(Extracts from assorted newspapers, compiled with accompanying notes by Eileen Black).
SILVER WATCH FOUND, 1773.
Advertisement. That between Lammas and Allsaints, was found by a little Boy, on the Road leading from Lisburn to Maragell [sic] a Silver Watch, and kept it secret from his Parents, who takes this opportunity to inform the Publick, that any one by applying to James Richey, living on the aforesaid Road, and proving their Property, and paying the Expence [sic] may have the aforesaid Watch.
Belfast News-Letter, 8 January 1773.
SALE OF THE HILLSBOROUGH ARMS. BRIDGE STREET, 1773.
To be sold by public Auction, at the Market House in Lisburn, on Wednesday the 17th March next, the Lease of a very convenient Inn, in Bridge-street (called the Hillsborough Arms) with a front Shop, Stables, Brewhouse, and a Garden backwards, which might be easily converted into a Tan-yard. It will be let if a solvent Tenant will take it. Application to be made to Mr. Charles Gilmor, who dwells on the Premises. Lisburn, February 8, 1773.
N.B. There is a very large Ball-Room in said House.
Be/fast News-Letter, 9 February 1773.
MRS. PATON'S BOARDING SCHOOL FOR YOUNG LADIES, 1775.
Lisburn Boarding-School. Mrs. Paten continues, as usual, to leach young Ladies the use of the Tambour [a small embroidery frame], Shading with Worsted, and Needlework of every kind; as also the English and French Languages. Her House in Castle-street is properly accommodated for the Reception of Boarders; her Terms are reasonable, and every Attention will be given to promote the Education, and improve the Morals and Behaviour of those who are committed to her care.
Belfast News-Letter, 12-16 May 1775.
THE WALLACE PARK AND THE LISBURN ECHO, 1887.
Since the last touches have been given to the various improvements and ornamentations of this admirably laid out place of public resort, it has assumed quite a holiday garb, and every section of the grounds is exceedingly picturesque. Very handsome shrubs and choice flowers, tastefully planted in beds and borders, add variety to the whole aspect, and the attention paid by the caretakers to the keeping of all in perfect order gives to the park the appearance of the pleasure-grounds of a private gentleman. With such inducements for taking advantage of the pure air and splendid view of inland scenery to be enjoyed in the Wallace Park it need scarcely be said that as a local place of recreation or amusement it is very popular, not only with the inhabitants of Lisburn, but with strangers who, either on business or pleasure, visit that town. Mere local readers of the Northern Whig are aware that some years ago Sir Richard Wallace, as lord of the soil, proposed granting to the people of Lisburn nearly twenty acres of valuable land to be used as a public park. In addition to that gift the respected Baronet expended a very considerable amount in ornamenting, railing-in, and making roads through the grounds, as well as erecting very commodious residences for the caretakers ...
Many old and very interesting legends have been related in connection with the site of the Wallace Park. Within the recollection of living men one portion of it was known as Gough's Hill. The famous arithmetician John Gough held the position of teacher in the Quaker school, and when the Lisburn Volunteers were looking out for a parade ground he gave them the use of his grazing field for that purpose. Still more ancient is the history of the echo that existed in the same locality. In Hale's "Philosophy of Sound," published in 1780, the Lisburn echo is noted as one of the most extraordinary in the kingdom. The Rev. Philip Skillen, who was an old resident in Lisburn and knew all its history, has stated in one of his essays that the echo had been referred to by ancient authors as quite unique in its peculiarity. After describing that end of the town in which it existed, he said-"If you would give the reverberation full play, chance a time when the air is still, stand in the field facing Lisburn, and in a loud and distinct tone call out five or six consecutive words; all those utterances will be returned to you in direct order. Again, in a few seconds, the same sounds will be repeated, as though coming from the houses in your view." More than a century has passed since the echo possessed all its wonderful character. Many alterations have since been made in the neighbourhood, and these materially damaged the re flect peculiarity. The deep cutting made by the Ulster Railway Company in 1838 had a very deteriorating effect. To this day, however, a remnant of the old phenomenon still remains. The whistle from the up-trains of the Great Northern, and the heavy rumble of the steam engine and the carriages, as they pass along the tunnel-like edge of the Wallace Park towards the Lisburn station, may be heard echoing from a bridge half a mile away, and as if the sounds indicated the approach of a train coming down from Moira.
Northern Whig, 17 August 1887.
[Wallace Park, an area of twenty-five acres, was presented to Lisburn by Sir Richard Wallace in 1884. See the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society list for Lisburn, compiled by C.E.B.Brett and Lady Dunleath in 1969].
ESCAPE OF AN ELEPHANT NEAR LISBURN, 1889.
