Ulster Star Borough Supplement
Saturday, 27 June, 1964



For Convenience
On April 1, 1861 the Lisburn Town Commissioners decided that an enquiry should be made of the value of two urinals, similar to those in Belfast, and if found moderate in charge that they may be hereafter adopted and placed in the public streets for convenience.
Secure Porters
On February 10, 1854 seven persons applied for the position of railway porters at Lisburn. The following were chosen:-Thomas Brady and John Berry. Both gave security to the Commissioner's for their honesty and propriety in delivering parcels etc. to the amount of £10.

Stray Costs Bob a Nob
On December 12, 1853 the Lisburn Town Commissioners decided that one shilling a head be naid for cattle found straying in the streets at night. The person taking un and looking after the cow would be paid one shilling a head and two shillings for four head in that proportion.

Infirmary Opened
The County Antrim Infirmary was established at Lisburn in the year 1767 pursuant to an Act of Parliament.
Piper's Head
Piper's Hill received its name in 1641. During the battle of Lisburn the head of a piper of one of the regiments was blown off and rolled down the hill —hence the name.
Industrial Writer
Mr. Hugh McCall was one of the town's most noted chroniclers. His books included "Our Staple Manufacturers" (1855); "Ireland and Her Staple Manufacturers" (1865); "Third edition" (1870); "The Cotton Famine of 1862-63" and "The House of Downshire."
In the year 1442 the Diocese of Down and Connor united.
Natural Rest
In consequence of the unusual noise made by Messrs. Richardson's steam whistle in 1856 many of the inhabitants of the town complained of it as a nuisance. The Town Commissioners requested the firm that it be abated as it, in a great measure, prevented the residents having their natural rest.


WELL SATISFIED with the progress made by the people of the Lisburn district Bridgeport Brass Limited the American tyre valve company, who occupy the first Government factory to be built in the town, now employ 300 and are working a 24hour day, five days a week

After three years of systematic training and development Bridgeport Brass have now completed the initial break through in the sales market successfully and look forward to the future with confidence and optimism. The first phase of a new capital investment programme gets underway this summer when additional automatic machinery will be installed.

The learning of new skills and techniques involved in the manufacture of high quality valves is progressing steadily and they feel that the foundations thus laid during the first three years of operation auger well for the future,

While it must be recorded that the traditional linen industry is still most important to the town, it is the allying of new enterprises, such as Bridgeport Brass and the Fafnir Bearing Company, just beginning production, which will mean continuing prosperity and an ever-flourishing industrious community.

Although becoming more industrialised year by year, Lisburn is still recognised as an important agricultural centre. Indeed, the manufacture of animal feeding stuffs provides much employment locally as does the large jam, egg-packing and canning factory. The opening of a new hatchery on the outskirts of the town is just another indication of how closely Lisburn's prosperity is tied to the land.

Indeed the town's agricultural background dates back to 1627 when it was granted a Charter by King Charles 1, giving it the right to "keep one market every Tuesday in each week . . for ever." Permission was also given to hold two fairs or marts-one on July 10, and the other September 24, but these have not been held for many years.

The old and the new

Lisburn Urban district council Lisburn Borough council


Local banks have contributed much to the expansion of the economy during the years.

The Northern Bank was established in Lisburn in 1835. Their first premises were situated in Bow Street (it is said in the house ,afterwards occupied by the Ulster Bank), later they moved to Castle Street and about the year 1870. the present building at the corner of Railway Street was erected and occupied.

Manager of the first Ulster Bank opened in Market Square in 1865 was Mr, John E. Morton. They moved to their Bow Street premises in 1871.

When looking at the town's industry no matter how briefly, the six modern cabinet making firms cannot be overlooked. Since the beginning of the present century they have grown in importance and now produce furniture of quality and design second to none in the British Isles.

Lisburn is also the headquarters of the Army in Northern Ireland and is proud of this long association, and of the many brave men from within the boundary who have served, and died in two World Wars.

