Category Archives: History

Portadown Community Remembers 100 Years On

Portadown Community Remembers 100 Years On

The community of Portadown have come together to mark the Centenary of the 1st World War.

The end of October and the start of November has seen lots of events by the community of Portadown.  They have come together to mark the end of the Great War 100 years on.  Events have took place in Churches, Community Halls and Orange Halls throughout the town.  The rededication of the towns War Memorial has led the way.

Carleton Street Orange Hall

At Carleton Street Orange Hall Portadown Heritage Tours took a different approach. We have displayed an outside exhibition of flags of the countries of the the British Commonwealth along with Poppies and silhouettes of Soldiers in the windows.  Lights were added to give a night time feature.  On Sunday 11th November at 5:30pm there will be a short act of remembrance outside the hall.  The Last Post will be played by a Bugler from the top window. Then a silence will follow and the Pipers Lament.  We welcome everyone to join us.

Carleton Street Orange Hall

An excellent exhibition was also displayed inside the hall and hosted by RBP 25.  On Friday 2nd November the Dance Hall was transformed into a pop up museum by Lisbellaw and South Fermanagh World War One Society.  They were displaying lots of items of great significance from trenches and uniforms to badges and medical equipment.  An act of Remembrance and a wreath laying ceremony was also held in the Bell Room on the night by Portadown Royal Black District Chapter No.5.

Display in the Dance Hall at Carleton Street

Edenderry Orange Hall

Edenderry Community Development Association hosted a great evening in Edenderry Orange Hall on Friday 2nd November.  There was a World War 1 display, Children’s entertainment, war-time songs and a tea party.  The evening also included the presentation of ‘There But Not There Tommy’s to Seagoe Church Of Ireland, Edenderry 1st Presbyterian Church and Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church.

The evening was an absolute credit to the organisers and volunteers of Edenderry Community Development Association and was very well supported.  As a community group they have organised and gained funding for some excellent events throughout the years and continue to work very hard for their local area.

Members of Portadown Ex Servicemen’s LOL 608 and RBP 326 with members of the wartime re-enactment group who supplied the 1st World War display at Edenderry Orange Hall.

An evening enjoyed by everyone at Edenderry Orange Hall

It was a family gathering for the Partridge’s and Branyan’s at Edenderry on the night.

St Colomba’s Parish Church

St Columba’s Church have also held a series of events throughout the week to mark the Centenary of the 1st World War. A community day was held on Saturday 3rd November.  This was followed by a ‘Reflections Musical Evening’ then on Tuesday 6th, ‘Keep the home fires burning’ fashion show and entertainment also on Wednesday 7th, an ‘Air and Graces Musical Evening’ on Thursday 8th November at 7:30pm.  This will include music by Ballymoughan Purple Guards and Flute Band Church. Local WWI Historian Richard Edgar is also Speaking.

The Exhibition at the Church is open to Saturday 10th November at 5pm.  It is well worth a visit.  There has been lot of hard work and organising that has went into the exhibition and events. Well done to all involved.

A very unique part of the Exhibition in St Columba’s Church, Portadown.

Remaining events at St Columba’s Church

Thomas Street Methodist Church

Thomas Street Methodist Church are hosting a series of events ‘A Time to Remember and Reflect’.  The Church will be open for prayer and reflection on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th November, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. There are displays of memorabilia which will be in place around the Church to aid your Remembrance and Reflection.

On Friday 9th November, Wesley Hall in Portmore Street will be hosting an evening of music and song.  This will feature the SWING GALS and the Ormeau Concert Band. Talks by Richard Edgar and Denver Pearson.  Refreshments will be provided on the night.

 

Remembrance Day

The Remembrance Day Parade on Sunday 11th November will be leaving Thomas Street at 10:30am. It will proceed to Market Street, West Street and High Street.  Parade will return up Market Street and to the town’s war memorial for the wreath laying ceremony.  Thomas Street Methodist Church will host the civic Remembrance Service on Sunday at 11:45am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carleton Street Orange Hall is not your average Orange Museum….

