Lisburn Miscellany

Published 1976 by Fred Kee

Lisburn Historical Society

Articles by Fred Kee

The Town's Old Schools

We have now toured the highways and byways of old Lisburn, and had a look round the burial places, which I hope you found not so unpleasant. The resting places of these persons made the history book of the surrounding areas, with each headstone a sentence or paragraph, or perhaps a warning, out of the past. 

On these memorials I have found the names of schoolmasters of a bygone age and it started me searching for some information about the schools of about 1900 or perhaps a little earlier, with a guess at a few really old ones.

Some of our present senior citizens attended one or more of these schools and can tell nostalgic stories of their school days when the sun was always shining. So, pull up your stockings, see that your boots are well tied, a last look in the mirror at the well-scrubbed face and quiffed-up hair, and we're off to school about the "turn of the century" with our "piece" in our school-bag.

But which school? Let's have a look at some of them:

The Quaker School, the Hill School, the Friends' School, on Prospect Hill, a private boarding school founded by the Quakers for Quakers in 1774, a pioneer in this class of school in this neighbourhood.

With the extensive ground surrounding this school, used originally as farmland and then playing-fields for the scholars, the situation was, and still is, ideal. Then later on the indoor swimming pool was provided and the boys bathing in the Lagan became history.

Truly this was a school of which the town could be proud as it grew from strength to strength. The original school end headmasters residence cost "near £1,500" (The Shackleton Letters, 1918). The Quakers were very wise in their day in establishing the school but I don�t imagine that even they could foresee the present wonderful expansion. 

Mr. Neville H. Newhouse (recently headmaster) is wring a book, "The Founding of Friends' School, Lisburn" Its publication will be eagerly awaited.

The Convent of the Sacred Heart of Mary, or, as stated on the Estate maps, "Convent de Sacre Coeur de Marie," was the other boarding school in Lisburn. It started with the buying of Charles Buckley's house in Castle Street in 1870 for the sum of �1,350, which was almost the same price as the Quakers' paid when they commenced their school about one hundred years earlier.

Teaching commenced in 1871 when the school opened to admit girls and boys, some paying a little and others free of charge.

Between this small convent school and the Castle Gardens in 1876, was the National School, one of a nationwide type of school which was built after 1831. On the other side of the convent were private houses down to the lane at Stevenson's garage, owned by Charlotte McCall, Dr. Thomas A. O'Flaherty, Henry Seeds, David Beatty and William Savage (in trust).

The trustees of the Convent and National School were: Most Rev. Dr. Dorrian, Very Rev. D. Marner, and the Rev. Edward Kelly, P.P. of Lisburn from 1859.

As the town population of under ten thousand increased, so the need for more accommodation arose, until over a long period of adjustment the whole row of houses became the rebuilt and enlarged school.

During this period the National School was closed, and some of the girls went to the Chapel Hill school until the new girls' school was built in 1902 in the convent gardens. It, too, has been much enlarged and modernised. A part of this school ground is on the site of the old Lisburn Mineral Water Company, and the over-flowing well which supplied the water for the minerals is now filled in.

The Convent Grammar School is closing down in Lisburn and is moving to Holywood, after one hundred years of quiet and devoted teaching, and another little chapter of history comes to an end.

'The Intermediate and University School' on the Antrim Road was founded by Sir Richard Wallace in 1880 on a piece of his land at Benson's Hill. This bit of ground had not been let in 1876 and it is possible that he had the founding of the school in mind. Like the other two schools mentioned, it started off in a small way and gradually grew to its present size to accommodate the pupils.

It's now bursting at the seams and further development is necessary. Sir Richard picked the wrong spot for the school. He should have had a look round the Quaker School grounds before deciding. The name was changed to "Wallace High School" in his memory in 1942.

We next come to a number of schools also attended by Lisburn boys and girls. Their titles have changed with the years from "Free School," "National School," "Public Elementary School" and now "Primary School." In those early days these schools were under the control of the Church Education Authorities and attached to a local church.

The exception in the Lisburn area was "Hilden School," which was established by William Barbour in 1829 and is still under mill management. The Mill School was, and still is, non-denominational.

If we start at the Belfast Gate end of Seymour Street, we find the "Belfast Gate School" between Cumins' shop and Miss Johnston's house, for bigger boys and girls, and an "Infant School," between Vaughan's Shop and Wallace Avenue, for babies, both under the Church Education Society, really the Cathedral.

The other school was 'Seymour Street Methodist' and it was held in the room below the Church until the William Foote Memorial School was erected in 1907. The church was built in 1875. Small schools, but suitable to the population at the time.

Market Square National School was at the rear of First Lisburn Presbyterian Church, the Church Authorities being responsible. The Church, dates back to the early sixteenth century, and the National School would have been founded after 1831. The school closed down as a school in 1934, when the pupils were transferred to new Central School on the Hillsborough Road.

The By-wash was an open stream running past the Linenhall Street end of the school in 1876, and on the site of the Hibernian Hall was Salem Methodist Chapel, the rear part of which was actually over the By-wash.

The National School of St. Patrick's Church, Chapel Hill, is no longer used as a school In 1876 it was on the site of the present St. Joseph's Hall, but had been there from much earlier, and had been used by boys and girls. When the new girls' school was built in the Convent Garden, the girls left and it became known as the Boys School.

There was a piece of land owned by the church between the old school and the rear of the houses in Fairymount Square and on this a new school was built. Although the houses in the Square are down, the old wall is still there. The boys will be glad to be up on the Ballinderry Road in their new school.

Down Railway Street we had Railway Street National School at the rear of Railway Street Presbyterian Church. As the church was erected in 1863 it could be assumed that the school was built about the same time. These schools were used as halls for church activities in the evenings and as Sunday Schools.

The Free National School, Market Place, dated about 1840, was under the control of the Church Education Society. This Free School was on the site of the Ford Motor Garage and beside the Salvation Army Hall which, by the way, is shown on the 1876 map as a Primitive Wesleyan Chapel.

The Free School was replaced by the Nicholson Memorial School beside Christ Church, and it was replaced by the Central Primary School. There used to be a little house beside the Free School, which was occupied by the caretaker.

The Infant School, Longstone Street, was under the Church Education Society and was probably built at the same time as the two Seymour Street schools and the school in Market Place. It was also used as a Sunday School. During the last war it was used as a Civil Defence Wardens' Post.

The Chapel Hill Filling Station is built on the site of the school. It was a small school with one room with a gallery at the end. There was a house attached for the teacher.

The Lisburn Free National School, Longstone Street, is still there and is now Christ Church Young Men's Club. It deserves special mention as a school where the pupils got a free meal of bread and milk.

Sloan Street National School was the original Sloan Street Presbyterian Church, and the school came into operation when the present Sloan Street Church was opened in 1900. You will see it alongside the footpath in Sloan Street. It is now part of the new Church Hall.

Largymore Primary School is not the original school. The Largymore National School was on the site now occupied by numbers 94 and 96 Hillhall Road, and before this it was known as Bolton's School, after Captain Bolton who built it.

A handbill printed at the Standard Once, Lisburn, in 1905, states: "After long and careful consideration, the trustees unanimously resolved to build an entirely new and up-to-date school-house at a cost of £1,800."

With some other repairs, the price came to £1,953, and this was done, and it opened in 1906.

At the top of the handbill were two photographs, one of the Principal standing in front of his residence, and the other, the new school almost finished, with the builders' scaffolding still up.

In 1658 Sir George Rawdon had in mind "the purpose of founding a Free School in Lisburn' (Lisburn Cathedral and its past Rectors). I wonder did he do anything about it.

Then there was that great French and Anglican cleric and scholar, the Rev. Saumaurez Dubourdieu, A.M., who started a Classical School in Bow Lane, Lisburn, on August 2nd, 1756, and was master of it for fifty-six years. There is a white marble memorial to him in the Cathedral. The inscription is in Latin. It was erected by grateful scholars, as was a headstone in Lambeg churchyard. He died on 14th December, 1812 aged ninety-six years and three months. Surely a long and worthy life spent in service to others.

 And what about Benjamin Neely, with his English and Maths. school in Castle Street in the early 1800s? The great General John Nicholson is said to have gone to his school when a boy in Lisburn,

"Mr. John Busby, Writing Master in Lisburn, died 1737," his headstone in the Cathedral graveyard states. He may have had a private school somewhere. Writing used to be of great importance, but not now ! Any old squiggles good enough.

Remember the Vere Foster copy books? If you do you are likely on the pension. And the slate and slate pencil? Economical timed

There is a memorial to: "John Crossley, Jnr., who in 1810 established the first Free School on the System of Bell and Lancaster in this province and, although struggling with a feeble constitution, continued until his last illness to exert himself with great zeal and judgment in communicating the Blessings of Religious and Moral Knowledge to many poor children."

He died in 1816 aged 31 years. A martyr to education. Where was the school established? And what was the system of Bell and Lancaster?

I am indebted to Mr. Andrew Thompson, ex-principal of Brownlee Primary School for an explanation of the "Bell and Lancaster System" of teaching, about which I knew nothing. Here is a much condensed outline of the system:

It was a system of teaching children with the help of "monitors." The monitors were bright and intelligent children who were chosen to instruct the others. The two men, Rev. Dr. Andrew Bell, and Joseph Lancaster, a Quaker, were not at first (1797) connected with each other's work, although pushing this idea at the same time. The system had great popularity and support and many new schools were built and others adopted it.

And John Crossley, junior, put the system in operation somewhere here, and died whilst still a young man. Sad. Did anyone after 1816 take the job on? It's quite possible his work continued.

When I attended the Belfast Model School as a boy, we had monitors. They were young men qualifying to be teachers and they assisted the masters. So I may have benefited from John Crossley's early efforts.

