Category Archives: Industry

Summer Tour Bookings: All you need to know

Summer Tour Bookings: All you need to know

All you need to know about our Summer Tour Bookings.

Bookings for our summer season of tours are now starting to come in.  Since Portadown Heritage Tours was launched in 2017 we have had some great visitors from across the world with genelogical links to the town.

This year is no different.  We are already working on some genealogical research for visitors coming to the town this summer to research their family roots.  A lot of them have had family members in early generations who were in the Loyal Orders.  The family members may not have much knowledge on the Loyal Orders.  We take them on a historical journey and provide as much information as we can.

Tours available to book this summer.

We provide three main tours.  The tour of Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre, Portadown Town Walking Tour and The Siege of Drumcree Tour.  The Siege of Drumcree Tour and Carleton Street Orange Hall Tour are proving popular this year.  For the summer months only, we are offering these two tours as a package tour.  Within this package we provide refreshments to visitors.  We do recommend small bookings of up to four people to get the best experience.

The Portadown Town Walking Tour is a great experience to learn about the development of the town from the plantation years.  The tour follows the story of the ‘Hub of the North’ and the great industrial heritage that led to the town earning that title. Once again we do recommend small groups for the best experience.

General Information and bookings

We are finding that a lot of visitors now are booking all three tours together.  This is great to see although if you are doing that we recommend spreading the tours over a couple of days.  There is quite a lot to take in on the tours and it can be quite intense to do all three in one day.  Although if you thoroughly enjoy history some visitors may not mind this!

There are some dates throughout the summer that the tours are not available. This is due to cultural celebrations within the Loyal Orders.  Those dates are listed below:

  • Saturday 8th June
  • Thursday 11th July – Monday 15th July
  • Saturday 10th August
  • Saturday 21st September-Saturday 28th September

Portadown Heritage Tours operate through donations.  We do have set prices in place for refreshments provided. We have recommended donations for each tour.  For bookings and more information contact our office on 38332010 or book online at www.portadownheritagetours.co.uk.

Launching a new twist to the town tour for families.

In June we will also be launching a Family Fun Town Trail.  This will take the theme of a treasure trail and will be available on certain days throughout the summer.

 

 

The Collen Women and their strong influence on Orangeism

The Collen Women and their strong influence on Orangeism

The Collen family have their roots firmly in the building, construction and development of Portadown.

The Collen family have been involved in the building trade since 1810.  Collen Brothers opened their doors for business in 1867 in Carleton Street, Portadown. John Collen took the lead in establishing the new family company along with his brothers Richard, Joseph and David.  Collen brothers managed to secure a wide variety of contracts not only in Portadown but also throughout Ulster.

The Collen Brothers built Carleton Street Orange Hall.  The outside facade of the hall holds a strong resemblance to the Blacker family residence that was Carrickblacker House.  The firm became the main contractor for public works in the town.  The company expanded well beyond its native region, extending its reach to Dublin in the early 1870’s.

 

Carrickblacker House

Carleton Street Orange Hall

 

Strong Unionist Links

John Collen acquired a local residence at Killycomain House which became the family home. He was an important figure in the town and a prominent Methodist. He was appointed Justice of the Peace for Portadown and emerged as a leading member of the local Unionist Party. He was a member of the General Committee of the North Armagh Unionist Association during the first decade of the twentieth century.

He was selected to represent Portadown Urban District Council as a member of Armagh County Council.  He remained a member of the Council for over two decades until his retirement due to ill health in 1920.  John Collen was also appointed as Deputy Lieutenant for the County in December 1906, retaining the post until his death in 1921.  He also served as high sheriff of Armagh in 1911, attending the coronation of King George V.

The Collen woman and Orangeism in Portadown

Perhaps it was the influence of their father’s strong unionist views, but it was two of John Collen’s Daughters that paved the way for the Women’s Loyal Orange Institution in Portadown.  Louisa and Jessie Collen were prominent Orangewomen of Portadown.  The Association of Loyal Orange Women of Ireland, Armagh No.3 District, Portadown was formed on 21st May 1923.  There were three District Lodges functioning at this time.

The Officers were:

  • District Mistress Sister Mrs. McDonald
  • Deputy District Mistress Sister Jessie Collen
  • District Chaplain Sister Miss McDonald
  • District Secretary Sister Mrs J Logan
  • District Treasurer Sister Miss Dougan

Louisa Shillington (nee Collen)

Louisa Collen married David Graham Shillington in 1895.  The Shillington family were also very important in the development of Portadown.  David Graham Shillington was a proud Unionist, Methodist and Military man.  He served as District Master of Portadown LOL No.1 from 1926 until 1944.