Carleton Street Orange Hall is not your average Orange Museum….

Thinking of a visit to Carleton Street Orange Hall? It’s not your average Orange Museum….

Is your Lodge or Organisation looking somewhere a bit different to visit? Well Portadown Heritage Tours can offer you that very opportunity!

Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre is a unique opportunity which just so happens to be right at home in the Orange Citadel.  The foundation stone for this iconic building was laid on the present site in 1873 and was opened in 1875.

Carleton Street Orange Hall

Tour Packages with a difference.

Portadown Heritage Tours host tour packages to this iconic Orange Hall.  The Hall is fitted with i-Beacon Technology the first of its kind in any tourist building in Northern Ireland, thanks to Ballymena based company Brilliant Trails. This technology means the hall is fully equipped with an audio tour which works through the Portadown Heritage Tours app. Each room within the Hall is named after an Orangeman of Portadown District who had a great influence in the development of Portadown as a town.

We provide visitors with an iPad to use for the duration of their visit. Visitors can take their time exploring the rooms while listening to the rooms historical significance.  If your not comfortable working technology, don’t worry! We have tour guides on hand to offer guidance during your visit.

Group and Lodge Packages available.

Friendly Tour Guides on hand!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During your visit..

Our Lodge and Group Packages include the Audio Tour of the Hall along with very tasty refreshments and a room to hold your meeting in.  Portadown Heritage Tours provide guides who are Community Tour Guides.  We are a unique organisation in this sense. We are all local people telling the local stories that make up Portadown’s history and heritage!   Although all the guides are trained to WorldHost Standard, we definitely like to have the ‘craic’ along the way.

Why we highly recommend a visit to Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre!

Orange Heritage is definitely making its mark on the local tourism scene throughout Northern Ireland.  But Carleton Street Orange Hall is not your normal Orange Museum!  The Orange Culture itself is very much alive and vibrant no matter what view you may have of it.  Therefore the approach that Portadown Heritage Tours have took towards our tours of the Hall is very simple.  We have opened the doors of this iconic Hall so that absolutely everyone can come and explore the Orange Culture first hand in an actual Orange Hall.

Every room is part of the Heritage Centre in its own right. There is artefacts and documents on display in every single room.  But those rooms are still actively used by all sorts of organisations of the Loyal Orders, Bands and Community Groups.  We have took the term ‘Living History’ to a whole new level.  Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre is by no means just an Orange Museum. This iconic Hall is a living history showcase of the Orange Families Culture; past, present and future.  The hall is an absolute must see within the Orange Heritage sites of County Armagh, make it your first stop!

Bell Room Photo credit: Tony Hendron

Whitten Room Photo Credit: Tony Hendron

Our Positive Reviews

Our Visitors book is busting with positive reviews. Visitors are genuinely blown away from the minute they step inside Carleton Street Orange Hall.  The first thing that will catch your attention is the iconic tilled floor of the hallway.  After that, room after room will surprise you.  We estimate an hour and a half for the tour of the hall, but you could easily get lost in its history for hours.

Thank you to you all for such an interesting afternoon.  The whole group absolutely loved it and we were all fascinated by different aspects of it.  The passion you all have for the history and culture of Portadown was evident and thank you for sharing it with us.

Ann

Book Now!

To Book a visit to Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre contact the Portadown Heritage Tours office on 028 38332010 or email shout@portadownheritagetours.co.uk.  For Lodges and Organisations we can build and mould a tour package that suits the needs of your group.

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.

 

 

 

 

Orange Heritage Week 2018 21st – 28th September

Orange Heritage Week 2018 21st – 28th September

 Orange Heritage Week 2018 – Celebrating Orange Heritage in the Orange Citadel

 

Portadown Heritage Tours are pleased to announce the launch of their new festival of events ‘Celebrating Orange Heritage in the Orange Citadel’ for Orange Heritage Week from 21st – 28th September 2018.  Portadown is known as the Orange Citadel because of its rich Orange Heritage and the formation of the first organised Orange District which set the precedent for all future Districts and Grand Lodge.  Orange Heritage Week was launched in 2017 by The Grand Lodge of Ireland as an opportunity for all communities to learn and celebrate Orange Heritage throughout the Country.  It covers Diamond Day to Covenant Day.