The headquarters of the Northern Ireland Fire Authority are situated in Castle Street and the entire fire services of Northern Ireland, outside the County Borough of Belfast, are managed and controlled from this centre.

Operatic reputation

The Lisburn Choral and Orchestral Society of pre-war days gained a high reputation for its operatic productions, it's last show, "The Earl and The Girl," being performed in 1938.

Immediately after the war the Lisnagarvey Mate Voice Choir was formed. Later a mixed-voice choir replaced the Male voice choir until finally in 1957 the present Lisnagarvey Operatic Society came into being.

The Society is fortunate in having as its President Lt.-Col, J. G. Johnston, M.C, M.D., J.P., whom many people will remember playing principal roles to the pre-war Society

The Musical Director is Mr. H. McM. Taggart, who is well-known in musical circles and for each production he recruits local musicians for his orchestra.

During the coming season the Society is breaking new ground by staging two shows. "A Country Girl." in November, 1964, and a Gilbert and Sullivan opera in April, 1965.

WHEN I was told some little time ago at Lisburn was to be accorded Borough Status, I received the news with very great pleasure-for a number of seasons.
Principally, because this is a big step forward in the town's progress as a vital and expanding centre, contributing a great deal to Northern Ireland's economy.
Secondly because it means that three Fafnir factories are located: in towns of comparable stature and the friendly relations established between Fafnir and the respective Mayors of New Britain and Wolverhampton will, I am confident, be a continuing policy in Lisburn.
It's perhaps interesting to note that a little while ago, through Fafnir, the Mayors of Wolverhampton and New Britain exchanged greetings. Perhaps a triple exchange is something for the near future.
I do congratulate Lisburn on its new status and wish the town and its residents peace and prosperity in the years to come.
Stanley M, Cooper,
Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The Fafnir Bearing Company, New Britain,
Connecticut, U.S.A.

Nucleus of modern town


THE HISTORY of Lisburn as a town really begins in 1600, In that dramatic year scores of Irish chieftains were in armsagainst the rule of the English in Ireland, and among them was the chief of Killultagh whose stronghold-the tiny village of Lisnagarvoch - formed the nucleus of the modern town of Lisburn,

An old print of the Market Square

When this last rising of Gaelic Ireland failed, the territory of Killultagh passed into the hands of Sir Fulke Conway, who invited English and Welsh tenants to settle in his village of Lisnagarvey. When the Conway Castle was built in 1627, fifty three tenements constituted the settlement. In 1641, Bridge Street, Castle Street and the Market Square area, the basic street formation of modern Lisburn, were already in existence.

Of the great rebellion in 1641, in which Lisburn remained loyal to England and King Charles 1, the records have this to say: "More than 300 of the insurgents were slain in Bridge Street and 300 in Castle Street and in the meadows behind the houses," The rebels, unable to take the town, reduced it to ashes, whereupon the name of Lisnagarvey began to change to that of Lisburn.

This survey was specialty written by Mr. Samuel McBratney, a Lisburn student at Trinity College, Dublin.
A member of the College Historical Society, he had access to much background material dealing with Lisburn's early beginnings, and his article gives present day inhabitants an insight into the town's genesis and evolvement.

In 1707, another great fire halted the growth of Lisburn. Once again it was reduced to ashes, this time even the great castle falling to the flames. The castle was never rebuilt, but its gardens remained to become the property of the people of Lisburn in the later nineteenth century,

In 1834, a writer with a lively imagination described these gardens as "the bower of love and courtship for the lads and lovely lasses of Lisburn. Beneath the outstretched branches of those trees, in the solemn silence of evening, often have the vows of lovers been offered up on the altar of affection." Time, it seems, cannot change the function of the Castle Gardens.