Louisa was influential in the development of Women’s Orangeism and Unionism in Portadown.  Sister Shillington held office in WLOL 62, a lodge based in Carleton Street Orange Hall and still going strong to this day.  The Lodge was the first to be formed in Portadown on 21st May 1921.  Louisa was also President of the Women’s Unionist Association Portadown Branch.

Louisa Shillington (Nee Collen)
Image courtesy of Shillington Family records

Jessie Collen

Jessie Collen was the youngest daughter of John and Mary Collen.  Sister Collen was the first Worshipful Mistress of WLOL 101, based at Edenderry Orange Hall in the town.  According to newspaper records it was her Sister Louisa Shillington that officially opened Edenderry Orange Hall.  The Lodge was formed on 8th May 1923.  Sister Collen was also the first Deputy District Mistress of Armagh No.3 District, Portadown.

Records show that Jessie was influential in representing Women’s Orangeism at many different parades and events.  One notable event that Sister Collen attended was the visit of their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of York to Northern Ireland in 1924 along with Sisters Mrs McDonald and Miss Shaw.  There is no mention of representation from the men of Portadown District LOL No.1.  But both organisations of the Orange Institution of Portadown worked very closely together, so it is thought that the Sisters in attendance were a representation of the Portadown Orange Institution as a whole.

Working Together

Through obvious family links a strong working relationship was developed between both the men’s orange institution and the women’s orange institution in Portadown. The District Officers of the Women’s Association would have paraded at the front along with the District Officers of Portadown District LOL No.1.  According to Newspaper records they shared out attendances at events and often would have had joint church services and parades.  The effects of this strong relationship built in the 1920’s is still present today.

A lasting Memorial to Jessie Collen

Jessie Collen died on New Year’s Eve in 1931.  She had been living at 5 Deramore Park , Belfast located in the Malone area in the South of the city.  But she passed away at the residence of her eldest brother, Thomas John Collen esquire, at 20 Bethia Road Bournemouth, England.  It is thought that she was only in her late fifties when she died.

In 1937, six years after Sister Collen’s death, Edenderry Women’s LOL 101 was officially renamed ‘The Jessie Collen Memorial Women’s LOL 101’ as a lasting tribute to the memory of its first Worshipful Mistress.  Under the auspices of the lodge, a small function took place in Edenderry Orange Hall on 14th April 1937 to mark the occasion.  There were a number of visitor’s present including D.M. Bro Major David Graham Shillington, Sister Louisa Shillington (nee Collen) D.M of WLOL 62 and Br R.J Magowan W.M of Edenderry Temperance and Benefit LOL No.322.

Jessie Collen is buried in the Collen family plot at Seagoe Cemetery.

Jessie Collen Memorial WLOL 101

 

Sources:

Collen 200 years of Building and Civil Engineering in Ireland, John Walsh

Portadown Times articles 1923-1937

Portadown District LOL No.1 2005 County Demonstration booklet

NAI, Census of Ireland 1901 and 1911, Household return for John Collen

 

 

A Successful Orange Heritage Week 2018 in Portadown

A Successful Orange Heritage Week 2018 in Portadown

We Brought Orange Heritage Home to the Orange Citadel!

Futures Bright for Orange Heritage

Orange Heritage Week saw the release of our audio tours, using i-Beacon technology, the first of its kind in any tourist building in Northern Ireland.

 

The kids treasure trail was a big success and proved that Orange Heritage Week can be enjoyed by all ages.  The kids were given free rain of the hall and they throughly enjoyed their time exploring it and discovering a little bit of history along the way.  They enjoyed finding the treasure and their party afterwards with juice and treats.

Release of our Exhibitions

We had three Exhibitions open during Orange Heritage Week.  These included Portadown Orangemen on the Western Front, Orange & Industry and Drumcree: 20 Years on.  The exhibitions displayed local history and its connections to Orange Heritage within the town. Love it or hate it, theres no doubt about it, Orange Heritage runs deep into the history of Portadown.  The exhibitions took a while to get through, with visitors coming back over a couple of days to explore them.

 

Band Performances & Public Talks

We would like to say a big thank you to Star of David Accordion band for their open concert they performed on the Monday night.  It showcased the week nicely, highlighting the importance of music throughout Orange Heritage.  Also a big thank you to Historian Robert Wallace for his two very interesting talks on ‘The Williamite Wars in the European Context’ and ‘The Palaces of William and Mary’.  Both proved a very good insight into the beginnings of the Orange Culture and history.  Link Below for a short video of the bands performance.

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Spooky Times Ahead..