His grave is beside the lamps which floodlight the Cathedral spire. He was trying to bring light of another kind into the young minds.

When you see the spire flood-lit, think, amongst other things, of John Crossley, junior, and also of his father, John, who, with others, signed the contract for David McBlain of Newtown, Limavady, to build the spire in 1804. They lived in Bow Street.

The last school to be mentioned is the Workhouse School. It was in the Workhouse on the Dublin Road. Yes, there were children in the workhouse, the children of the inmates and orphan children, and they had a schoolmaster who gave them an elementary education. They also had to do light work.

In the minute of the meeting of the Board of Guardians held on the 14th August, 1847, it was "Resolved that the children in the house whose parents are out and in a good state of health be sent out of the house at the discretion of the Master and that the boys remaining in the house be made to work three hours each day under the supervision of the schoolmaster." Another minute of the 6th May, 1848, states: "The Master reported to have three boys whipped for disobeying the orders of the shoemaker and tailor and being disorderly." The minute of the 4th November, 1848, states: "The Marquis of Downshire handed the Clerk a donation of one pound, which he was desirous should be expended in the purchase of catechisms for the pauper scholars." He was the fourth Marquis, Arthur Wills Blundell Sandys Trumbull Windsor Hill, the "Big Marquis;" whose statue is opposite the entrance to Hillsborough Parish Church. He was born on the 6th August, 1812, and died on the 8th August, 1868.

In the minute of the 17th November, 1849: "Mr. Edward Senior, Poor Law Inspector, stated to the Board of Guardians that he had just visited the schools in the workhouse, and that he would now suggest, by way of recommendation, the benefit which would be derived by putting the schools under the National System of Education." This was eventually done.

Two thousand Irish workhouse orphans between fourteen and eighteen years of age were emigrants at this period and were sent to Australia. They sailed from Plymouth during 1848. They were specially chosen as suitable migrants and came from the workhouses where they had been educated.

There were other old schools, or perhaps I should say, private houses used by the owners or occupiers as places where some form of education was taught to a few fee-paying pupils.

You will perhaps know of Hugh McCall, journalist, author and historian, and, if you are really interested, you can see his memorial in the south nave of the Cathedral. Well, he was born in 1805 in a house in Chapel Hill and went to a school conducted by a Mrs. Sweeney a few doors from his home. He attended for about a year and in October, 1813, he joined the educational establishment of Mr. Sheals (or Shields) in Castle Street, and had been there for five years ,when he entered the business of his father in May, 1818. He died at his home, "The Hill," North Circular Road, Lisburn, in the year 1897, aged ninety-two years. He was a citizen which my town would be proud to claim. I got these details from an obituary notice written at the time.

In another obituary of the death of W. J. Knox in October, 1905, it is stated that he received his early education in "Mr. Thompson's School." These obituaries usually give a condensed history of the deceased and contain valuable information.

I'm sure some of you will be thinking of Miss Wilson's kindergarten in Conway Street where you commenced your schooldays -happy days of not so long ago. You could add to the list of schools, the one I mentioned earlier in Schoolroom Lane (Railway Street) at about the site of the Library and Church, and on the very old maps in the centre of Market Square. I have no information about these two schools.

There most have been other schools in those bygone days where men and women were doing a useful job preparing the young hopefuls for the simple life of the period. Who were these mostly unknown pioneers? What were their qualifications? Perhaps they had a strong desire to teach, to impart what they knew and, after all, isn't that a very important qualification?

Mr. N. H. Newhouse, recent principal of Friends School, is engaged on the school's history at present, and a booklet has been issued giving the history of Lisburn Convent School for the past one hundred years. There is a largely untouched field of research into the history of education in Lisburn which could be undertaken by persons engaged in the profession.

It would be a most interesting and important study to bring together all that is known or could be discovered of these really remarkable personalities.

Well, there you are, a tour round Lisburn and a peep at the old school buildings where education used to be enforced with a liberal dose of physical psychology.

Market Days

Now for a look at the old Lisburn Markets. Lisburn has been a busy market town from its earliest days in fact since before His Majesty King Charles the First in the Third Year of his reign (1628) granted the Market Rights to Edward, Viscount Conway and Killultagh. The Market Square and later other market places were centers of activity where goods and animals, et cetera, were bartered and sold, deals were made and a fair amount of the business life of the community was carried on.

The markets were a most important responsibility of the town managers, and so there was a desire that the town should acquire them. So negotiations commenced about 1893 and proceeded to a successful conclusion when Lady Wallace (Dame Amelie Julie Charlotte Wallace) agreed to convey the markets to the Lisburn Town Commissioners. The Deed of Conveyance is dated 7th May, 1894, and it transferred the markets with all the rights and privileges of the former owner to the Lisburn Town Commissioners, which then passed to the newly-formed Lisburn Urban Council in 1899.

The Markets brought the town and country together, as the surrounding farmers brought their produce to Lisburn and even to Belfast; Lisburn on Tuesday, Belfast on Friday. A farmer at Lower Ballinderry told me of filling the stiff cart with freshly-dug vegetables the night before and starting off at three o'clock next morning in his cart to Belfast. ,

It was a long sit on a bag of hay with the rhythm of the horses' hooves and the movement of the cart putting you over to sleep. He had done it so often the horse knew the road. The motor engine had not arrived to blast us into the ever-quickening pace which we think "progress" demands, and the man with the red flag still walked in front of the steam roller. You can just imagine the quiet, leisurely tempo which existed when the Commissioners obtained the market rights from Lady Wallace.   

J. & J. Devenny
Bow Street Aug. 1920
Please Click

Where were the markets and what was sold? The market space in Market Square is a triangular piece of the roadway behind the Market House (which was built in 1796 and is now the Assembly Rooms), and another triangular piece in front of Messrs. Tweedy Acheson's, and the Corner as the base and apex at a point down past where the Nicholson statue now is.

 These two areas were free from traffic and could be used for the market. Even at present one is a taxi stand and the other a car park The commodities sold were much the same as are sold in the present Smithfield Market: fruit and vegetables, clothes, delft, et cetera, and "fleshmeats" or butcher's s meats. There were also the sellers of "quack" medicines; peculiar shaped roots and liquid in bottles guaranteed to cure anything from housemaid's knee to baldness. One of these gentlemen was an Indian named "Sequah." He dispensed "Sequah's

"Oil" and "Prairie Flower" to relieve you of rheumatic or any other pains. "Sequah" is, I'm sure, long dead, but rheumatism is, alas, very much alive. The stalls were the same as today, some table tops and some covered over like the present wheeled stalls.

These wheeled stalls belong to the Council and were brought from the Butter and Egg Market every Tuesday morning and taken back in the late afternoon. There were also privately-owned stalls which also had to be taken away, but this was not always done, as the following case shows very clearly.

On the 13th December, 1890, George Sharpe, a shopkeeper, of Bridge Street, appeared in court on a charge of causing an obstruction in Market Square by leaving his fruit stall in the Square from the 20th to the 29th November, 1890. The solicitors were Wellington Young, for the Commissioners, and F. W. Charley, of Messrs. Charley and Allen, for the defendant. After some evidence Mr. Charley stated, "Stall-holders had left their stalls in Market Place for a century, and Sharpe for thirty-seven years, and they were entitled to keep them there to "Eternity's Bell" Case adjourned, and no wonder, after that broadside.

When everyone had recovered, the case was resumed again on the 7th February, 1891. Mr. Young: "On Tuesday, there were, he supposed, sixty stalls in the Square, but they were all removed by the owners, except Sharpe, who refused to obey the Town Inspector, Robert Bailey. He kept his stall at the corner of Mr. Duncan's shop from Tuesday night till Saturday."

Town Inspector: "Sharpe had a shop in Bridge Street and sold articles in the Square on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The covered stall, eleven feet by three feet, was placed in front of Duncan's on Tuesday, and at the side for the rest of the week, no goods exposed, the fittings taken off, leaving the table. The table, to my recollection, has been there for eight or nine years." Francis Turner, collector of stall dues, said, "Sharpe's stall has been there for over twenty years !" Result: Sharpe fined five shillings and, in default, one week's imprisonment. It looks like a foregone conclusion. A rather unfair sentence, as it would almost seem that he acquired a squatter's right to the spot after all those years.

Perhaps that was what the prosecution feared. John Chapman, chemist, Castle Street, has an old photograph of Market Square looking from Bow Street to Ulster Buildings, then Duncan's and what do you know, there is Sharpe's stall, sitting all by itself, thumbing its nose at officialdom!

Just think, sixty stalls in 1890, and, apparently, some of them owned by town shopkeepers. I would say this would apply to the butchers' stalls.

We leave the hurly-burly of the Square with the shouts of the stall-holders following us down round Market Street corner as we go to make our next call at the Fowl and Butter Market.

No. 2. The Fowl and Butter Market of 1893 was later to become the Butter and Egg Market. It was a square, walled-in area of one rood and twenty perches on the site of the former Linen Hall built by the Marquis of Hertford about 1750 and giving the name to "Linenhall Street.- John Wesley preached in the Linen Hall on several occasions. At this time half the people in and around Lisburn were engaged in the linen business, most of them weavers.

There could be up to five hundred weavers present on a Tuesday morning at ten o'clock in the busy season. There were sheds and stands round the walls and in 1894 when the commissioners took over, a covered portion was erected in the centre which had tables for the produce. It had ceased to be a Linen Hall, although the estate maps of 1878 still gave it the title "Linen Hall."

From the Linen to the Butter and Eggs would seem a far cry, but it was the same people bringing in both. In my time the big buyers were shopkeepers, some of whom rented the sheds and stood at the doors haggling over the price with the egg producers. You would hear someone just in asking, "What's the eggs the day?" "One and six," "One and six ! They're fairly goin' up, and it no time till Aisther."

