was formed. The Meeting House originally was at the opposite side of the same street, further down. The present church was opened in 1827. About 300 families belong to it. The Rev. Hamilton Dobbin was minister until 1844. He was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Millar, who was killed in the Trent Valley Railway accident, 1858, in the 39th year of his age. A monument facing the Court House, corner of William Street and Charles Street, was erected by “a grateful public, sensible of their deep obligation and desirous to perpetuate the memory of a good citizen, an affectionate friend, and a faithful minister of the gospel.” The Rev. Mr. Millar’s successor was the Rev. L. E. Berkeley, first convener of the Sustentation Fund in connection with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He died in 1878, and his remains are interred in the cemetery at the back of the Church. Rev. Thomas McAfee Hamill is the present minister.
At the corner of Hill and James’ Streets there is another Presbyterian church. It is in the Gothic style of architecture, and dates from 1862. The chief material used in construction is black stone with freestone corners. The interior is large and tastefully fitted throughout. Rev. J. G. Clarke, now of Athy, Co. Kildare, was in charge of the congregation at the time the church was built. There is a handsome manse situated in the outskirts of the town, toward Portadown.
Methodism in Lurgan dates from the period of John Wesley, 1767. It is recorded that he was entertained here by Mr. Miller, father of Joseph Miller, M.D., a man of great inventive genius. At that time he had completed a mechanism in the form of a man, which repeated several sentences in a full and distinct voice. It called the hour, “Past twelve o’clock. O how the time runs on!” to the admiration of Mr. Wesley. The secret of construction died with Mr. Miller. The Methodist Church, situated in High Street, was erected in 1826, and completely re-modeled in 1888, at a cost of about £800. The interior is fitted and wainscoted, for the most part, in pitch pine. One of the improvements was the raising of the ceiling two feet. There are three galleries. Two interesting mural tablets commemorate Rev John Armstrong, 60 years in the ministry, born 1788, died 1875, and John Johnston, who was distinguished for “deep and long tried love of the cause.” Died 1834. The site of the church was purchased from Mr. George Chapman. Rev. Thos. Pearson and Rev. E. Decourcey are the present ministers. A second church, belonging to the Methodists, is situated in Queen Street. It was built in 1856 by the Primitive Wesleyans, and continued in use by them until the Union. Rev. William Maguire is the present minister.
In Union Street a small Baptist congregation has worshipped for about eight years in a hall owned by Mr. Charles Baird. It was remodelled and enlarged this year, 1888. Rev. F. J. Ryan is the minister. The Friends have a Meeting House off High Street. It occupies a secluded place, and is a plain building. The date is 1696. Repairs were made in 1839. About 100 members constitute the society here.
The Christians, once known as Plymouth Brethren, have had a hall in Union Street for about 10 years. A temple was erected in Union Street about four years ago, by the Salvation Army.
Previous to 1800 the Roman Catholics had no place to worship in Lurgan. Mass was celebrated in a shed in the townland of Tannaghmore, North, about a mile from town. Mr. Brownlow in the year named gave an old mill at “the Dougher,” outside the boundary, and it as remodeled to suit the purposes of a chapel. In 1829, Charles, 1st Baron Lurgan, give a site in North Street, upon which a handsome church was erected, and dedicated in 1833 by the most Rev. Dr. Blake, Bishop of Dromore, and enlarged in 1885 so as to give seating accommodation for 2,500 worshippers. It is a cruciform edifice of black stone with granite dressings. There are three galleries. A mural tablet commemorates the Very Rev. Wm. O’Brien, D.D., P.P., builder of the church. He died in 1870, aged 74. A fine stained window in the chancel has, among other figures, one of the Apostle Peter, patron saint of the church. The parish priest at present is Rev. Arthur J. Finnigan, and the curates Rev. M. B. McConville, and Rev. P. P. Campbell.
St. Joseph’s Convent, Sisters of Mercy, situated in Edward Street, was founded about 22 years ago. It has schools under the National Board of Education for girls, infants (boys and girls), for ladies, and an industrial school, opened in 1888, and certified for 50 females. The buildings are large, and occupy part of four acres, most of which is embraced in a beautifully laid out garden at the rere. Mrs. O’Hagan is superioress.
St. Vincent’s Patronage, under the management of priests and brothers of St. Vincent de Paul, was established in October, 1882, at the request of the Rev. James McKenna, P.P. The premises occupied, include a large house, three storeys and basement, in Church Place, and about 6 acres of land. Library, reading, recreation and billiard rooms for the young men of the town, free night schools for the working classes, and a day school for boys, in which the charge is £1 a year each, are the principal features of the Patronage. Those who use the library and reading, and billiard room pay 5s. a year. It cost nearly £4,100 to found the institution. Of this £3,000 was subscribed by the Congregation in France, and the remainder in the United Kingdom. Very Rev. Emile Piché is superior, and Rev. D. F. Desmond, Director.