Portadown Heritage Tours are hosting lots of events throughout the festival suitable for the whole community.

 Friday 21st September

There will be two audio tours of Carleton Street Orange Hall.  The hall has recently been fitted with iBeacon technology for audio tours which is the first of its kind in any tourist building in Northern Ireland.  The Technology works through The Portadown Heritage Tours App which is available to download on Android and Apple devices.  The audio tours are available at 14:30 and 19:00, iPads are provided for the Audio Tour, but booking is essential.

Saturday 22nd September

There will be a Kids Treasure Trail at Carleton Street Orange Hall at 14:00.  This is suitable for ages five and above, but younger children are more than welcome to come and join the fun.  This particular event is proving to be very popular, so booking is essential.

Monday 24th September – Friday 28th September,

Will see the launch of our three exhibitions in Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre.  Exhibitions are open 10:00-15:00 , they include Drumcree: 20 years on, Portadown Orangemen on the Western Front and also Orange & Industry.  Also, between 19:00 and 20:00, Star of David Accordion Band will be hosting an open concert and from 20:15 there will be a talk by Robert Wallace, Historian and WDM of Portadown Royal Black, on the ‘Williamite wars in the European Context’.  There is no booking required for these events.

Tuesday 25th September

Robert Wallace will be back to give another talk this time on ‘The Houses of Orange’, which will look at the palaces of William and Mary.  This talk begins at 20:15 and no booking is required.

Wednesday 26th September and Thursday 27th September

There will also be a Town Walking Tour leaving Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre at 19:00 on Wednesday 26th September and Thursday 27th September at 20:00 will see the return of our Ghost Tour.  Once again these are very popular events and booking is essential.  The Ghost Tours will be running twice a week during the month of October in the run up to Halloween.

Friday 28th September

Portadown Heritage Tours will also be hosting a Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee morning on Friday 28th September between 10:00 and 12:30 at Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre and everyone is welcome!

For bookings contact the Portadown Heritage Tours office on 38332010 or out of hours number 07928962608.  Also email shout@portadownheritagetours.co.uk or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or online www.portadownheritagetours.co.uk.  Portadown Heritage Tours is supported through PEACE IV funding.

 

 

Drumcree: 20 years on Film show and Exhibition

Drumcree: 20 years on Film show and Exhibition

Drumcree: 20 years on

Portadown Orange District LOL 1 in association with Portadown Heritage Tours and Carleton Street Heritage Centre are hosting an Exhibition and film show ‘Drumcree:  twenty years on’ to mark twenty years since the banning of the return parade from Drumcree.

Photo credit: Portadown Heritage Tours

Where did it all begin?

The July anniversary Church parade to Drumcree is the oldest Orange Church Parade in the world.  This fact alone gives a great sense of pride to Portadown Orange District.  The parade first took place in 1807 a mere decade after the formation of the Orange Institution in 1795 a few miles away in Loughgall, which is hosting the annual County Armagh twelfth Celebrations this year.

 

Changing Demographics

Demographic Changes to the traditionally known Portadown area of ‘The Walk’ including Parkmount and Victoria Terrace meant the parade was first stopped on its return journey in 1995 and by 1998 it was stopped completely. This period of time and the Siege of Drumcree years saw Portadown become headline news worldwide as thousands gathered on ‘the Hill’.

 

Routes and approaches

Portadown Orange District LOL 1 continue to have a protest every Sunday against the Parades Commission determination that they are banned.  Although Portadown District have tried numerous approaches to various organisations to have a talks process with residents of the area to resolve the issues surrounding the parade.  There has been a negative response to Portadown Districts efforts at mediation.