I remember in 1928 going round testing the eggs, I had a little wooden box with two aluminum egg cups inside, below which were two electric bulbs lit from a battery when you pressed a button, and the eggs in the eggcups became transparent. You looked in at the eggs through an aperture and made your decision.


Do you remember the wicker baskets in which the farmers brought the eggs? A layer of hay, a layer of eggs, from the bottom to the top. I inspected one of these baskets of eggs and got four really bad ones.

The Council prosecuted and the owner was fined one pound per egg. A tough fine in those days. However, the Ministry of Agriculture took over the production, parking, grading and sale of eggs and really made the egg big business. No more hens "laying away" now. The site is presently occupied by the main Post Office building.

No. 3. The Cattle Market was on the complete site taken over by the Vehicle Testing Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs at the corner of Smithfield Street and Hillsborough Road, and is an area of two roods and thirty-eight perches. A part of it later became used as a Fowl Market and later still a cattle grading station was established.

The wall along the Hillsborough Road side was fourteen feet six inches high, and on the inside and along the wall was a row of sheds used by the fowl dealers. In 1930 a Meat Inspection Depot was erected, the builder being Robert MacHenry, Derriaghy. It was removed when the Ministry took over the site. There were two gateway entrances from Smithfield Street, which, by the way, was at one time called "Church View."

No. 4. The Hay Market. one rood and twenty-six perches in arm, was on the other side of Smithfield Street from the Cattle Market. It extended along Smithfield Street from the gable of the two private dwellings to Market Place, and in depth, it went back a little less than half that distance, almost the site used by Messrs. Walls as a storage space during the building of the Swimming Pool, plus the piece which contains the present weighbridge.

I say "the present weighbridge;" because in 1894 there was a weighbridge and office at the gateway entrance next the two dwellings. The weighbridge was in the centre of the gateway. There was a low wall with an iron railing round the outside, iron gates at the entrances, and a high wall separated the Hay Market from the Potato, Oats and Grain Market, through which wall an entrance was made later.

No. 5. The Potato, Oats and Grain Market was two roods thirty four and a quarter perches in area and was built in 1828 by the Marquis of Hertford at a cost of £1,500. It was called the "New Market" in 1893. It was on the other side of the Hay Market wall (approximately on the Swimming Pool site). There was a low wall with an iron railing along Market Place. If you stand in Market Place and look through the railing, there was a wall on the left, a wall on the right, and a wall across the far end, parallel with Market place and in line with the gable wall of the nearest dwelling-house in Smithfield Street, and behind the weighbridge and office existing. There was an entrance from hares Street and two gates from Market Place.

The two walls at right-angles to Market Place had very suitably designed sheds built against them. There were twelve or thirteen openings on each wall with rounded arches over. Also, and this may surprise you, there was a market house with steeple and bell, and a weighbridge and office at about ninety-five feet from the Market Place railing.

The bell in this tower was rung to start the market off on Tuesday mornings. The Historical Society has a bell which was in the recently removed sheds (to make room for the pool) and I would say that this is the bell from the original market house tower. There was a lever sticking out from the bell to which a rope was attached, and the bell was rung at eight a.m.

On the 29th February, 1896 (a leap year), on a Wednesday afternoon, I think, the Market House was sold, for taking down, by Robert Diamond, auctioneer. The bidders were John Vernon and W. Todd (Todd Bros., Market Square, now Mace). Todd offered the highest sum, �25, and got the Market House. This was two years after the Commissioners had obtained possession. They had it taken down but they didn�t put anything in its place, and there has been no market house since 1896.

Behind the rear wall of the Grain Market was an area bounded by the wall, Haslem's Lane, and James Street, which was private property and which the Commissioners acquired by purchase from the owners. This was done later.

No. 6. The Pork Market was held in Smithfield, in the open square. The 1893 map shows a space around it to be used as a roadway. Where the pork weighing shed is now (unused for that purpose) there was a covered shed, probably used then for weighing the pork carcases The pork meat was brought to the Market in the country carts, usually on a bed of clean straw or hay and, very much later, required to be covered with a clean cloth. 

The farmers' carts were lined up and were met by the buyers, usually from Lisburn and Belfast. They were wholesale pork curers and a few pork merchants who cured their own pork. It was a quiet market with no fuss or excitement. It's much more quiet now. The hand-bell which used to be rung to commence business is now a museum piece, like its big brother from the tower, and the market is no more.

On Fair Day, Market Place was worth seeing as the horses and ponies were trotted up and down to the shouts, cheers and laughs of the crowd. Many a lad "mitched" from school on the Fair Day. The horse trough, which was just in front of the entrance to the Swimming Pool and at the edge of the footpath, did good business, but it was only for horses; the sellers and buyers clinched their bargains elsewhere.

Well, now, there you are: a glance at the old markets of almost a past generation. What a change today I Butter, egg, pork, cattle and grain streamlined, organised, standardised and modernised, and priced to a fraction of a penny. I would imagine there is no hand-slapping now as the bargains are made, perhaps in London. No retiring to the nearest "pub" to seal the bargain. And no one satisfied, "if I had been there I would have let them know a thing or two." In the old days you were always there and you had no one else to blame. However, we really have few genuine complaints as time marches-nay, rushes on, and except for the present type of variety market, the Lisburn markets have gone and have become a part of the towns colourful history.

Will you please have a look at the market sites of 1893.

  A Look Into Lisburn's Water Resources

Do you ever, in your quieter moments give the Lisburn town water supply a thought? When you turn on the tap and the life-giving water flows out, do you feel a small degree of satisfaction, or do you just take it for granted?

Perhaps you are one of the great majority who are completely ignorant of who or what produces the crystal flow, and only goes into a tantrum when, for some good reason, the water is turned off.

The old saw, �You never miss the water till the well runs dry� is applicable when the water fails to arrive at your jaw-box, sink, wash-hand basin or bathroom suite.

But this "water from the tap" business is of recent origin. There was a time when, like all the other people in the country, you bad your own supply: a well, spring, stream, or other natural source. You can see this still not far from Lisburn, but gradually more difficult to find as water mains push their way under the surface of the country roads.

This little bit of unseen urbanisation has, in some cases, intruded into the rural scene. It hasn't always been acceptable. You will be told, "Agh, it hasn't the same taste as the oul well." Which was quite true for a variety of reasons, some unmentionable. The wells are being filled in, and the pumps are now garden ornaments alongside the gas lampposts which seem to be wishing they were still standing serenely amongst the rush and bustle of Belfast.

But to get back to Lisburn, would you like to have a look at the history of the towns water supply? You would? Good! Off we go.

Amongst the conditions concerning the ownership of land which was granted away back in the 1600s were instructions as to the lay-out of the new towns, that a place for a church and churchyard and a market-place be provided, and "to take care that water may be conveniently had for serving the towns." These considerations could decide where a town could be sited.

In the case of Lisburn, water was plentiful, as the town lay on the banks of the river Lagan, then free of pollution, and there were streams and springs running down from the mountains. The supply of water was no worry to the people of the original town, with its fifty-two or fifty-three houses in Castle Street, Bow Street, Bridge Street and Market Square.

In the book, 'Lisburn Cathedral and Its Past Rectors,' there is a quotation from a letter dated 1621 from Lord Conway to Lord Dorchester, in which he writes of the Lisnagarvey district: "boggy ground, pleasant fields, water brooks, rivers full of fish, full of game, the people in their attire, language, fashion, barbarous. In their entertainment, free and noble." Where every prospect pleases and only man is vile.

I wonder will the proposed Lagan Valley park in some measure restore the idyllic scene of this bygone age. He said the fashion was "barbarous"! If Lord Conway could take a walk in the town on a Saturday afternoon and see the style or fashion now, he would say he was born too soon: in fact, just about three hundred years too soon !

Where was I? Oh, yes I You can see that to obtain water was not a great problem; there was no scarcity in those early days. Of course people drank water; they always did; but they also had ale, mead, milk and buttermilk and "usquebaugh;" that is, whiskey. But, gradually at first and then faster, the population grew and circumstances arose that rendered the old supplies inconvenient and insufficient.

The increasing population, at 1600, say three hundred persons, and at 1800, four thousand five hundred, and the new industries which had developed, called for a new look at the water situation.

Reservoirs and piped supplies were being provided elsewhere, including Belfast (see Jack Loudan's "In Search of Water"), so why not Lisburn. Something would have to be done.

I have before me an old book of the Hertford estate, which was used for the letting of the vacant town parks or plots of land, and on the map for 1835 there is marked the "Spring Water Course," which was the Town Water Stream. This stream, which ran along the glen at Duncan's Road, before Duncan's Reservoir was made, divided, with one arm going down the Antrim Road, crossing at Dunville's Bridge, and running across the land to Stewarts Mill pond. From there the overflow joined some other streams and they became the By-wash and went to the Lagan. The other arm went round the back of the dog-kennels, crossed under Dog Kennel Lane, on across what is now the rugby ground, round the Thompson House land, down the side of the Magheralave Road, then, crossing under, ran through the Friends' School ground and, finally, into the Old Reservoir, the Park pond.

From this Old Reservoir the water was conducted through wooden pipes to the various parts of the town which were below the level of the reservoir. These wooden pipes were made of straight lengths of tree trunks, bored up the centre, and tapered at one end, like a lead pencil, and the other end having a tapered hole which received the end of another length driven in. Connections and junctions could be made to premises, but I'm sure there was very little pressure. Various types of trees were used, but English elm was said to be the best. On odd occasions parts of the old wooden mains have been dug up during excavations in the town.

The overflow from the Old Reservoir flowed past the Courthouse (no Courthouse then), down the Railway side of Bachelor's Walk (under the front gardens of the houses), and joined its mate which it had left in Duncan's Road, in Antrim Street, and together they went to the Lagan. They are still running when at times there is a heavy rainfall to create a run of water from the park pond.