Everyone knows the great gun there which was presented to the town in 1858. From this relic of Sebastopol. one may gaze down the Lagan Valley a view still beautiful despite the marks of urbanisation and see the area which the chief of Killultagh was concerned to defend in the time of Elizabeth 1, when woods grew where the houses now are, and the salmon swam plentiful in the Lagan,

This river, if a little trouble were taken to remove the squalor from its banks, would greatly enrich the ,natural beauty of Lisburn to-day,

Classy Castle Street

Louis Crommelin who died on July 17, 1727

After the great fire the key period of reconstruction in Lisburn was the last quarter of the eighteenth century, Many houses were built, some of them reaching four stories high. One gets the impression that Castle Street was the higher class area of the town, and anyone who felt he had any claim to superiority over his fellow citizens tried to get a house there. The town's four magistrates and most of the wealthy linen manufacturers lived in Castle Street, alongside the residence of the Marquis of Hereford, to whom the territory had by this time reverted.

In 1800, Lisburn consisted of about 800 houses and 4,800 people. 1t was almost a quarter of the size of Belfast which today is about twenty five times that of Lisburn.

At this same period, the lower tract of the Lagan Valley was is the throes of the industrial revolution and the spectacular economic development of Lisburn was under way.

Strangely enough the Lisburn textile industries are indebted in no small measure to Louis XIV of France, for in 1685 that monarch began a campaign of persecution against the French Protestants, or Huguenots. These refugees who fled from France enriched many parts of Europe, but perhaps none as much as the Lagan Valley. Till well into the nineteenth century men such as the Crommelins and the Delacherois helped to manufacture linen which was equalled in few places, and bettered nowhere, in the world,

The era of large scale production began in 1764. In that year William Coulson established his first linen looms close by what is now the Union Bridge. In 1784, Barbour began spinning linen thread, and in 1831, the works by this time moved to Hilden, employed over one and a half thousand workers. Hilden, indeed, may be regarded as a by-product of the Barbour thread spinning industry.

The price of steam power

The next important year after Barbour's mill began was in 1789. Most people know that the great French Revolution took

ON September 10, 1903, Field-Marshal Earl Roberts, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, paid a visit to Lisburn for the express purpose of seeing the birthplace of Brigadier-General Nicholson.
Pictured are (left to right), Mr. James A. Hanna, chairman of Lisburn Urban District Council, Lord Roberts, Mrs. T Stannus, Mrs. Harold Barbour, Mrs. Cowper, Mrs. George H. Clarke and Mr. Clarke. The photograph was taken outside Mr. Clarke's residence, "Roseville."

place then, but are unaware of the revolution which began in Lisburn in the same year. A Mr. Wallace returned from Glasgow with the first steam engine to be seen in Ireland, and installed it in his cotton mill just off Castle Street. Not only did the machine promise to revolutionise industry, but it caused a sensation among the goggling natives of the town.

World Famous Factories

Damask from Lisburn found it's way into most of the courts of Europe, and such celebrities as the Archduke Michael of Russia, the Crown Prince of Sweden, the Duke of Wellington and Lord John Russell, visited the world famous Coulson factory.

An early nineteenth century bard of industry puts it this way:

"Where Coulson's damask, Barbours thread
With Stewart's and the Island Spinning,
In workmanship the world have led,
High honours from the nations winning."

This economic expansion had important consequences for Lisburn. It led in 1765 to the opening of the Lagan for navigation from Lisburn to Belfast, and to the establishment of a coach service to places such as Dublin in the last decade of the nineteenth century. In 1839 the railroad linked Lisburn with Belfast, and 3,000 people made the twenty minute journey into Belfast by rail.

The expansion made some of Lisburn's citizens wealthy and made even more of them poor. The Industrial Revolution. inaugurated a period of intense hardship for the European working classes, and the Lagan Valley did not escape this harsh price for steam power.

In 1762, over 300 weavers paraded through Lisburn brandishing blackthorn sticks as a protest against the threat of unemployment, though it is worth noting in this respect that the better-off citizens of Lisburn have a long tradition of philanthropy. The Barbours provided 350 houses for their employees, and the outbreak of cholera in 1830 was followed by the building of a fever hospital on the Dublin Road by private subscription. By such means the worst effects of nineteenth century capitalism were softened in Lisburn.

