Big thank you from

Rambling around the Coal Lane

by Rambler 24/05/2002

THIS week, I decided to have a look at 'Trainview, back o' the wood' Moira, where Sir John Lavery RA, world-famous painter, grew up.

When his father was lost at sea, he was adopted by his Uncle Richard, a Soldierstown farmer.

I took the Coal Lane route, a by-road which in the words of another world famous figure, Professor Mollv McGeown, CBE DSC (Hons) MD PhD FRCP FRCPE , FRCPI, who was born and grew up at nearby Prospect Hall, was 'originally part of the overland porterage between Ellis but on the shore of Lough Neagh and Moira railway before the Lagan Canal was completed.'

That's going back a bit. Actually to the days when Coal Lane was the only metalled (paved) road available to coal cart users ferrying coal from Coalisland to Moira.

Molly McGeown (her own preferred title) was the eminent founder of the Renal Failure Unit opened at Belfast City Hospital in 1959.

She personally listed her own decorations, set out above. As well, she had the highest honour of 'Professional Fellow' conferred on her by QUB (more about Molly later).

When road names were alloted some years ago, the DOE, true to history, erected 'Coal Lane' name plates, but strong objections by locals resulted in the more respectable (Sic) tag 'Colane' being substituted.

An impressive range of six-figure period, new houses recently erected at the West end of Colane has transformed the early quiet by-road which had little more than half-a-dozen council-owned labourers cottages, a few decades ago.

Sir John Lavery's former home on the 'Doghouse Loaner' isn't far from the East end of Colane, say two miles, but when I paused at every hole in the hedge on my explorations it took me a good while!

As I meandered along, I wondered how it was that no fewer that three local men worked in Belfast bakers, say, 70 years ago. There was Tom Cinnamond. I think he was an Inglis employee, and Pat Lewsley. Then there was Barney Campbell of nearby Fruit Hill. Tom and Pat cycled to Moira Station daily.

Barney only came home at weekends. He had a farm and his 'horse man', Frank Lennon, provided a horse drawn tax-service to and from Moira Station (a journey of just under four miles) at weekends.

Barney's firm once got an order from Buckingham Palace for a cake for a Jubilee, and he was appointed to take it, and allowed to deliver it to the Palace personally.

I haven't even reached 'Ashvale', home of Henry O'Hara, whose family were (are ?) in the hotel business at Bangor.

Henry had a very extensive farm at Colane until, circa 1900, Joseph Chapman, a leading Quaker then bought 'Ashvale' Chapman resided at 'Beechklaw' Colane and with 'Ashvale' had the largest farm in the area. There was a school there in the 19th century.

One of the Gilberts now has 'Beechlawn', but I have run out of space and I am still a mile from 'Townview'.

Ulster Star