Mention of the pond in the park brings to mind the Wallace fountain on the main walk. Did you ever really have a good look at this lovely piece of workmanship made in Paris, or the one in Castle Gardens? In this drinking fountain the water came up a pipe in the centre of the bowl and you drank from a metal cup on a chain. Now only used as a support for a modern drinking fountain, which use is a piece of vandalism.

In a Paris guide-book entitled "The Diamond Guide for the Stranger in Paris;" by Adolphe and Paul Joanne, printed by Messieurs. Hachette et Cie., eighth edition, 1878, there is the following information:

On page forty there is an engraving of the "Fontaine Wallace," with this description: "The Fontaines Wallace" were given by Sir Richard Wallace, to be placed in the districts frequented principally by the working classes. They me of two different designs: forty-five with caryatids and five called d'applique. In the first model the water comes out of the cupola, which is supported by four caryatids; it fall's into the basin and so washes the cup fastened by a chain. In the second system the water comes out of the head of a figure placed in the front and falls into a little cup which is fastened between two pilasters."  

Old Lagan Bridge pre 1880
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The first of these two types was that of the Lisburn Wallace fountains, of which there were five. They were placed at the following points:-One at the junction of Market Place and Bow Street, in the middle of the road opposite "Crazy's"; one in Market Square, on the site of Nicholson's statue; one in the Castle Gardens, which is still there; one at the junction of Seymour Street, Low Road and Millbrook, in the middle of the road; one in the Wallace Park main walk, which is still there. Now that we are in the Common Market and you will likely be going to Paris, have a look round for a Wallace Fountain, there are still some there.

Duncan's Reservoir was in operation prior to 1876 as it appears on the 1876 map, but Boomer's Reservoir is absent. In the 1878 list of occupiers of land, Renny Boomer is mentioned as being in McWatter's farm, "Oldpark Farm," now owned by the Council (and there's a good story to be told about the reason for buying it). There was another Roomer nearby, Edward, but I would guess that Benny gave the name to the "Boomer's Reservoir." Why did the name change from "Balmer"? and, by the way, "Renny" is how the name is spelt on the estate notice which I read.

Boomer's Reservoir was made about 1880, and in 1894 it was bought, along with the market rights, from Lady Wallace, as, of course, was Duncan's Reservoir. The Town Commissioners became the owners of the water rights, and the water authority. Boomer's Reservoir became the main source of supply, a shaky supply in the summer, when the water was usually shut off at nights.

The sill was raised eighteen inches about 1910 to increase the water storage. It had now become a battle between the water supply and the increase in size and population of the town. In 1925 a pumping plant was installed at Duncan's Dam to pump water up to Boomer's. It was a diesel engine pump and the last man to use it was Jack McAllister, an employee of the Borough Council. In 1930 an electrically-driven centrifugal pump was installed and in 1941 both pumps were inoperative and Duncan's Dam ceased to be used as a town water supply.

Since 1935, when the "John D. Barbour Well" started to pour forth its unending stream of very high quality water to Boomer's Reservoir, it has never run dry. It sent up seventeen thousand gallons per hour when it commenced and, as the borehole was beside Duncan's Dam, it was said that they were pumping the water out of the dam and running it back into it when the pump was on test. It was, however, coming up from the four hundred feet bore-hole. It was a great success and the forerunner of three other bore-holes. They were bored through Triassic sandstone, three of them four hundred feet deep and one six hundred feet deep. It is interesting to note the colours of the sandstone layers-red, green, grey, yellow, blue and white, and to think that the sandstone was laid down millions of years ago.

The battle between town and water continues, with the water always looking for reinforcements. We are now also receiving water from the Belfast Water Commissioners' reservoirs at Stoneyford and the Silent Valley, and the demand for more water grows apace. It seems unending, and if you go up to McWatters' farm at Oldpark, Aghalislone, you will see the stream, the main feeder stream, which filled the Old Reservoir in the Wallace Park and is still playing a useful role today, Like "Ole Man River," in its own way, it keeps on rolling along.

If you would like to see this little stream, go up past Mr. Drayne's farm and take the first road on the right (Boomer's Corner), go down to McWatters' farmhouse and you are over the stream. It runs under the road.

It's very nice country round here, with winding heaving roads, good trees, a new view at every turn, and a pretty name, "Ivy Hill." The Boomer's Reservoir looks like a sheet of silver from here. Away in the distance the Mournes, and down among the smoke, the City of Belfast.

There must have been a very large tree about Ivy Hill one time, for it is marked on the 1876 map "The Big Tree." I asked a man at Derriaghy did he ever hear of it? "Oh aye, but I believe it blew down the night of the �Big Wind� ! And who am I to question that

The McWatters' farm I have mentioned was owned by the great Belfast bakery firm of McWatters. About two hundred and fifty acres in extent, it was sold up in lots about 1937. It was the time of horse-drawn breadcarts, and the farm was used, amongst other farm purposes as a holiday home for weary and retired horses. It was a very tough job pulling a breadcart over the cobble-stones and square-sets of Belfast.

The increasing size of Lisburn is shown by the number of streets in the town being gradually added. In 1819 there were twenty-seven streets and lanes; in 1914, ninety-seven streets; in 1970, two hundred and sixty-three streets and more under construction, with new water mains.

The provision of main sewers became a priority in 1900, when the population was approximately eleven thousand, I should say. So where was all the waste water going previously? So William Tennent Henry, C.E., prepared plans for the new sewerage system, and later the work commenced.

On the 18th August, 1905, a curious sightseer could have seen a jolly party of men setting off from the Town Hall, Castle Street, in a couple of horse-drawn brakes and some side-cars. And where were they bound for? To New Holland, where Mr. C. B. Wilkins was to cut the first sod of the New Purification Scheme. He was presented with a spade which was unique. The spade had a solid oak handle, beautifully carved, a solid silver blade, with the inscription: "Lisburn Sewerage Works-Presented to O. B. Wilkins, Esq., Chairman of the Urban District Council, by the Contractors, B. Firth & Co., on the occasion of the first sad-cutting, August 16, 1905."

I wonder where the spade is now.

And so the demand for houses, more water, sewers and sewage treatment keeps on and there is no point where finality is reached. We just have to try to keep up with, or better still, a little ahead of the needs of today, for tomorrow will surely come.

1 hope you have enjoyed this article on the Lisburn Water Supplies. There is a lot more to be told of all that is done to give you a water supply free from everything harmful. It's a wonderful story) You will think of it now and again, wont you? Good !

A sad story to finish. On May 23, 1899, a little boy and girl were drowned in the Old Reservoir, the pond in the Wallace park. The little boy got over the railing and fell in and his sister got over to save him and lost her life also. Mr. Fred McMurray made an unsuccessful attempt to save them, for which he received the Certificate of the Royal Humane Society. well, well, that was indeed a sad day in Lisburn. Could something like this happen at Duncan's Dam at the present day? Children are playing around it.

More Thoughts on the Water Supplies

The long spell of dry weather which caused the turning off of the water supply led me to think of the fairly recent past history of the water supply to Lisburn when a shortage of water was the accepted thing almost every summer.

The capacity of Boomer's and Duncan's Reservoirs was insufficient to supply the demand for water, so when the rain ceased falling on the catchment area, the top water level of the reservoirs fell and action had to be taken to make the water in reserve last till the rain came on again.

It's as simple as that: no rain, no water I But sure everyone knows that, and it is very little compensation when your day at the seaside is spoiled by the rain to say, "Ah, well, it's filling the reservoir !"

Just previous to the last war, about 1938, an inspection was made of all possible sources of water supply in case the town mains or reservoirs were destroyed, and it was interesting m find that there was still evidence left of early wells and pumps which had been in use for a very long time and might come in handy again.

The Lagan River as a source of water for fire-fighting was, of course, practically inexhaustible, but for use as a domestic supply no good, except with special treatment. The most abundant supply of running spring water was the "Boiling Well" on the left side of the Moira Road and behind the Lisburn Service Station. It must have been running strongly before Lisburn had a house built. It is mentioned by name on some of the old maps. It was used as an auxiliary supply about 1911 to fill the town mains at top of Longstone Street, a pump from the Belfast Fire Brigade being used.

In the Old Warren area, at the bottom of Warren Gardens, down next to the Lagan, there were very strong springs, and the old thatched houses in this district had a never-ending supply. You went down "Smith's Lane" to the houses. '

At this spot there was at one time a bleach green, probably used by Coulsons, who had a factory at Sprucefield. All this area is at present under housing development.

Dr. Peatt, a well-known G.P. in Lisburn, some years ago said that "the Old Warren area was the healthiest part of Lisburn, good sandy soil, and the air from the Mournes and Divis filling your lungs." We'll just take a few deep breaths while we're here; in, out; in, out; and you begin to feel better already.

At Causewayend, on the west side of the esker road, were very good springs running out of the gravel. I remember James and Charlie Drake sinking a well for their slaughter-house, barn and cottage, and at two feet they got all the water they needed. On a map of 1835 the name "William Drake" is mentioned as holding land at Causewayend. The name is still prominent in the town.

The "Fairy Well" in Benson Street is, alas, gone. As you go into Benson Street from the Antrim Road you go up a little' hill, once known as "Bensons Hill." You go up over the top, and at the bottom, on the left, opposite the factory site, was the "Fairy Well," with an overflow of spring water. Plenty of people in Lisburn today have had a drink from the Fairy Well. This whole area has completely changed since 1930. Benson Street ended at the Fairy Well, and all was fields with the stream from the Dummy's Lane running down the middle of bogland to Stewart's mill dam. Before the mills was erected in 1835 the stream ran across Antrim Lane (Street) as an open rivulet and continued as the "By-wash" to the Lagan. Now this stream in the old days was I'm sure, used for human consumption, as at Duncan's road near the dog kennels the main stream divided, one part going towards Benson Street, and the other part going to the town reservoir, known as "the basin," in Wallace Park. This was "Clear Water Stream," which supplied water in wooden pipes to premises on a lower level.