 

Everyone welcome to the exhibition and film show

The exhibition and film show will be the largest ever showcase of archives on display from the Drumcree years following the story through past, present and future.  This exhibition and film show is open to everyone as an opportunity to learn and explore the events of the Drumcree years and a chance for visitors to see the story first hand rather than the medias perception.

Photo Credit: Portadown Heritage Tours

The Exhibition and film show will start on Monday 2nd July and will run until Saturday 7th July.  It will be held in Carleton Street Heritage Centre located within Carleton Street Orange Hall.  It will be open each weeknight from 7pm-9pm and 2pm-4pm on Saturday.  Each night will see a different film on show these will include; Drumcree 1995, Drumcree 1996, Behind Orange Lines, Drumcree 1997, Drumcree 1998 and The Café on the Hill.  The exhibition room will also be open at the same time for visitors to explore the archives and items on display. Follow Portadown Heritage Tours on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest details.

Also search Portadown Orange District LOL 1 on Facebook and Twitter or check out the district website http://www.portadowndistrictlolno1.co.uk

Photo credit: Portadown Heritage Tours

 

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!

 

 

 

King William III Prince of Orange and the symbolism of a Ceramic White Horse.

King William III Prince of Orange and the symbolism of a Ceramic White Horse.

In what history has coined the ‘Glorious Revolution’ William of Orange invaded Brixham, Southwest England on 5th November 1688.

He Stepped ashore proclaiming:

“The liberties of England and the Protestant faith I will maintain.”

On 28th December 1688 William made a triumphant march into London ending the reign of King James II.

Meaning of the White Horse

In the painting of King William III Prince of Orange he is portrayed on a White horse.  The painting shows him landing in Brixham on 5th November 1688. Although it is thought William didn’t own a white horse at that time. The painter probably painted William on a white horse as the white horse symbolises the heavens, justice and holiness endowed with sacred status. In this context, the white is used to signify Kingship.

Meaning of the Ceramic White Horse

After the Battle of the Boyne William is again portrayed crossing the Boyne on a white horse. Individuals who supported the king showed their allegiance to him by placing ceramic white horses in their homes, especially in the windows above their front doors.  This practice was carried on into the twentieth century.

 

The Lambeg Drum

The Lambeg Drum

Few other instruments can match the Lambeg drum for size and sheer volume.  This Impressive percussion instrument is unique to the province of Ulster, and its not made anywhere else.  It is in fact the largest double-sided rope tension drum in the world, and is thought to be the loudest folk instrument on the planet! The Lambeg drum is perhaps most usually associated with the Orange tradition, where it is often used to accompany marchers on parade.  However drumming matches and competitions are held independently by drumming clubs the length and breadth of the province.

The true origin of the Lambeg drum remains unknown, as there is very little historical evidence documenting this instrument.  However, the mystery surrounding its creation has given rise to many different folklores, which have become as much a part of the Lambeg drumming tradition as the music itself.

There are several different theories surrounding the origins of the Lambeg drum, one such theory explains the title ‘Lambeg’ suggests the drum was first built in the village of Lambeg, near Lisburn.  Another popular theory is that the drums were first beaten with canes at a meeting in Lambeg in the 1870’s.  Some argue that the drum was first introduced by continental Williamite soldiers in the summer of 1690, and that the drum was played by these troops whilst camped at Lambeg enrolee from Carrickfergus to the Battle of the Boyne.

Another prominent story in Lambeg folklore connected to the Battle of the Boyne explains the uniquee rhythms that are traditionally played on the drum.  Legend has it that King William’s drummer boy had fallen asleep after eating a supper consisting of bread.  An opportunist Wren flew down and began to peck at the crumbs lying on the drum head.  The noise caused the boy to wake form his sleep just in time to discover the camp was under attack.  He was then able to raise the alarm in time to prevent defeat.