A sensation was caused in Lisburn on Sunday evening last [3 November] when it became known that Jumbo, the huge elephant belonging to Messrs. Powell & Clarke's circus troupe, had escaped from his keepers. It appears that whilst the cavalcade was proceeding from Lisburn to Belfast the elephant displayed signs of illness, and in order to appease his apparent sufferings a dose of whisky was administered to the huge brute. This had an unexpected effect, for in a short time he broke away from his keeper and made for the railway track. Proceeding up the line he in due time reached the goods station, but, finding nothing there to engage his attention, he made for the Antrim Road [Lisburn]. An iron gate prevented his exit, but this soon yielded to his great strength. Jumbo then proceeded up the road, entering, it is said, a gentleman's grounds, which he somewhat damaged. The elephant then came back to Lisburn, frightening the people out of their wits.
Passing up Longstone Street, he caused a flutter of excitement, but the huge animal did no injury. Proceeding to Knockmore Junction, he burst open a gate on the line which barred his progress, and headed for Hillsborough, where he visited gardens and stables. Jumbo then came in the direction of the Maze, where he burst in doors and caused terror amongst the residents. In one case he entered a house where the family were at tea, and enjoyed a feast of bread, butter and jam. At another house he made an unusual noise, and the owner rushed out, believing he had a burglar before him. In the dark he seized hold of the elephant's trunk, which he dropped quickly enough, with a cry of terror. In another case he visited a stable and greatly frightened the horses. The employees of Messrs. Powell & Clarke were seeking for Jumbo all night, and it was not until half past four yesterday morning that he was found, apparently weary with his wanderings, at Hull's Hill, about four miles from Lisburn. He was quietly secured, and taken to join the remainder of the troupe.
Northern Whig, 5 November 1889.
ELECTRIC LIGHTING AT HILDEN, 1890.
The illumination of the gigantic establishment of Messrs. William Barbour & Sons at Hilden must at once be regarded as a great undertaking; yet, while carrying out as they are at present extensive alterations and improvements, they decided upon lighting their new engine-room, boiler-house, and mill extension by electricity, and at the same time doing away with gas in favour of the new illuminant in their dyehouse, offices, packing-shed, and thread-store. They intend further to put up arc lamps in the mill-yard for the benefit of the workers going to and from their employment in the winter months.
Not long since we alluded to the immense size of the Messrs. Barbour's concerns at Paterson (New Jersey), also at Allentown, United States, and in New York. In connection with the characteristic enterprise they are now displaying, we may refer to a few facts connected with the home establishments of a firm which has branches in almost all parts or the world. The works at Hilden cover an area of thirty-four acres, exclusive of the six hundred cottages built for the employees, and the space occupied by these buildings amounts to an additional six acres. Success after success attended the firm after its establishment at Hilden, and the enormous pile of building there was built by the late Mr. William Barbour in the year 1840... Extensive and thoroughly equipped mills are being erected longer the continuous strain upon the firm, who have also mills at Sprucefield, County Down, and Dunmurry, County Antrim. The firm give employment to over 5,000 workers; and it is a well known fact that the genial and characteristically liberal manner in which they treat all their employees has been the means of cementing the good relations that have always existed between them and their operatives.
As to the electric lighting, we may state that the installation, or rather two installations, the dyehouse being a complete installation in itself, consists, in the first place, of a 300-light Holmes's dynamo supplying the mill, engine-room, offices, packing-shed, the thread store, and a six-light Schuckert dynamo supplying the are lamps in the yard ... The plant has now been in operation for some six weeks, and there has never been a single hitch from the day it started. It gives the greatest satisfaction throughout the mill. The contrast between the gaslit rooms of the old mill and those in the new extension with the electric light is most striking. The new engine used in connection with the electric installation is a vertical triple expansion, which has been designed and erected by Messrs. Victor Coates & Co. (Limited), or the Lagan Foundry and Prince's Dock Works ...
Northern Whig, 27 November 1890.
TULLYNACROSS READING AND RECREATION ROOMS, 1896.
The opening ceremony in connection with the beautiful and substantial reading and recreation rooms recently erected for the use of the working men in Tullynacross, near Lisburn, was performed on Tuesday evening [29 December] ... After devotional exercises by Rev. B. Banks [Rev. Benjamin Banks of Lambeg] on the motion of Mr. George Burke, seconded by Mr. A. Campbell, the chair was taken by Mr. J. Milne Barbour, M.A., [of Grove green, Hilden] who congratulated the men on the very fine building they had secured, and hoped it would be duly prized and used by them. He believed the working men should be thoroughly conversant with the news and politics of the day, as well as with the great social and industrial problems dealt with in the daily papers.
They would also find much valuable information in the magazines and periodicals which he believed would be provided, and when tired of reading they could spend an hour very profitably in the adjoining room in a quiet chat and interesting games ... the Chairman called on the Rev. B. Banks, who declared himself as highly pleased with the beautiful building that had been provided there, and felt confident that they would be able to carry it to a successful issue.
He then gave them as a motto for its working the three words, "Fairplay", "Firmness", and "Fraternity", and hoped that nothing but the best of good nature would characterize their dealings with one another. Mr. Frazer then gave an account of how he had raised the money and got the building erected. The building was invested in Rev. B. Banks, Mr. Milne Barbour, and himself as trustees, and he hoped the working men would lake the fullest advantage of it. He concluded an interesting address by moving that the sincere thanks of those present be given to Mr. Charles H. Richardson [of Richardson Sons & Owden, linen manufacturers and bleachers, Glenmore] for his practical sympathy and assistance and for the free grant of the ground on which the building was erected ...