In doing this research I examined a copy of the plan for the "Proposed People's Park, Town of Lisburn," which had the Local Government Board, Ireland, stamp as received 14th January, 1885. At this time the area around the basin was all fields, with the exception of the Cricket Field, which had been in use since at least 1857. Access to the cricket field was from Dean's Walk, just as at present.

I think we should have a look at this old plan and see how the park was to be laid out. It shows a "music stand" approximately where the present band-stand is. (I wonder which band played the first tune, probably at the opening.) .

Between the music stand and Parkmount front gardens was a "coffee stand." It would have been the site of the "hot-dog" stand at the recent '71 Festival.

The Railway Walk (the Deans Walk), which was already in existence as a public right-of-way, between Magheralave Road and the Belfast Road, was to be widened to thirty feet. There was an existing lodge at the Belfast Road end at the railway.

The cricket field and lawn tennis courts were to be in the same spot as now, The site of the present rugby ground was to have an ornamental pond surrounded by trees and a twelve-feet footpath. The main walk to be made thirty-five feet wide with a lodge at the Magheralave Road on the other side of the walk from where it is now. There were to be plenty of secondary walks all to be twelve feet wide.

The trees you see now on the main walk were planted at :his time. Mr. Pat Gelston's house was along a lane which was the site of the main walk. The house was about seventy-five yards from the Belsize Road. Mr. Gelston rented the land from the marquis of Hertford, and later, Sir Richard Wallace.

The town got the park on 22nd June, 1885, as a public park and recreation ground. Did they make a better job of it than the original plan? I forgot to mention the football ground, which was in much the same spot as now but lengthways between the Dean's Walk and Main Walk and just the size for one match at a time.

Perhaps you are wondering where the water would come from to fill the ornamental pond? It came from a stream at the side of the Parkmount It is still there, but it is now covered over and runs below the rugby ground down to the railway. There was also the overflow from the Basin which joins this stream and they both run hand-in-hand down Bachelor's Walk.  

Young Street c. 1920
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As usual, we have wandered away from the subject matter, water; the Boiling Well, Fairy Well and the Old Warren.

Springs were really on the outskirts of the town, but what did the town residents have as their water supply? If they were below Basin level they had a piped supply as mentioned in their deeds, paying annually from five shillings to two pounds. The average would be about fifteen shillings.

The maps of the 1879s show pumps, barrels, troughs, cisterns and tanks as being widely in use even where the piped supply was available. The troughs, etc., in the yards were for the use of the horses and ponies, which any family of note had in this motorless age.

You'll notice the number of gateway entrances in Lisburn (being gradually built up) all made for the pony and trap, and horse and cart. And the "pubs" had stables for the farmers' horses and, of course, customers horses. The last old stable removed was at the rear of "The Coachman," Market Square. The By-wash ran past the rear of this building as an open stream and still runs in a culvert.

 The well-to-do people all had their wells, even when they had the piped supply. The Friends' School, Thompson Home (now Thompson House), Lisnagarvey House (demolished), The Fort (on the site of Forthill Girls School), Roseville (demolished) and The Manor House

(now Manor Home) all had wells. The Union Workhouse, Dublin Road, had a well beside the ditch between the hospital and the Ulster Bus premises. It was put into working order before the war but never actually used.

The Convent School, Castle Street, had a well in the garden which had a bee-hive shaped cover and door. The water level was about one foot below ground level. The late Dr. Johnston's house and the house next to it had wells. It must have happened that the great General Nicholson had many a drink of this water.

A little further along this seam of water was the overflowing well at the Lisburn Mineral Water Company's premises. On the same seam at the rear of Nos. 38 and 40 Belfast Road was an overflowing well which helped to water the tennis courts and bowling green when the mains were turned off in the summer. Down the Low Road below Wilson Street are houses which when erected had one pump provided for over four houses. The last one was removed for scrap iron a few years ago.

And, of course, we can't forget the pump in Pump Lane (now Ridgeway Street) and the Priests' Well in the Priests' Lane (now Tonagh Avenue).

When the lanes, courts and alleys were built about 1800 they usually had a water tap or, as it was called, a fountain. One tap for each lane.

The last fountains were in Fairymount Square, two for twelve houses.

A little later there was a tap for each house, usually in the yard outside, to be followed by the water tap over the sink inside the house. The water had really come home to be with us as an invaluable ally, without which life just couldn't exist. So dont waste this precious gift from above, and I mean those heavy rain-filled clouds.

A good amount of the above information was obtained before the war, but thank goodness it wasn't put into practice. And before I forget, there was a pump on the footpath in Bow Street in 1878, just at what is now Whites Cafe.

About 1900, with the increase in the number of new houses and ether premises, and the increase in the population, it was decided that main sewerage and a disposal works be provided, and the first sod for the works was cut at New Holland on 18th August, 1905. I'm sure there are a few persons around who remember this event.

Boomers Reservoir had been the main water supply since 1894, and there was plenty of water for the population of approximately 9,000. This was the beginning of the change from what was known as "Dry Conservancy" to the "Water Carriage System" in relation to domestic sanitation. The Council were forging ahead and appointed Mr. W. T. McBride as Sanitary Inspector, 29th July, 1905.

What was the New Holland disposal works like? Simply huge tank for settlement, and afterwards land filtration by-passing the tank effluent along a series of open drains about three feet wide, when it percolated through the soil into perforated drain pipes and from thence to the Lagan canal.

Between these open drains were planted willows, which, when kept pruned, produced "sally rods" or osiers. These osiers or "scallops" were in great demand for making potato, egg and all kinds of baskets, babies' cradles, and used in thatching.

It was not a very satisfactory system, but it suited the circumstances at the time. It was a step in the evolution towards the modern scientific plant to be seen at New Holland today. Take a walk down some day and have a look round. Most interesting !

When I joined the Urban Council in 1928, the removal of domestic refuse was by means of horses and carts, and men with shovels and large basins. Even at this time there were hundreds of dry "privies; whose replacement with W.C.'s was a high priority. In the meantime the "privies" had to be emptied. James McDowell, of New Street, off Millbrook, had the contract to supply the horses and carts and drivers, and the Council provided the men to do the filling and carrying of the large basins from the pits at the rear of the houses to the waiting carts.

The excavated material went to the tipping ground (the Dump) and sometimes to farmers The charge for emptying these pits was one shilling and sixpence, but could be more, paid by the occupier who got a receipt on the spot. It was an appalling job for men to have to do, and on looking back, I never heard much complaint.

As W. Cs replaced the "privies," ash-bins came into use, and those persons who had a bin paid sixpence to have it emptied, usually about once a month, "pressed down and running over" to get a good tanner's worth.

Sam Leckey, yard foreman, brought me the money and receipt books and I banked the money every Monday. Somehow the government auditor didn't like the pit and bin books very much; they got a very quick look over.

Later I got the bin price reduced to threepence, and eventually convinced the Council to put the refuse- collection on the rates and really do the job in a modern way. This was the end of the horse and cart era.

In 1930 the Council purchased a Shelvoke and Drewry Freighter, a metal small wheeled vehicle with a moveable cover over, with the driver standing in the cab at the front.

Now, when you see these great metal monsters with their intricate machinery moving along the streets, give a thought m the early pioneers, a bard-working body of men !

Lisburn Gas Works--Gone But Not Forgotten

Henry Bayly wrote in his 1834 "Historical Account of Lisburn," "Respecting the appearance of Lisburn, it is cheerful, streets mostly spacious, carefully paved and always clean. The sidepaths are not flagged, but we believe it is in contemplation to do so. Lamps were erected in 1825 and a Mr. Whowell employed to light the streets with gas; but owing to Whowell's failure, the work has been neglected. We hope that this evil will be remedied as soon as possible."

It was not,, however, till 1837 that Bayly's wish began to be realised.

An act of 1828 gave the Irish towns the power to elect Commissioners, to improve rates, to provide for lighting, watching, water and sewerage, and so forth. These powers were not taken up immediately and it was not until 1837 that the Act was adopted. The Lisburn Gas Company Limited was formed and a committee got to work with a capital £2,500 on the gasworks in Bridge Street.

The production of gas was on the way, under the chairmanship of John Millar, Esquire, J.P., who was part owner of the land acquired. It was a private company.

Part of the land from Bridge Street to Back Lane, in the names of John Millar, Rev. William Hind and Anne and Edward Heron was to become the site of the Gasworks. This land was at the rear of Nos. 52 and 68 Bridge Street and included Wood's Alley and Heron's Alley (sometimes called "Herons Folly"), the first between Nos. 50 and 52, and the second between 56 and 58.

Herron's Alley was the original gateway to the gasworks from Bridge Street. There was another entrance from Back Lane. The foreman lived in No. 58 and was in a handy spot to keep an eye on the number of loads of coal delivered.

The Lamplighter lived in No. 54, where David Feagan, his wife and four children died when the house went an fire in 1910.

In the Notices of the Landed Estates Court, setting out all the property owned by Sir Richard Wallace and dated 1878, the Lisburn Gas Light Company had a Fee-farm Grant dated fifteenth of March, 1876, from Sir Richard Wallace at the yearly rent of nine pounds with nine shillings receiver's s salary. There was a charge of eleven pounds two shillings and sixpence for a supply of pipe water to the premises. A total of twenty pounds, eleven shillings and sixpence for approximately two roods and eighteen perches.

