Portadown Heritage Tours are hosting the Memorials to Sacrifice Exhibition at Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre for the month of February.
The Memorials to Sacrifice Exhibition highlights Orange Halls, throughout Northern Ireland, that were built as memorials in the aftermath of the Great War. ‘Memorials to Sacrifice’ is the latest initiative by the Museum of Orange Heritage marking the centenary of the Armistice, and the contribution of members of the Orange Institution on the front line.
Why the Exhibition is so important to Carleton Street Orange Hall.
Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre has its own story to tell about it’s place in the Great War and the many Orangemen of Portadown District who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who came home again.
Carleton Street Orange Hall is home to the Ex-Servicemen’s Lodge and Preceptory of Portadown District. The Lodge was formed in 1946 after the Second World War and the Preceptory was formed a couple of years later in 1949. Its members were made up of First and Second World War Veterans. This year Portadown Ex-Servicemen’s RBP 326 will celebrate its 70th Anniversary.
The reasons these Memorial halls were built after the war reflect the same meaning behind the formation of the Ex-Servicemen’s Lodge. It was a place ex-soldiers could socialise, reminisce and have a brotherhood after the armed forces.
History behind the Exhibition
It is estimated upwards of 20 halls owned or primarily used by Orange Lodges were erected as memorials to Orangemen who paid the supreme sacrifice during the First World War. Such properties remain actively used by the Institution at locations across Northern Ireland, including Randalstown, Muckamore, Tullylish, Templepatrick, Dungannon and Ballymacarrett in East Belfast.
There is an accompanying booklet with the exhibition which can be purchased. The Booklet states;
“The War Memorial Orange Halls were not just erected to provide a meeting place for Lodges and Preceptories, they also provided a place where Ex-Servicemen could meet to socialise and to reminisce. They also provided a place in which the core values of the Orange Order could be presented to members of the local community”.
The halls were often built by the brethren or by Ex-Servicemen and often had facilities-for example, washrooms, toilets, central heating, electricity- that were still absent in many residential properties.
Commenting on the exhibition, museum curator Jonathan Mattison said “We are delighted to launch this educational national travelling exhibition and informative booklet, which underlines the extent and contribution of Orangeism to the Great War, and its lasting legacy for local communities.
The exhibition will be on show in the Heritage Centre of Carleton Street Orange Hall for the month of February. It will be open Monday-Thursday 9:15am until 4:15pm and Friday 9:15am until 1:15pm. For visitors who can’t make it during the day, it was also be open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 7:30pm until 8:30pm.
For parents and guardians, there is also a Kids activity corner available with lots of fun activities relating to the Great War. This will keep the kids busy allowing the parents and guardians time to enjoy the exhibition.
Exhibition Information provided by Museum of Orange Heritage.