COLLEGE, MUSICAL AND MUSICAL AND DRAMATIC SOCIETIES, EASTER TUESDAY SPORTS, HORSE-JUMPING, DRIVING AND TROTTING, FLOWER SHOW, LAWN TENNIS, CRICKET, FOOT-BALL, AND CHESS CLUBS, ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY, MASONIC LODGES.
URGAN College is beautifully situated in extensive grounds off the Lough Road. It was founded under the will of the late Samuel Watts, dated August 3rd, 1847. He devised to trustees all his property, subject to an annuity of £300 to his widow, to erect and support an English classical and agricultural school for the education of boys resident within half a mile of the town, with a special proviso that none of the trustees or governors, or masters shall be in Holy Orders. Mr. Watts died in 1850, and his widow is now also deceased. The property was sold, and the money invested until the interest reached £4,000. The college was built in 1873, on 2 acres 2 roods of land, leased by Lord Lurgan for 1,000 years at £20 a year. The Governors are William, Baron Lurgan, Messrs. James Malcolm, D.L., John Johnston, J.P., George Greer, J.P., and Samuel W. McBride, J.P. Mr. Wm. J. Fleming is secretary, and Mr. W. T. Kirkpatrick, Head master. At present there is a clear income of nearly £400 a year to pay the expenses.
The Lurgan Musical Society was established about 4 years ago. It has between 50 and 60 members, who pay a subscription of 10s. each per season, October to March. Rehearsals are held every Thursday evening. Mr A. H. Livock, organist of the parish, Church of Ireland, is conductor, Mr George Greer, J.P., treasurer, and Messrs. James B. Hanna, and Richard G. Chism, secretaries.
In 1885 the Lurgan Musical and Dramatic Society was established. It has about 40 members paying a monthly subscription of 1s. The entrance fee is 5s. Rev. A. J. Finnigan, P.P., is President, Mr. John Kennedy, secretary, Mr. MI. Rocks, treasurer, and Mr. David McGibbon, conductor.
Thanks to the great energy displayed by Mr. William White, editor of The Lurgan Times, annual sports are held in Lord Lurgan’s demesne. In 1887 over £100 was distributed in prizes, and more than 4,000 people attended. On Easter Tuesday a programme of amusement, also in the demesne, was carried out under Mr. White’s management. It included trotting, horse-jumping and driving. Between £70 and £80 in prizes was expended. There were over 70 entries for the different “events.”
The attendance exceeded 10,000. Encouraged by the great success, Mr. White got up a mid-summer horse-jumping and driving competition, in connection with which there was a flower show. After paying expenses, the proceeds were to be given to the Coal Fund for the poor. The weather unfortunately proved unfavourable.
The Lurgan Tennis Club was established about eight years ago. It has three grass courts in Lord Lurgan’s demesne. Mr. Thomas Watson is secretary, and Mr. Courtney Johnston, treasurer. There are 40 members. Gentlemen pay a subscription of 10s. each, and ladies 5s. each.
A Chess Club, of which Dr. S. Agnew is secretary, meets at the Mechanics’ Institute. It has been in existence over ten years, and has a dozen members.
The Lurgan Demesne Cricket Club was established over 30 years ago. It has 404 members paying 10s. a year each. Mr. W. J. Allen is secretary, Mr W. R. Ross, assistant secretary, and Mr. Richard Allan, treasurer. There are several good all-round players in the club, which was in the Northern Cricket Union for 1888.
In 1876 the Lurgan Foot-ball Club was established (Rugby). It has 30 members paying 5s. a year each. The Excelsior Foot-ball Club (Juniors) was established in 1888. It has 40 members. The Lurgan College has a first-rate Foot-ball Club.
Bicycling is popular, but there is no club.
The Lurgan ornithological Society was established in 1880. It has 140 members paying from 5s. upward, each per annum. The last show of poultry, pigeons and cage-birds was held in the Town Hall, December 26 and 27, 1887. Mr. Joseph S. Watson is president, Mr. James Dickson, and Mr. Robert Mathers, jun., secretaries, and Mr. James Dickson, treasurer.
Freemasonry in Lurgan dates from 1743. There are two lodges at present: 134 and 24. Both meet at the Mechanics’ Institute.
MANUFACTURING INTERESTS, THE OLD DIAPER HALL.