In what was the boardroom of the new Gas Office, in Bridge Street, is an old oil painting with the following inscription on a brass plate; "John Millar, Esq., J.P., founder of the Lisburn Gas Company Ltd., and Chairman of Directors until his death, 8th December, 1881. Painted in accordance with the resolution of the shareholders passed at the annual meeting, 7th August, 1882." John Millar was a pleasant looking, bearded gentleman who guided the affairs of the company for forty-four years, surely a record term of service to a company with shareholders. It was a boom time for gas; everyone drew their dividend with a smile.

The man Edward Heron, mentioned above as a landowner, is perhaps the same person as is stated in the 1819 directory as residing in Castle Street and being a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. The little entry, Herron's Alley, with seven houses, belonged to Anne and him. I think she must have been his sister, as in the case of a married man the wife's name is not mentioned in the court notices. In those days the man was the boss !

In all the expanding that occurred at the gas works they never got No. 70 Bridge Street and the land at the rear right through to Back Lane. This was Edgar's Entry and the entrance was from Bridge Street. It was a cul-de-sac with eleven houses in 1882.

The lease for No. 70 was dated 10th April, 1751, and was given by Francis Earl of Hertford to one Saywell Kain with perpetual renewal. The lease was last renewed (before 1878), 1st January, 1830, from Francis Charles Marquis of Hertford to William Edgar, and was for the lives and life of his Majesty William IV (who died 1847 when the gas works started-no connection); her present Majesty Queen Victoria and Prince George of Cumberland.

The names of members of the Royal Family appeared in many of the old leases as, I suppose, they were likely to live to a ripe old age.

The last occupier of No. 70 and owner of what had now become Sloan's Entry (Slow being the owner after Edgar) was Robbie John Allen, a well-known general dealer in this town.

Of course there was no gas without coal in those days and the coal came from Belfast by barge or fighter on the Lagan Canal, and was put into carts like the old-fashioned country carts with the horse between the shafts, and the horse pulled the load up to Herron's Alley.

This was the Bridge Street entrance to the works then. The canal opened on the 7th September, 1763, when the horse-drawn canal boat "Lord Hertford," made the journey from Belfast to Lisburn.

In 1794 the canal was completed to Lough Neagh. The level of the canal kept rising through to the locks up to the Broadwater at Soldierstown and then down by lock to Lough Neagh level. It was 25½ miles long and had twenty-seven locks. A barge could carry up to ninety tons and at 1906 the annual traffic was one hundred and sixty thousand tons.

It took a week to do the journey from Belfast to Lough Neagh and back. And now, when canals are being revived everywhere, our canal is gone for good. What a peaceful relaxing journey to spend a week travelling quietly by lighter up the beautiful Lagan Valley to Lough Neagh, "far from the madding crowd."

(By the way, have you ever heard that heroic ballad, "The Cruise of the Calabar." It tells of the trials and dangers of getting a barge to Lisburn. Have a look for it, it's good fun, and would suit a pop group.) And then going for a lough cruise on the steamer, "The Marchioness of Donegal," owned by the Canal Company and the first lake steamer in Ireland. The "Lough Neagh Queen" was another of those old steamers.

As mentioned above, the coal for the gas works (and Hilden Mill, etc.) came from Belfast in barges which were loaded at the coal quay at the harbour in front of the County Down Railway Station, and adjacent to the ferry steps which led down into the water. On the other side of the harbour (the Albert side) there was a similar set of steps and a steam ferry, owned by the Harbour Commissioners, plied between these two steps, taking shipyard workers and others across the harbour at a charge of one halfpenny, later raised to one penny (old money).

You could walk on board the ferry at both ends,. You walked down the steps and stepped on and on reaching the other side of the harbour you moved along the ferry, stepped off and went up the steps. As the tide rose and fell, less or more steps were visible above the water. The ferry had an uncovered flat deck, with the engine, boiler, et cetera, and engineer in the centre. It went forwards and backwards across the harbour without having to turn around and carried probably a total of one hundred persons, all standing.

There were three ferries, the one at the coal quay (Queen's Quay), another between Abercoro Basin and Donegal) Quay, and a third working from Victoria Wharf to Milewater Basin. Those were the days when Harland and Wolff and Workman and Clarke's shipyards were going full blast, night and day, and the ferries were very busy. The ferries stopped running about 1932 and the steps were filled in. A careful scrutiny of the harbour wall would probably give a clue to the original site.

On the 27th March, 1900, the lighter "Rory O'More," of Lisburn, was sitting at the ferry steps, Queen's Quay, at the Co. Down railway station, fully loaded with coal. It had been a wild day, with a gale blowing up Belfast Lough and causing the waves to break over the lighter, which was low in the water. It eventually filled and sank. The lighter-man, James McVeigh, and a woman named Annie McCann (35), Joseph Street, Belfast, were found dead on board by the harbour divers. A sad end for one of those legendary men of bygone leisurely days who steered the barge or led the horse on the towpath all the way to Lisburn. '

Well, after that diversion, back to the Gas Works. The new Gas Company was forging ahead. The first gasometer was inside the gasworks at the Back Lane entrance to the premises. It had a capacity of about 10,000 cubic feet.

As the demand for gas increased, more storage accommodation was provided by the erection of larger gas holders and removal of the earlier and smaller ones. The original gas holder was gone from inside the works area and the present site was being used for holding purposes. Of the present three holders two have a capacity. of 120,000 cubic feet each and the other 250,000 cubic feet. Of course, we have the resources of the Belfast Corporation Gas Department to keep them filled.

Over the years the whole site bad been gradually changing, houses in Bridge Street had been demolished, a new entrance road made between Jelly's public-house and the present Gas Office, built in 1913. There was an older office building with the title, "Gas Store Showroom," a photograph of which is in the present office. It may have been nn the site of the new building. The new road mentioned was formerly "Woods Alley." Heron's Alley, the original entrance, was closed up, houses demolished and the space used as a coal store. Mack's Court, off Back Lane, had become stores and workshops.

 New machinery had been installed and a gas-from-off plant was erected in what had been an orchard at one lime. A steam disinfecting station had been erected in 1930 convenient to the boiler house where steam could be obtained to disinfect clothing taken from houses where there had been an infectious disease. This replaced the old gas-heated disinfector which was just inside the gate to the Lisburn Cemetery in Sandy Lane, now Warren Park. A peculiar place to have a disinfector, in a graveyard.

There was a belief that you could not get an infectious disease (scarlet fever, diphtheria, et cetera) if you lived within a hundred yards of the gasworks. The fumes from the retorts were supposed to kill the germs. I haven't the foggiest notion as to whether there was any truth in this belief or not, but I don't remember an infectious disease in Bridge Street, Back Lane or Barnsley's Row, and only one in Market Lane during my time.

I told Mr. Wilson, who was the town clerk, about the scarlet fever in Market Lane, and he said, "Well, well, I thought they were so tough down there that the germs couldn't penetrate them" ! He hadn't much faith in the gas works fumes idea.

Lisburn was growing rapidly, boundary extension had taken place and the population was in 1960 about 17,000; say, over 4,000 houses in comparison to 1837, when the gasworks started there were 992 houses, 675 slated and the rest thatched. The gas works was at full stretch but it was just too small. Some hard thinking had to be done. It was a new gas works, or else--.

The Lisburn Gas Company Limited had been in operation from 1837 until 1909, when the Lisburn Urban Council bought the Company's assets and became the new owners. It was now the Council that had to make the vital decision as to the future of the Lisburn Gas Department, and they courageously did so.

For some time there had been rumours of Lisburn getting gas from Belfast as other small towns had done. It eventually became a fact with the laying of a gas main from Belfast to Lisburn; Belfast gas was first supplied to Lisburn on the 20th September, 1981. It was the beginning of the end of the works.

There were many bangs and explosions in the Gas Works when it was in its hey day, as some of the residents in Bridge Street well remember, but the loudest bang was at its last breath. On a weekend in December, 1963, Captain Tom Monaghan and a detachment of territorials from the Royal Engineers arrived at the works and its demolition was used as an exercise in the use of explosives. A few well-placed charges, an explosion, and all the hopes, aspirations and imaginings of the Lisburn Gas Company Limited had crumbled into dust and rubble. It was the end of a great endeavour, and surely all the mental effort and gallons of sweat produced in one hundred and twenty-five years have not been in vain, but hang around somewhere in time and space to be used again. I wonder what the spirit of John Millar was thinking as the dust settled.

The Lisburn Gas Company has come and gone after approximately one hundred and twenty-five years of supplying the town with gas and light. All that now remains visible is the Gas Office in Bridge Street and the gas holders at Back Lane. The Bridge Street car park gives no hint of the busy times and hard work carried out by the gas workers. I always considered that the men filling the retorts with coal and removing the red-hot coke were the hardest-working men in Lisburn.

Watching the men working at night in the dim light of the retort house, with the roar of the steam as they damped the coke, the white shafts of fight from the open furnace doors, was like a glimpse of Dame's Inferno.

The blackened faces of the men, streaked with perspiration, sweat-rags round their necks, pushing the long iron bars in and out of the retorts, made them look like lost souls moving about in the smoke and steam. They were very tough men, God rest them all. I knew some of them very well and respected them.

Hats off to the old Lisburn Gas Works, gone but not entirely forgotten ! Hail and Farewell.

(On the 1st April, 1975, the Lisburn Borough Council Gas Department was taken over and administered by the Belfast City Council Gas Department.)

