A History of Railway Street Presbyterian Church, Lisburn 1860 to
At the book launch are L to R: Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Ronnie
Crawford, Mrs Kathleen Cromie, Councillor Andrew Ewing, The Very
Rev Dr Howard Cromie, Mr Victor Hamilton, John Kelly, Noel
McMaster (Bakerloo Junction), The Rev Brian Gibson, Mrs Jean
Gibson and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson MLA.
A book written by John Kelly entitled 'Footprints on the Sands
of Time - A History of Railway Street Presbyterian Church,
Lisburn 1860 to 2008' was launched on Thursday 4th December.
Launching the book, former moderator The Very Rev Dr Howard
Cromie, Minister Emeritus of Railway Street, paid tribute to Mr
Victor Hamilton who sponsored the book; Victor is the grandson
of the late Very Rev Dr R W Hamilton, third minister of Railway
Street Presbyterian Church, 1885-1935, and Moderator of the
General Assembly, 1924-1925.
Conducting the formal part of the evening, the minister, the Rev
Brian Gibson gave a powerpoint presentation showing pictures
from the book, which charts the history of Railway Street
Presbyterian Church since the formation of the congregation in
November 1860. Also taking part were Lisburn Mayor, Councillor
Ronnie Crawford and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson MLA and
The Rt Rev Dr Donald Patton, Moderator of the General Assembly.
Dr Patton, a former minister of First Dromore Presbyterian
Church, spoke affectionately of John's late father, who was a
faithful elder of the church where the family worshipped for
John thanked Dr Robin Coulter, the Congregational Secretary who,
assisted by grammar school English teachers Carolyn Gowdy and
Margaret Artt, proofread the manuscript in preparation for its
publication. In his endorsement of the book, Jeffrey Donaldson
jokingly spoke about John's fussiness in relation to
photographs; picking up on this, John referred to Robin's
fussiness in relation to grammar. Describing him as 'his mentor'
he said, 'When Robin checks something - you could send it to the
Queen'. John continued, 'My meticulous attention to photographs
and captions and Robin's meticulous attention to grammar,
together with the expert input of learned historians Victor
Hamilton and Dr Cromie - all combine to make the book what the
Lisburn Mayor described as an interesting and most informative
Noel McMaster of Bakerloo Junction recalled days of linen thread
manufacture as he performed (for the first time in public) his
new song 'Barbour Mill' reminding us of the liberality of the
Barbour family in the erection of both the church and the EMB
Hall at Hilden. Noel pointed out that he was singing the song
just a few feet away from the seat occupied by William Barbour
JP, who died in September 1875. A marble tablet close to the
seat describes William Barbour as 'one of the first members and
the most munificent contributor to the funds of the Church.'
Noel also sang two other songs he wrote entitled 'Winds of
Change' and 'My Lagan Softly Flowing' the words of which were
greatly influenced by his childhood days at Ivan Street Lisburn,
close to the River Lagan.
The formal part of the evening concluded when Valerie Henderson
accompanied by Dr Bertha Cowan sang, 'How Lovely is Thy Dwelling
Place' reminding us of the beauty of the recently refurbished
Other distinguished guests at the launch included former mayors
Councillor Trevor Lunn MLA, Councillor Jonathan Craig MLA and
Alderman Ivan Davis OBE, Lisburn Town South Councillors Andrew
Ewing and Jennifer Palmer, Derek Alexander (Presbyterian
Historical Society); and many local clergy including the Rev
David Porter (Moderator of Dromore Presbytery), The Very Rev Dr
Samuel Hutchinson (Moderator, 1997-1998) and the Rev Dr Gordon
Gray, Minister Emeritus of First Lisburn and former organist Mr
Peter Wilson both of whom travelled from the North Coast to be
Ladies of the congregation served a delightful supper in the
church hall. The signing of books was interrupted as Noel
announced John's recent 60th birthday and led the singing of
Happy Birthday as Catherine O'Reilly, the band secretary,
presented John with a birthday cake.
The book is available for �5 from Vic-Ryn, Faith Mission (Lisburn)
bookshops and Smyth Patterson Ltd and can also be obtained
through Railway Street Church Office, Tuesday to Friday 10.00am
to 12.30pm (Tel: 028 9260 2766) or ordered by post for �6 inc.
p&p (�9 to Ireland) from The Church Office, Railway Street
Presbyterian Church, Railway Street, Lisburn. BT28 1XP. John
will be available to sign copies of the book at the close of
morning and evening worship at Railway Street.
The Rev Brian
Gibson is pictured giving a powerpoint
presentation showing pictures from the book.
Launching the book
Launching the book
is former moderator The Very Rev Dr Howard Cromie, Minister Emeritus of Railway Street.
Endorsing the book is Lisburn
Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford.
Noel McMaster of
Bakerloo Junction sings his new song 'Barbour
Mill' a few feet away from the seat occupied by
William Barbour JP, who died in 1875.
The Rt Rev Dr Donald Patton, Moderator of the
General Assembly, who was accompanied by his
wife Florence, is pictured with other
distinguished guests as they enjoy the
entertainment at the book launch.
|First and Second Lisburn
At the book launch are the Rev Dr Gordon Gray, Minister Emeritus
of First Lisburn and the Rev Brian Gibson and The Very Rev Dr
Howard Cromie Minister Emeritus of Second Lisburn (now Railway
Street). Included in the photo is John Kelly.
|Former Tool Engineers
Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford peruses the book.
Looking on are former Tool Design Engineers John Kelly and
former Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Craig MLA, who worked in the same department
at Bombardier Aerospace.
|Sons of the First Mayor
At the book launch are Bobby and Stanley Howard sons of the late
James Howard JP, OBE, a member of Railway Street Church, who
when Lisburn was raised to the status of Borough in 1964, was
elected the first Mayor of Lisburn.
|Old B&W photos
Getting a book signed is Iris Levett, a member of 422 and
Helping Hands. Iris supplied two B&W photos for the book - a
1932 photo of Brownlee Primary School children and a 1939 photo
of her at a Girl Guide camp.
Raymond Spence, a member of Congregational Committee, gets a
book signed. Former electrician Raymond donated and installed
floodlighting at the front of the church in 1996 greatly
enhanced the beauty of the church building on dark evenings.
Railway Street Covenant Scheme Secretary Ian Barron and his wife
Heather get a book signed.
|League of Church Loyalty
John Martin, who was League of Church Loyalty Secretary at
Railway for over 40 years, is pictured with John Kelly.
Church Elder Gladys Brown and John Kelly enjoying the fun.
At the book launch are singers and
musicians L to R: Noel McMaster, Valerie
Henderson, organist Dr Bertha Cowan and formerorganist Peter Wilson.
John Kelly pictured with his brother George,
sister Marjorie and her husband Allen, son
Chris, daughters Emma and Laura and Laura's
boyfriend John (left)
May Griffin a member of Helping Hands, gets a book signed.
|Bakerloo Junction fans
At the book launch are Bakerloo fans L to R: John and Margaret
McFarlane, Noel McMaster, Lillian McFarlane, John Kelly,
Catherine O'Reilly, Norman McMaster and Peter O'Reilly.
Emma and Laura Kelly help their old Dad blow out the candles on
a cake presented by Catherine O'Reilly, Secretary of the
Bakerloo Junction fan club.
|Mayor's teenage days
Dr Bertha Cowan and John Kelly look at a photo (B&W of course)
in the Ulster Star showing Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Crawford at
the first BCM camp at Carnlough in August 1966.