Goat skins from female ‘nanny’ goats are preferred for drum heads, as they tend to be lighter and cleaner skin, making them easier to work with than a male or ‘Billy’ goat hide.

DSC_1196 lavery painting

The Catch

The Catch

Portadown has two buildings formerly used in connection with the once flourishing temperance movement.  One of these was the Temperance Hall, mainly used by the Rechabite movement which recruited children and young people.  The other building, now part of Sprotts Ltd Portadown in Edward Street, was the home of the ‘Catch-my-pal’ movement, which existed in the early 1900’s.

It closed in the 1930’s to become the Savoy Cinema, but the link with the past persisted, and the cinema was referred to by local filmgoers as ‘The Catch’, and that was the case until the closure of the cinema in the late 1950s.

The Catch-my-Pall organisation former a few years before the 1st World War by an Armagh Road Presbyterian minister, the Rev.Robert J Patterson, later to be known as ‘Catch-my-Pal’ Patterson, founder of the Protestant Total Abstinence Union.  The new organisation spread like wildfire throughout County Armagh and further afield.  Portadown was one of the liveliest in the province, and by 1910, it had 1,127 members.

Its president was prominent Portadown Orangeman, Mr William Henry Wright, solicitor, chairman of Portadown Urban District Council.  The treasurer was Mr George Gregory, another member of the Urban Council.  The big demand was to provide recreation and games for the pals, and a top floor flat in a building in Woodhouse Street was secured for reading rooms, darts, snooker and other amusements.  The flat was not big enough to meet the expectations of the growing membership.

The branch secured its own premises in Edward Street, which was later converted into Portadown’s second cinema, The savoy.  The Temperance work was carried out at the same time as the films were being shown on the screen in the cinema.  The branch also had its own band- the first ro be formed by any branch, trained by Mr Tom Montgomery.

The Pals branch also held shooting competitions, and hey even and an unemployment bureau, for the benefit of employers needing workers, before the state established theirs.  The Pals paid a weekly subscription of 1 penny for these facilities.  Those joining the Temperance organisation were asked to give an undertaking that they would not drink alcohol, and would do their best to promote the Temperance movement,

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Temperance Hall

Temperance Hall

The building now occupied by shops in West Street, near the junction of Mandeville Street, was formerly called The Temperance Hall.  It’s name was a link with the once flourishing temperance movement which existed in Northern Ireland until the late 1950’s and early 60’s.  In the aftermath of the great religious revival in the North of Ireland in 1859, many temperance societies were formed.  It was a time when the industrial revolution was taking place, and many people were moving from the Ulster Countryside to Belfast and the big linen towns like Portadown and Lurgan.

Heavy drinking was a feature of life in the British Isles at the time, alcohol being comparatively cheap, it was a means whereby people living in poor and often overcrowded streets could escape from the harsh realities of life, through excess drinking.

The Churches, were well aware of the need to counteract this outbreak of heavy drinking and they formed organisations aimed at providing not only an alternative to this, but as a means of educating young people about the perils of indulging in excess drinking.

The Temperance Hall in West Street was home to an organisation called The Independent Order of Good Templers, and its junior movement, the Independent Order of Rechabites.  Hundreds of young Portadown people belonged to the Rechabites which met in the Temperance Hall, and in the year 1911 it had a membership of 700, a figure to grow within a few years to over 1,000.

The Rechabites was an organisation along the lines of the Lifeboy branch of the Boys Brigade or the Junior Orange Lodges.  Children were taught Bible stories, they painted scenes from the Bible, and their weekly meetings were often visited by men-it was mostly male speakers-who told of how they had been converted to Christianity, and in doing so had ceased drinking alcohol.

The years after the 2nd World War saw a big decline in membership of the Temperance societies, due in large measure to the creation of the welfare state, and the greater prosperity, allied to the provision of better housing for the working class people, and the growing popularity of sporting and recreational activities which provided the alternative to the public house and excess drinking.  But even as late as the 1950’s, the Rechabites in the Temperance Hall still had a large membership.

Temperance movement