(I read the very interesting article about the old Lisburn Gasworks. For information, my great great grandfather George Mearns used to be the Manager of the Gasworks in 1865. He lived there with his wife and family. His wife, Susanna Mearns, unfortunately died as a result of a fall in 1865. I have no other details but thought you may wish to add this information to your records. George Mearns and his family managed several of Northern Ireland's gasworks in the mid to late 1800's. Andrew Mearns) 02/11/2010

Lisburn's Workhouse Is Not Forgotten

Walking along the footpath in Smithfield a few months ago, I met a man I knew to see. He stopped and said "I enjoyed reading your articles in the Star about old Lisburn, but you never mentioned the Lisburn Workhouse !" I had to agree that he was right and to my surprise he informed me that he had been an inmate when a boy many years ago. D'you know, it started me thinking. So here is a brief history of the forgotten institution, "The Lisburn Union Workhouse," which had been in action for over eighty years as a place of refuge for the orphans and the starving and homeless people of the neighbourhood.

Before the workhouse was built the only buildings on the site were the two little cottages close to the footpath and opposite Warren Park. In 1878 these two cottages were occupied by John Graham and William Fulton at an annual rent to the Marquis of Hertford of £3.10 and £4 respectively. One of these cottages was taken down at some time and the last occupier was Fred Fitzsimmons, who sold the cottage and land to the District Hospital in 1950. The hospital at first used the cottage as a home for nurses and later for cooks. The cottage was taken down two years ago after being on the site for one hundred and fifty years at least. An old landmark quietly obliterated.

It was under the provisions of the Irish Poor Law Acts 1838 that persons wore appointed to act, and were known as Guardians of the Poor. The committee formed was named the Board of Guardians. They were mostly farmers and businessmen and they were authorised to have erected a workhouse, to be responsible for its management, to levy rates for the purpose on the town of Lisburn and twenty-six townlands surrounding it One Guardian represented each townland and there were three for Lisburn. AR were well-known men who performed their duties without payment.

Previous to 1838, help for the poor had been provided by charities ran by private persons, sometimes with a little government financial help. Now we had a body set up by Act of Parliament to administer relief and shelter. A building was to be built wherein the poor could be housed and fed for as long as was necessary, even for years, or only a day.

The first meeting of the Board of Guardians was held in the Assembly Rooms, Market Square, Lisburn, on the 20th February, 1839. The chairman elected was James Watson, of Brookhill; vice-chairman. William Caldbeck, Lisburn, and deputy vice-chairman, William Graham, Lisburn. Mr. James Ward, of Lisburn, was appointed clerk at a salary of fifty pounds per annum. He had to get two sureties of fifty pounds each, one of one hundred pounds himself. These Guardians were hard-headed and tight-fisted Ulstermen. "Every penny a prisoner" was their motto. There never was a penny spent that was not really needed for some purpose.

It was decided to hold their meetings on Tuesday (market day) and it remained so until the last meeting, the final dissolution of the Board on Tuesday, 28th of September, 1948. After one hundred and nine years of social welfare. Truly a wonderful record:

The meeting decided to ask the Very Rev. James Stannus, the Marquis of Hertford's agent, for a building site of six acres and a building committee was appointed. It met on the 19th March to consider plans for the new workhouse and to ask for tenders from contractors. On the 28th May, 1839, the estimate of Arthur Williams and Sons, Dublin, was accepted at �6,000, and work commenced on the bare field on the Hillsborough Road.

On Tuesday, the 1st December, 1840, the first meeting was held in the new boardroom on the Hillsborough Road. The Assembly Rooms were vacated. They were home. They must have been fast workers in those days.

A Mr. McCartan was appointed Workhouse Master and sent to Lincoln Poorhouse for two or three weeks to learn the system and be prepared for the rush. It was necessary, for on the day appointed to admit the poor, Thursday, 11th February, 1841, two hundred and fifty persons were admitted, as beds to that number were filled with straw and were ready.

Also an order for clothing for from two hundred and fifty to four hundred suits for men and boys and the same for women and girls had been placed. A stock of clogs had been laid in, each pair costing 4s 4d a pair for a man and 3s 6d for a woman, and each pauper (the name for inmates) was given a pair. Usually their own clothing and footwear (if any) were unwearable and perhaps infested with lice and had to be destroyed. The louse spread the typhus fever. The wooden-soled clogs with leather uppers and leather laces were somewhat like the modern wooden sandals, but they were iron shod on the soles and heels. I wonder did Alfred Connel of Bridge Street, the last of the Lisburn clogmakers, ever supply the Workhouse. Perhaps his father did. Mind you, they were warm, on the feet and were worn by the workers in the bleach works and the mills.

The Workhouse was so called because you had to do some work for your keep. The Workhouse Master employed the inmates to do all the work. Jobs were found which were suitable to the abilities of the paupers, who were mostly labourers, their wives and children. There was gardening, cleaning, stone breaking, looking after piggeries, making up faggots, oakum picking, laundry, washhouse and kitchen work, blacksmithing and white smithing, groundsmen, making coffins and digging graves, and painting, et cetera, et cetera. Even the schoolgirls did needlework, some of which was sold. In August, 1843, broken stones were being sold at is 1s 6d a ton to Ralph Jefferson for use on the Mail Coach Road (now the Belfast Road). I would say yon were a good workhouse master if you could keep the inmates employed on some useful or saleable work.

When you sit in your car in the front car park at the Lagan Valley Hospital and look at the beautiful stone building with the slated roof you are seeing what once was the living accommodation of the workhouse master, upstairs over the front middle door. On the left of the door was the girls day-room and dormitories, and on the right-hand side the boys'. There is still a smaller door into each day-room. This is where the children lived and were taught in school. On the top floor, where the boys slept, there is still a portion of the original floor left, Like all the dormitory floors, there was a sunken passage along the center of the room, about six inches deep and three feet six inches wide, and the straw-filled mattresses were laid flat on the raised portion of the floor between the passage and the outside wall. It was like a modern "sleeping platform" minus the springs and fancy work. This is the building now used for private and maternity cases. Do have a look at the stonework: a really good craftsman's job.

To the left and rear of this building were the adult dormitories, laundry, bathroom, kitchen and workrooms, and the "padded cell." Yes, this cell was for the "lunatics," persons mentally deranged. It was a room well padded on walls, floor and inside the door. The strong door had an iron barred grill through which the person could be watched and spoken to. When I saw it about 1929 the padding was hanging from the walls and it was rat infested. A room eight feet square and nine or ten feet high, many a sad sight it must have seen.

The lighting was by gaslight in the original building, coal fires were used for heating with hinge fire-guards locked to brackets on the walls.

The Workhouse Hospital was the stone building away down at the back, now the men's and women�s medical unit. When I saw it first it was a fever hospital. That was in the year 1928. These old black-stone buildings would last forever, and it is good to see them so efficiently adopted to modern methods in the treatment of patients.

You are still sitting in your car, I hope, and are probably over the site of the Board of Guardians office, built in 1840 and taken down in 1967. It had seen one hundred and twenty-seven years of very useful work.

Beside this office was the Fever and Cholera Hospital, built in 1848 of the same black stone as the other buildings. It was taken down in 1934. It accommodated sixty patients. Before this fever hospital was built, the Manor Hospital was used as a fever hospital. It was a red brick building somewhere about the site of the present Manor Home. It was there before the Manor House was built and the avenue to it was at the entrance on Chapel Hill to what was the Golf property, known as "Laverty's Lane." It was built about 1832 and taken down in 1847. John Millar was secretary of thee Manor Fever Hospital committee, and it may be he who was manager of the Lisburn Gas, Company Limited. When it closed Mr. Millar offered the use of  the contents at �3 a month to the Workhouse Guardians, who had now to build a wooden shed, as there was no fever hospital available until the Fever and Cholera Hospital was built in 1848, a year later. At this time, 1845-1850, famine and fever raged through the whole of Ireland, and wooden sheds, marquees and tents, were in use everywhere to house the disease-ridden population, especially in the South and West. The Great Famine had arrived. The potato crop failed; the blight killed the potato crop almost overnight.. The workhouses were full to overflowing. The first case of cholera appeared in Lisburn on 25th January, 1849, and very soon it was epidemic, with many deaths. Dr. Cupples was medical officer of health of the Workhouse. He had the assistance of Dr. Samuel Musgrave in dealing with the fever patients. At this time there were 638 paupers in the Workhouse, eighty-four in the general hospital and sixteen in the fever and cholera hospital.

The members of the Society of Friends, the Quakers, were always helping where there was trouble, and one of them, Samuel Richardson, owner of the Island Flax Spinning Mill, visited the typhus fever patients, who lay in great numbers in tents, in front of the aforementioned Manor Fever Hospital, sometimes three times a day. He contracted the fever and only survived a few days. He died on 24th October, 1847, only thirty years of age. His headstone can be seen in the Friends graveyard in Railway Street. It was a very perilous occupation to be a doctor in those days, and Dr. Cupples and Dr. Musgrave were very brave gentlemen.

During the 1843-48 famine period, the potatoes, which were the staple diet of the paupers, were replaced by oatmeal, buttermilk, rice (something new), soup made from cows' and sheep's heads, and bread. At the meeting of the Board on 8th April, 1843, the workhouse master's estimate of provisions required for the ensuing week was: 1 ton of oatmeal, 117, Ibs. bread, 2,600 quarts of buttermilk, 210 quarts sweetmilk, 2 lbs. butter, 26, lbs. beef, cows' and sheep's beads for soup, 1 lb. tea, 4 lbs. sugar, 8 ozs. tea, 2 lbs. salt, 2 lbs. pepper. Total in workhouse 525,total in hospital 52. The average cost of pauper for the week was eleven pence. No potatoes were mentioned. The potato crop was failing again as it had done on and off since 1728. In January, 1845, the contractor for potatoes reported he had no more and asked to be released from his contract. Soup, bread and stirabout was now the diet. Porridge for breakfast and supper. B you haven't tasted porridge served with the good old buttermilk with little pearls of butter floating on the top, you have missed a treat, but you wouldn't fancy it three times a day. The paupers did, for there was nothing else for them. But wait! The Marquis of Hertford on one of his visits to Lisburn visited the Workhouse on the 21st October, 1845, and was much pleased with the order and regularity of it, and said it was not excelled by any similar institution in England. He ordered a comfortable dinner to be provided for the paupers at his expense, consisting of beef, carrots and soup, and afterwards tea and currant buns. He could well afford it, as he was receiving about sixty thousand pounds a year from his Lisburn Estates.

