Portadown Arches: Clounagh and Rectory

Portadown Arches: Clounagh and Rectory

The Clounagh Arch was a small steel construction.

“There was a fairly decent supply of flags in the town and on the line of route of the procession on Saturday.  One of the arches, perhaps the Edenderry one was the most admired by the visitors, but that at Clounagh corner also received a due share of praise.  A very neat arch was displayed at Clounagh Cottages on the Armagh Road.  The Inscription on one side was ‘Clounagh Welcomes you‘ and on the other ‘1690-Nuff Said-1916’.”

-Portadown Times

31st August 1923

 

Clounagh Arch and Sir William Allen pictured at the platform of RBP Parade.

Rectory Arch

In 1981 a committee was formed with the intention of erecting an Arch in Rectory Estate.  The Committee members collected weekly from the local residents and a new Arch was erected in time for the July celebrations in 1982.

 

The Arch in 1982 with Clounagh RBP 663 parading under it on 13th July.

After the Drumcree Stand off in 1995 and 1996, the committee decided to refurbish the Arch and incorporate Drumcree Parish Church into the design.

 

 

Platform Party at the opening of the Arch on 10th July 1997. Pictured on the right, 3rd person in, is Harold Gracey.

 

 

 

Rectory Arch 1997 with Star of David Accordion Band

 

 

Current Rectory Arch dedicated to the Memory of Harold Gracey.

 

Following the death of Worshipful District Master Harold Gracey, the decision was taken to include Harold’s picture on the Arch.

In 2016, the Arch was again refurbished and this time dedicated as the Harold Gracey Memorial Arch.

 

 

Harold Gracey

Harold joined Edenderry Junior LOL 51 at the age of seven.  He was greatly influenced by his uncle, Brother Albert Greenaway, who was a member of LOL 322 and a District Lecturer.

At the age of sixteen, Harold joined Wingfield Verners Crimson Star LOL 25 and in 1954 gained his Lecturers Certificate.  It was presented to him by Worshipful District Master, Dr George Dougan.  The following year he received his Royal Arch Purple Lecturers Certificate.  Harold first became a Lecturer in LOL 25 and a number of years later he was appointed District Lecturer for Portadown District LOL No 1.

When Brother Gracey was visiting Lodges he became well known and respected by all. In 1986 Harold became Worshipful District Master of Portadown LOL No.1 and was a popular choice of the Brethren.

Harold took over at an extremely difficult time for Portadown District due to the controversy over the Obins Street parades.  Harold did not flinch facing problems and brought calm to many difficult situations.

The Drumcree Church Parade by Portadown District LOL No.1 was first stopped in 1995 at Police lines.  There Harold famously said:

 

“The Brethren of Portadown will not be moving,  let it be hours, let it be days or weeks until they can walk the traditional route”.

 

 

 

Thousands of people flocked to Drumcree.  The support was not just for Portadown District but also for Harold Gracey.

In 1996, there was a further standoff, but again Harold Gracey stood firm.  The Church parade was given the go ahead in 1997, but worse was to come in 1998.  This time the Government did not back down, but neither did Harold.  Harold moved into a caravan at Drumcree during the Siege.

Harold was WDM of Portadown District from 1986 until his death in 2004.  He is not just one of the most famous Orangemen of the long history and heritage of the District, but he is regarded by Orangemen throughout Ireland and further afield, as one of the greatest Orangemen of the 20th Century.

Portadown Arches: Derryanvil

Portadown Arches: Derryanvil

Derryanvil Arch is located under a mile from Drumcree Parish Church.  As it is in the countryside of Portadown, it is often forgot and overlooked when it comes to the Arches of Portadown.  But the local rural community in the area are very proud of “their wee arch”.

Original Arch

An early arch was originally erected near Derrycarne Orange Hall.  According to the older generation of the area, the last time it had been up, was sometime in the 1930’s.  The old arch had been a wooden structure and was originally stored in Mr George Robinson’s hay shed.

Derrycarne Orange Hall

“It’s time we had an arch again”

In the winter of 1962, Alex Hyde and William Dillworth had a conversation about the old arch.  It was decided they would paint and restore the old arch and put it up the next July. The decision was made that instead of putting it up at the old location on the Derrycarne Road , it would be moved 2 miles to the small community at Derryanvil Crescent.  In July 1962 it was erected at the new location.  It was very much a community effort with Mr Tom Troughton and neighbours all involved.

New Arch

The Following year, in 1963, the community decided they would invest in a new metal frame arch as the old wooden arch was falling in to disrepair. Mr Tom Troughton made a new frame from box metal.  Mr William Dillworth was a great artist and he was able to draw the symbols needed for the arch.  William knew of a gentleman named Albert Drummond who was skilled at cutting figures out of sheet metal.  Once the symbols were cut, they went back to William who painted them in preparation for going on the Arch.

Opening of the New Arch

The new arch was opened on 2nd July 1963 by Herbert Whitten.  Mr Whitten was a member of the Orange Order and Royal Black Institution.  He was Worshipful Master of Portadown District LOL NO.1 from 1968 until his death in 1981.  He also held the office of Deputy Grand Master of Ireland and was Worshipful District Master of Portadown Royal Black District Chapter No.5 in the early 1960’s.

Mr Whiitten was elected to Portadown Borough Council in 1968 and was MP for Central Armagh at Stormont from 1969 until 1972.  He held office of Mayor in Portadown Borough Council from 1968-1969 and was Mayor of Craigavon Borough Council from 1977 until 1978.  He was a founding member of Portadown Housing Association and was Managing Director of T A Shillington and Sons from 1955 until his retirement in 1979.

The music for the opening of the arch was provided by Pride of the Birches Accordion Band.  The refreshments were served by the ladies of Derryanvil Crescent who had all come together to make and provide sandwiches, cakes, buns and tea.

Continuing Tradition

The Arch was improved each year by adding new metal symbols from Albert Drummond and William Dillworth.  A bonfire was originally part of the celebrations on the 11th night.  It was located in a nearby field until new bungalows were built.  The Bonfire was then moved  to the rear of Derryanvil Crescent in the 1980’s.

Unfortunately, with Derryanvill Crescent being located under a mile from Drumcree Parish Church, the annual bonfire had to be stopped in 1996 due to the stand off at Drumcree.

Drumcree Parish Church

The arch was unable to go up for two years during the early 2000’s this was due to insurance issues.  This was overcome when Derrycarne Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 78 stepped in and provided the insurance costs.

The final metal attachment was made by Albert Drummond.  It is the Bible and Crown located in the centre of the arch. It was painted by William Dillworth.  Sadly, Mr Drummond died shortly after making the Bible and Crown.

The Arch is erected every year at Derryanvil Crescent.  There is a strong unionist and Orange community in the local area including; Derryanvil, Derrycarne and Derrymacfall.  That community is very proud to have the arch displayed as a long standing tradition of their beliefs and culture.

 

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.

 

 

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