We have Ghost Tours running throughout October! To kick those of we had our first Ghost Tour of the season during Orange Heritage Week.  This proved very popular and we hope everyone had a good time, there was a few laughs along the way as well as the scary bits!

Finishing on a high!

To finish the festival off we had our MacMillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning! We are happy to announce we raised a total of £295.  We are delighted with the total and we have our visitors support to thank for that.

 

Its a Thank You from us!

We would like to thank everyone who supported us for our festival of events for Orange Heritage Week.  To all our visitors who attended your support is very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

Linen Industry Exhibition at Carleton Street Heritage Centre

Linen Industry Exhibition at Carleton Street Heritage Centre

 Exciting Linen Industry exhibition in Portadown!

Portadown Heritage Tours and Carleton Street Heritage Centre, in association with Craigavon Museum Services, is proud to host a special Linen Industry exhibition celebrating the history of the once mighty local linen industry in the area.

 

Photo credit: Portadown Heritage Tours

Rise and fall of the mills on the local skyline.

The exhibition charts more than 300 years of history of the linen industry in North Armagh; from its 17th century beginnings as a cottage industry, through to its industrialisation in the 19th century which saw the mighty mills and factories come to dominate the skylines of Portadown and Lurgan, to its eventual demise in the latter 20th century.

Photo credit: http://www.cragiavonhistoricalsociety.org.uk

 

For your eyes only..

On display will be a range of artefacts, documents, photographs, oral history interviews and samples of the many linen products for which the area became renowned.  Among the famous companies mentioned will be McCaw Allan, Spence Bryson, C. Blanes and Son, Johnston and Allen and Achesons.

When and Where?

The exhibition will be held in Carleton Street Orange Hall, Portadown.  The opening night of the exhibition will be Wednesday 7th March form 7pm-9pm.  The opening times are listed below:

Thursday 8th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Friday 9th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Saturday 10th March: 2pm-4pm

Tuesday 13th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 14th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Thursday 15th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Friday 16th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Saturday 17th March: 2pm-4pm

David Weir of Craigavon Museum Services will be giving a talk on Monday 12th March at 7pm regarding the linen Industry in the local area.

Everyones Welcome!

This is a free exhibition and everyone is welcome to Carleton Street Orange Hall.  There is good disability access into the hall and we recommend parking in William Street Car Park or the Fair Green Car park both within a short walking distance to the Orange Hall. We invite everyone to come along and learn about your local history and heritage!

 

 

 

The Boroughs first Mayors show

The Boroughs first Mayors show

The Boroughs first ever Mayor’s show was held on 27th May 1966 and was organised by Portadown junior chamber of commerce.  The Chief emphasis of the event was to showcase Portadown’s Industrial capacity. The show featured a procession of decorated floats, with local bands and organisations including youth organisations taking part.

Mayors Show 1966 f copy

Portadown Mayor at the time was Collr. R.J. Williamson.  An award for the best float on display was up for grabs, although this was not an easy win, as the competition was open to all of Co.Armagh.  It was described as the best event of its kind outside of Belfast.  The Chairman of the organising committee was Mr Bob Raj.

Mayors Show 1966 d[1] copyMayors Show 1966 a[1] copy

Portadowns’ Linen Links

Portadowns’ Linen Links

Portadown has a long standing link with the united states of America, notably the city of Manchester, in the state of Connecticut.  The reason for this special link was that the great Cheney Mills in Manchester, USA, periodically sent recruitment teams to Portadown, to offer employment to linen workers in the towns factories.

Linen was the main industry in the town from the mid 1800’s.  But there were periods when the industry fell on difficult times due to world recession and other factors.

Manchester, USA, acquired a sizeable Portadown population from the 1880’s right through to the years between the two world wars of the 20th century.

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Irwins Bakery

Irwins Bakery

W.D Irwin and his wife Ruth opened a small bakery in Woodhouse Street, Portadown in about 1912.  Ruth Irwin (nee Palmer) and her sister baked fresh bread from the Woodhouse Street premises and sold it to the people of the town.  The demand for fresh bread increased and business went from strength to strength over the next 20 years.  In the 1930’s the transportation of the bread in horse and car was replaced by motorised vehicles in order to deliver to outlying areas.

W.D Irwin was elected by his fellow councillors to the position of Mayor of Portadown in the 1950’s.  The famous Nutty Crust loaf was introduced to the market in the early 1960’s.

The company outgrew its business setup in Portadown and a new bakery was officially opened in the Carne area on 13th February 1995 by Baroness Benton, minister for economy and agriculture at the time.

The company is now Northern Irelands largest independent bakery and supplies a wide range of products to supermarkets throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland.

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