James Nicholas Richardson (another Quaker), of Lissue, entertained the inmates of the Workhouse on New Year' s Day to a selection of fruit and sweetmeats annually in Sir Richard Wallace's time.

And so the Workhouse, under the Board of Guardians, went on from 1840, in good times and bad times, until the dire necessity of finding a home for the destitute became a thing of the past. On the 22nd April, 1922, the number of persons who could be taken in was approximately 1,000, but there was no one there. The last eighty inmates had been removed to Lurgan Workhouse.

In January, 1922, a notice of motion stated: "That the Lisburn Workhouse as such is now non-existent, having been converted to a district hospital, the office of chaplain be abolished." Yes, the various religious bodies had an official chaplain to the workhouse. The new district hospital was the stone building which housed the workhouse master and the girls and boys.

After the inmates left, the Board of Guardians continued with Outdoor Relief under the supervision of two Relieving Officers, where there originally had been six. The last meeting of the Board was held on Tuesday, 28th September, 1948, and in attendance were Miss A. S. Martin, chairman, and Mrs. McLeavey, J.P., Messrs. W. Balmer, W. J. Fullerton, J.P.; J. H. F. McCarrison, Andrew Maze, Albert A. Peel, J.P.; Arthur J. Reddick and Andrew M. Wedderburn. Mr. Woods was the master and William Sinclair was the clerk when the buildings were occupied by the last of the paupers.

And so this very practical work commenced in 1839 (when the first train ran from Belfast to Lisburn), gradually came to an end. The necessity for it to continue had passed. The Welfare State had been born and was taking over with unlimited financial resources. The bad old days were gone; a new era had dawned.

If you are still in your car, look at the splendid new Lagan Valley Hospital with all its wonderful equipment and kindly staff; give a thought to the "blood, tears and sweat" of the thousands of destitute folk Who were taken in, lived and were cared for, and even died, in the old Lisburn Union Workhouse, and were buried there. To the members of the Board of Guardians who ran the institution so well on so little, and the staff and volunteers who gave of their best, even unto death. And don't forget to thank God that we have passed through the long shadow and come into the sunshine, however fitfully it might shine at times.

Assassination of a Five-Year-old

During my visits to the gravesides in and around Lisburn I have read inscriptions on headstones which were interesting, sad and melancholy, thought-provoking, ridiculous, uplifting and courageous, on plain and flamboyant stonework but the headstone which intrigued me most is in the Lisburn Cathedral Churchyard. A plain little stone stating: "John Young, aged five years and eight months, assassinated 23rd August 1822." It was on a Friday the boy died.

It is about two years since I first noticed the headstone, and its inscription has been worrying away at the back of my mind on and off ever since. I made local enquiries without any result and gave it up. However, I had occasion to visit the Linenhall Library, Belfast, and then the inscription came into my mind. I got the copies of the Belfast News Letter for 1822, and in the issue of Tuesday, August 27th, found and read the following almost unbelievable story.

"About seven o'clock on the evening of the 23rd instant, Patrick Maguire, a lad of about sixteen years of age, tied John Young, a very fine boy of about six years old, who had accompanied him to a field near Lisburn, to a cow's tail.

At first the animal moved slowly forward, but soon, it appears, became terrified at the unusual weight appended to her tail. The driver of a mail-coach, as was proved at the inquest, called in vain for some passengers on the highway to stop the cow, which rushed violently through the turnpike on the Hillsborough Road. Before the arrival of the mail coach, the poor child, contused and mangled by percussion on the pavement, had expired. 

We are informed that his mother was just returning from Belfast when she met the cow dragging the lifeless corpse of her son on the highway, and was thrown into a state of distraction, in which she still continues. 

Maguire has fled. He is a lad about five feet high stout made with a downcast countenance, and had on him an old artillery coat and a woolen hat."

An inquest was held on the body by Mr. Henry Allen, coroner, which found that "the said John Young came to his death in consequence of having been tied to a cow's s tail, the property of John Woods, by Patrick Maguire, and that the said tying was not through malice, but youthful inadvertence by said Maguire."

Would you have used the word "assassinated"? You might if you had been the loving father or mother of little John Young.

The Thompson Home

The "Thompson Memorial Home for Incurables," now "Thompson House," was erected in 1885. This magnificent building on the Magheralave Road, Lisburn, was built in memory of William Thompson, Esq., M.D., F.R.C.S.I., born the 7th March, 1806. He was surgeon m the County Antrim Infirmary, Seymour Street, Lisburn, for fifty years. He died on the 22nd September, 1882, in an accident on the level crossing on the railway at Dunmurry. Dr. Thompson's s memorial and grave is in the Lisburn Cathedral graveyard. He resided in Castle Street in which is now the Fire Authority building, next to the Technical College. He got a fee farm grant from Richard, Marquis of Hertford, on the 26th of January, 1854.

The founder members of the home were his wife, Mrs. Rostina Thompson, who died 8th December, 1884, and his daughter, Mrs. Mary Hogg Bruce, and her husband, James Broke, Esq., D.L., J.P., of "Thorndale," Antrim Road, Belfast. Mrs. Bruce died on 4th May, 1893. The architect was Godfrey W. Ferguson.

In a book entitled "The Fultons of Lisburn," it is stated: Jane Wightman, daughter of James and Margaret Wightman, married Francis Abbott Thompson on the 6th June, 1805. Their son, William, married Rosina, widow of - Maxwell and sister of Sir James Weir Hogg. Their daughter, Mary Hogg Thompson married as her second husband James Bruce of Belfast. She founded the Thompson Memorial Home in memory of her father."

The Bruce family maintained a very close personal interest in the management of the home and the welfare of the residents, knowing most of them and visiting them after Board meetings. Their association with the home never ceased, and the late Mr. M. R. Bruce of "Corriewood," Castlewellan, was president of the Board of Management of the Thompson Memorial Home when it was finally taken over by the Antrim County Council.

Many prominent persons in the business life of the community were also on the Board during its seventy-eight years of voluntary service, including Thomas Richardson, D.L., Springfield, Lisburn, Mr. George Clark,, of the Island Spinning Company; Mr. James Hanna, of Boyd's.

The home was meant for people who were in need of care, preferably young or middle-aged who needed attention which they could not get in their own homes. There was Thomas Withers, who was admitted at the age of about twenty years and lived in the home for almost fifty years. being permanently confined to a wheel-chair. There were many others, men and women who spent a large part of their life in residence.

Originally the inmates paid nothing, but about 1930, during the chairmanship of Major Charles Blakiston-Houston, endowments could no longer cover the cost of upkeep, and it was decided to make a small charge. The home had been free to the residents for forty-five years.

Mr. Thomas H. McDonald, M.B.E., Town Clerk of Lisburn, was secretary for many years.

And so ended, in 1963, the first period of the life of the home, which had actually been home to so many.


The home was taken over by the Antrim County Health Committee in 1963, and after very many extensive alterations and additions it was re-opened on the 9th October, 1967, by the Governor of Northern Ireland, Lord Erskine of Rerrick, G.B.E., LL.D., with the new name "Thompson House:"

The "House" has now a new lease of life and is part of the Welfare Service. The most advanced apparatus is now in use for the various disabilities and a qualified staff, under the matron, Mrs. E. King, is in constant attendance.

Lisburn should be proud of having such an institution in the district.

I thank Mrs. Ingeborg Ross Bruce, of Castlewellan, a member of the home Board for many years, for her help in getting the above information.

Another little bit of information I discovered was about the land on which the Park Parade and Llewellyn Avenue houses are built. It appears on some of the deeds as the "Doctor's Field." He had it as a grazing field in 1858. The gate to the field can be seen at No. 1 Park Parade (Mr. Carmichael). There are two granite pillars and an iron gate in the existing hedge next to the footpath. Really remarkable after all the years. Have a look at it next time you pass and imagine Dr. William Thompson or his coachman coming out with their pony and taking it up to Castle. Street to start the doctor on his visits.


In Lisburn Cathedral Graveyard just behind the Cross Row Houses. Polished granite 

In memory of William Thompson, born 6th Jan., 1783, died 7th Oct, 1843.
Dora Thompson, his wife, born 1749, died 11th April, 1823.
Their children;
James Thompson born 1784 died in infancy
Jane Thompson born 8th Nov. 1787 died 1805.
Francis Thompson born 3rd Aug. 1783 died March 1885. Interred in Hillhall, Co. Down.
Jane Thompson wife of the above named Francis Thompson born 30th April 1782 died 9th July, 1840. Interred at Hillhall, Co. Down.
Their children:
Richard Thompson born 25th Aug. 1810 died 5th Sept. 1856. Interred at Hillhall, Co. Down.
James Thompson born 9th June 1821 died 12th Oct. 1854. Interred at Coimbatore, India.
William Thompson, M.D., F.R.C.S.I. born 7th March, 1808 died 22nd Apl. 1852.
His children:
William Thompson, Colonel, 3rd Madras Cavalry, barn 1st Sep. 1834 died. 7.7.'82.
Stewart Thompson born 8.12.1835 died 28.12.1862 and his widow
Rosin Thompson born Feb. 1803 died 8th Dec. 1884.

At the bottom of the headstone:

Erected by Rosina Thompson widow of Wm. Thompson M.D., F.R.C.S.I., 1883.