HE manufacturing interests of Lurgan are almost entirely connected with the linen trade. But for it the growth of the town might have been confined within very narrow limits. William Waring, M.P. for Hillsborough, CountyDown, introduced the manufacture of diapers here, and at Waringstown about the same time, shortly after the accession of Queen Anne, 1702. The people of Lurgan and district showed an intelligent appreciation of his kindness, and made substantial progress in acquiring the knowledge which he imparted. When the training had proved effective the sale of webs began to be a feature of the weekly market. It was then held on Friday, in accordance with the patent granted to Mr. William Brownlow by William III. Linen merchants stood in the open street, and made purchases, paying for and receiving the goods afterward at the hotels. At the beginning of the present century a Linen Hall was built by subscription. It was thronged every Friday by hand-loom weavers, who exposed their webs on long tables provided for the purpose. In 1825 the weekly sales averaged from £2,500 to £3,000. The hall had a railing round it, and occupied a space which is now included in Church Place. Eventually the merchants changed their modes of dealing with the weavers to such an extent that the hall was abolished in 1865. The first power-loom weaving factory was built by the father of Mr. James Malcolm, D.L., in 1855. Up to the present his example has not been followed by half a dozen out of the large number of manufacturers whose names are recorded alphabetically at page 377. (Click Street Directory to view the manufacturers). Lurgan manufacturers make handkerchiefs, plain and embroidered, a great feature. Basing a calculation upon the statements made to me by each manufacturer personally, or through his manager, I find that almost 18,000 hand-loom weavers are employed in the furtherance of enterprises wholly or partly directed from Lurgan. The weavers nearly all live in Armagh, Down, Antrim, and Tyrone, and the yarns are given out to them at offices in Lurgan and at central points in the other counties. The same manufacturers give out embroidery work to thousands of women throughout the province of Ulster. Nearly 2,500 people are employed as inside workers in the power-loom factories and preparing departments of the manufacturers by hand-loom. Since 1866, when the first hemstitching factory was erected, this branch has increased until it now provides inside employment for about 2,400 people.
Fifty years ago, two breweries and a distillery consuming 15,000 tons of grain annually, were flourishing. So also were two tobacco factories. One of the breweries, Mr. James Johnston’s, started over a hundred years ago, still exists. The other, the distillery, and the tobacco works have been replaced by mineral water factories. Brick-making is carried on to a considerable extent.
MR. JAMES MALCOLM’S ENTERPRISES.
HE Malcolm’s have been for a great many years prominently identified with the manufacturing interests of Lurgan. Mr. James Malcolm, father of Mr. James Malcolm, D.L., J.P., during the palmy days of hand-loom weaving, was extensively engaged in the manufacture of cambric. He introduced power looms in this part of the country, erecting a factory for the purpose in 1855. The commotion created among the hand-loom weavers was so great, that they collected in a body, two years later, apparently with the intention of forcing him to abandon the enterprise. A public meeting of the residents of the town, called for the purpose, under the chairmanship of the seneschal, Mr. John Hancock, J.P., soon afterward, pass a series of resolutions in the highest degree complimentary to Mr. Malcolm, and they were handsomely engrossed and presented to him. At his death in 1864, the present proprietor succeeded. He had already been in active association with his father in the management of the concern, and soon began to make important structural alterations and extensions, increasing the number of power looms largely. The manufactures are confined to cambric and cambric handkerchiefs – employment being provided for about 500 people in this department. In 1866 Mr. Malcolmson purchased the patents taken out by Mr. Joseph B. Robertson, and established the first factory in the United Kingdom for hemstitching by machines. This is situated in Union Street, and gives employment to about 350 people. At first it worked in conjunction with the weaving factory only, and of merchants of Lurgan and Belfast. The buildings and premises, including those of the weaving factory off High Street, and the Union Street factory, extended over an area of ten acres, in the heart of the town. Steam is the motive power at both factories. Mr. Malcolm is also an extensive stock owner in and director of the New Northern Spinning and Weaving Company, Limited, Belfast.
THE LURGAN WEAVING COMPANY, LIMITED.
ROWNLOW Terrace is a part of the town which strikes the eye of the stranger on entering Lurgan by rail from Belfast. It contains the handsome buildings and grounds belonging to the Model School, and a number of comfortable dwellings erected for work-people by the Lurgan Weaving Co., Limited. At the back of these houses the tall chimney-shaft of the Company’s power loom weaving factory appears prominently in the view. The property of the Company has a frontage at Brownlow Terrace of 326 feet, and a depth of 394 feet. Nearly all of this is occupied by buildings. There are in the factory 472 looms, driven by a 200 horse compound horizontal condensing engine. Brick and glass are the chief materials in the construction of the bays. The manufactures include the weaving of cambric and cambric handkerchiefs of the finest quality, and the finest linen for shirting and under-clothing. Sale is made of the goods in the unbleached state to the manufacturers and merchants of Lurgan, Belfast, and generally of the North of Ireland. The Lurgan Weaving Company, Limited, was organized in 1881, with the object of purchasing the interest in the present concern from Messrs. William and James Macoun, who has for about twenty years engaged in the manufacture of cambric and cambric handkerchiefs. Messrs. Macoun had 376 looms running, and the Lurgan Weaving Company, Limited, added 96 to this number, and replaced about half the old machinery by new, containing the latest improvements. Thirty houses for work-people, situated in Mary Street and Brownlow Terrace, were built by the Company, and factory alterations and extensions were made which required a considerable outlay. The directors are – Mr. Samuel A. Bell, J.P., Belle Vue, Lurgan, chairman; Mr Frederick W. Bell, Belle Vue, Lurgan; Mr. Thomas A. Dickson, M.P.,Dublin; Mr W. J. Hurst, J.P., Drumaness, Co. Down; Mr. James Brown, J.P., Donaghmore, Co. Tyrone; Mr. Alexander Hannah, Glasgow; and Mr. H. G. MacGeagh, Derry Lodge, Lurgan, the managing director.
