Category Archives: Industry

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.



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:


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.