Northern Whig, 31 December 1896.
[This building no longer exists; in all likelihood it was demolished many years ago. Reading rooms, Mechanics' Institutes and
mutual improvement groups were a product of the age of improvement, when 'rational recreation' was ardently recommended for tire working classes. The idea that leisure time should by devoted to
self-improvement, not self-indulgence, increasingly held sway. Furthermore, by spending their time constructively, the working population would, it was hoped, be weaned away from the evils of drink and the snares of the public house].
DEATH OF LADY WALLACE, 1897.
Great sorrow was felt in Lisburn yesterday [16 February] when it became known that a telegram had reached the estate office announcing the death of Lady Wallace, relict of the late Sir Richard Wallace Bart. It appears that the deceased had been suffering from bronchitis, and that she succumbed yesterday forenoon. The news soon spread through the town, and in all circles the sad event evoked feelings of sorrow. Since the death of her lamented husband [on 20 July 1890] Lady Wallace continued all the benefactions dispensed so liberally by Sir Richard. To the Episcopal Churches in Lisburn and its neighbourhood she was a liberal annual contributor. The Rector of the Cathedral of Christ Church in the town received about £100 per annum. The other churches were not overlooked. To Christ Church she gave £60 a year; Derriaghy and Stoneyford £100; Glenavy £60; Ballinderry £50; Magheragall £50; and Broomhedge £20. Very few appeals from the neighbourhood were made to her in vain. Lady Wallace contributed generously to the Sunday school trips. She gave every winter a large supply of flannel petticoats to poor women, and at Christmas she usually contributed £10 to give the inmates of the Workhouse a substantial dinner and tea, and at the same season she sent gifts of money to most of the clergymen on her estate to enable them to assist the poor people al the festive season ... Lisburn has therefore sustained a great loss in the death of Lady Wallace.
Northern Whig, 17 February 1897.
[Richard Wallace married Améie Julie Charlotte Castelnau, his mistress of almost thirty years, in February 1871 and in the same year, received a baronetcy. After his death in July 1890, Lady Wallace, who never learnt to speak English, spent her remaining years as a virtual recluse at Hertford House, London. She was buried in the cemetery of Pere Lachaise, Paris, in the same vault as her husband and his father, Lord Hertford. See Donald Mallett,
The Greatest Collector: Lord Hertford and the Founding of The Wallace Collection, 1979. For details of Wallace's connection with Lisburn, see J. F. Burns,
'The life and work of Sir Richard Wallace Bart., MP,' Lisburn Historical Society Journal, vo1.3, December 1980 and Hugh Dixon, 'So many proofs? Aspects of the legacy of Sir Richard Wallace in the fabric of Lisburn,'
Lisburn Historical Society Journal, vol. 4, December 19821.
Earlier this year, Lisburn Museum ran its second successful local history study group, tutored by Mrs. Brenda Collins, of the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University, Belfast, when the topic was the study of nineteenth and twentieth century Aghalee. The sessions ran for ten successive Tuesday evenings commencing in April, and built on the interest and enthusiasm shown by those who participated in the first series in 1988, which covered Aghalee in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Both sessions attracted a range of people who had some connection with Aghalee - some were long standing residents of the parish, some newcomers in the recent expansion of new housing, while others had lived there in earlier days or had family connections with the area, which gave them a personal interest in it.
The aims behind the setting up of the group were to provide enjoyment in learning about the past and in pooling our local knowledge with the study of census records, old maps and land valuations, to discover the extent to which the 'big themes' of history actually affected ordinary people. We were interested, for example, in explaining why the number of people living in Aghalee village and throughout the parish rose during the eighteenth and early nineteenth century and then started to fall towards the end of the nineteenth century and continued to do so until after the First World War, as people moved off the land to emigrate or to find work in Belfast, Lurgan or Lisburn. Yet, in spite of these changes, our findings also showed us how other things remained the same; some family names which existed in the manuscript records of the seventeenth century are still to be found today, while some houses are almost as old. We were made aware that, as far as buildings are concerned, the changes in the last twenty-five years may well have had a greater impact than those of the previous century.
Some memories stand out in particular: in our 1988 group's final assemblage and presentation of work, who could forget Mr. William Beckett's contribution on all aspects of transport in and around Aghalee? For both groups, the study of placenames and their origins proved very rewarding. Knowledge of the linen industry was enhanced this year too, by one of the group providing actual specimens of flax in the various stages of production of thread from the raw fibre. The 'Aghalee walkabout' was also a most enjoyable occasion, when we went from Soldierstown church up to observe the canal at Aghalee Bridge and then walked up through the village along the Ballinderry Road, discussing what we knew of the houses and their inhabitants in the past. For the tutor, it was a privilege to be among people whose wealth of experience brought so much to our knowledge. I hope I have the opportunity again.
Brenda Collins is based at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University, Belfast and is also a part-time tutor in Social Sciences for the Open University.