MESSERS. JOHNSTON, ALLEN & CO.
ESSRS. Johnston, Allen & Co. occupy a prominent position among the manufacturers of Lurgan. The firm was established in 1867 for the manufacture of linen and cambric handkerchiefs by hand-loom, and a beginning was made giving out yarns to about 500 cottage weavers. Within ten years this number had been increased to 1,000. The cloth was all sold in the brown state. Arrangements were then made for a bleaching and finishing department, and for the erection of a hemstitching factory by machine power, which gave additional employment to 300 inside workers. The enterprises enumerated are all carried out in premises consisting of about a statute acre, fronting William Street, and extending to Ulster Street.
Early in 1888 the firm decided to erect the power loom factory. Messrs. Young and MacKenzie, the eminent Belfast architects, supplied the design, and by a very important economical improvement, they have effected a great saving of space in the interior of the factory. The building, which fronts Victoria Street, occupies with the premises, three acres. The chief materials of the structure are brick and glass. Capacity is afforded for more than 500 looms, driven by a Coates compound tandem engine, 18- horse power indicated. The chimney shaft is 150 feet high, with a centre cylinder about 60 feet. By the erection of the Victoria Street factory a further addition of 500 has been made to the total number of work people. The manufactures consist of the finest linen cambric handkerchiefs, and the finest clear lawn cambric. Mr. James Johnston and Mr. Joseph Allen constitute the firm of Johnston, Allen and Co.
MESSRS. JOHN S. BROWN & SONS.
ESSRS. John S. Brown & Sons, as manufacturers, have a world-wide reputation. Mr. James Brown laid the foundation of their business at Lurgan in 1795, making linens and damasks special features. The late Mr. John Shaw Brown, his nephew, succeeded Mr. James Brown in 1843. Soon afterward a partnership was formed between Mr. Brown, Mr. James Magee, and Mr. W. Liddell, and the same line of work continued at Lurgan until 1860, when Mr. Magee retired. The style of the firm then became Brown and Liddell, and head-quarters were at Belfast. Six years later this partnership was dissolved. Mr. Brown then took up the work entirely on his own account. He built the factory at St. Ellen’s County Down. It is situated within four and a half miles of Belfast, and has 380 looms engaged in the weaving of damasks, linens, hucks, and towels. The driving power is provided by steam and water, and the buildings and premises embrace about five acres. In 1872 Messrs. John, William K., and George Herbert Brown, sons, were taken into partnership. Mr John Brown retired in 1883, and in 1887 Mr. John Shaw Brown died, leaving the business to Messrs. William K. and George Herbert Brown, the present proprietors. Not long after the death of Mr. Brown, Mr. Thomas H. Magee also died, and the business was purchased by Messrs. John S. Brown & Sons, who continue to carry it on at Lurgan, under the style of Thomas H. Magee & Co. Employment is given at St. Ellen’s, 1,500 hand-loom weavers of Armagh, Down, Antrim and Tyrone, and to over 3,000 wives and daughters of small farmers at hand embroidery. Messrs. Brown make a speciality of the weaving of monograms, crests, coats of arms, and flags on linen supplied to families, steamship companies, yacht clubs, hotels, etc. They are manufacturers to the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and all the Members of the Royal Family; have contracts for supplying damasks to the Admiralty; manufacture all the linen for the House of Commons restaurant, the Midland and London and North Western Railways, the Grand, Metropole, 1st Avenue, Langham, Inns of Court, and Charing Cross Hotels, London; the principal clubs of the United Kingdom; the Windsor, 5th Avenue, and St. James’s Hotels, and Hoffman House, New York; and the Grand Pacific Hotel, Chicago. Prize medals for superior merit were obtained for their goods; Dublin, 1865 and 1872; Belfast, 1870; Paris – Gold – 1867; and Philadelphia, 1876.