Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Family pays tribute to a grand old lady

Agnes Cecilia Johnson with her royal telegram on her 100th birthday.

Agnes Cecilia Johnson with her royal telegram
on her 100th birthday.

THE family of one of Lisburn's oldest citizens who passed away last week has paid tribute to a lady who almost to the end was a fascinating source of information about times gone by.

Agnes Cecilia Johnson, who would have been 102 next month, spent her last years in Woodgrove Nursing Home.

Prior to this she was a resident of Harmony Fold but kept well abreast of events in her native Blaris where she lived until she was in her 40's.

Appropriately Agnes, who never married, was laid to rest alongside her parents in the family grave at Blaris 's Old Cemetery following Requiem Mass in St. Patrick's Church at Chapel Hill.

The Cemetery is not far from Priests Lane where she was born and spent more than 40 years of her life.

In later years Chapel Hill was the location of a sweet shop she opened along with her sister Isobel which became a real institution in Lisburn.

Agnes was one of eight children born to Bernard and Elizabeth Johnson, two of whom sadly died.

She attended Blaris School and her surviving family believe she also went to the Convent in Seymour Street as she often talked about having to walk three miles to her place of education.

Her father owned and ran a barber's shop in Chapel Hill while her mother looked after the farm with the help of an employee.

After leaving school Agnes remained at home, eventually looking after her mother and doing her share of the farm work. However, all this changed in the 1950's when Elizabeth passed away and Agnes found herself alone in the house.

She decided to go to the USA where she remained for four years before returning to Lisburn.

She and Isobel then opened Johnson's Confectionery Shop which was located where Bow Street Mall stands today.

Several generations of Lisburn children enjoyed sweets bought at Johnsons until the late 1970's when Agnes retired.

It was at this stage she moved to Harmony Fold and just under two years ago there was a proud moment when she reached the grand old age of 100.

This auspicious day was marked by the customary telegram of congratulations from the Queen.

Ulster Star