A town, once established, thrives upon the necessities of its inhabitants. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the case of religion, for in satisfying their religious needs the people of Lisburn formed into social units and built many impressive buildings. The first of these began in 1623 when the foundation stone of the Church of Ireland cathedral was laid in Market Square, It is indicative of the part which religion has played in the lives of Lisburn people, that the town's oldest institution is religious in origin.

By 1834, each of the important Christian sects had a substantial following among a population which numbered just over 6,000. The Quakers flourished in Lisburn after the conversion to that faith of William Edmundson in 1676, and worshipped in Railway Street, as they still do today. In 1756 the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, visited the town and left behind him an energetic band of Methodists who worshipped in Market Street. The Roman Catholic community founded their place of worship in 1794 upon Chapel Hill, and the Presbyterians, who had worshipped somewhere in the Longstone area before the great fire of 1707, in 1834 had a congregation of 500 families.

Greatest Need of Man

Up till at least the eighteenth century, religion could well be described as the greatest need of man in society. As the nineteenth century dawned, however, another great social need, that of education, challenged its supremacy.
The first educational establishment of any importance in Lisburn - that founded for the Quaker children in 1774 - was semireligious in character and paid particular attention to the business of developing the moral character of the child Not until 1880 the same year in which Sir Richard Wallace founded the other Lisburn grammar school on the Antrim Road-did the Friends' School open its gates to non-Quakers.

The first Lisburn school which did not ask it,s pupils whether they attended church, chapel or meeting was that founded on the Dublin Road by John Crossley in 1810, known then as the Male Free School. After this, no decade of the nineteenth century passed without the foundation, of some educational institution. In the forties, for example, were founded the Longstone Infant School and Boulton's School - now a primary school on the Hillhall road.

For all this interest in education, however, it is no injustice to the people of Lisburn to say that they have largely wanted probing intellects. A well known authoress of the earlier nineteenth century described Lisburn people as "destitute of literary taste," and it is true that apart from a rather abortive literary-cum-debating society which existed in the middle of the century, there was little interest in the arts.

As for politics, after the hanging of townsman Henry Munro for his part in the 1798 rebellion, the town steered clear of political agitation until the Home Rule controversy.

Jeremy Taylor, one of the most agile minds of the seventeenth century, lived in Lisburn for some time, and eventually died there in 1667, "Let us hope," writes an early twentieth century commentator," that some attention will be directed towards the preservation of all that renders the Bishop's (i.e., Taylor's) study at Magheraleave one of the most interesting of local antiquities, for it is indeed an honour to our town that its streets were once trodden by the author of The Liberty of Prophesying.' "

It is noteworthy that when Lisburn built her statue in Market Square, she chose to immortalise John Nicholson, soldier, rather than Jeremy Taylor, scholar.

Distribution of trade

Anne Crommelin,
died august 15, 1755

As a final item In this survey of Lisburn's growth it might be informative to examine the distribution of shops and trades in a particular year.

In the year 1819-the year for which most facts are available-the most popular occupation was that of shoemaker. There were no less than forty-four, Next came the twenty-eight publicans, who outnumbered the grocers by four. As well as intoxicating beverages the town was well provided with meat, especially the Smithfield area, which had nineteen butchers.

There were sixteen carpenters, five schoolmasters, two surgeons, two physicians, four pawnbrokers (each of them strategically placed near Market Square). and about eleven bakers.

The busiest streets in 1819, one feels, must have been Bow Street and Bridge Street, for while the former boasted eleven of the town's public houses (note that Bow Street is well removed from the higher class, Castle Street in 1819), the latter had twelve of the town's twenty-four grocers.

In comparison with the present day, it seems that trade has largely swung away from Bridge Street to Bow Street (and now, perhaps, into Smithfield centre) for Bridge Street no longer contains half of the town's grocers.

Bow Street is nowadays a thriving shopping area, whereas in 1819, it contained chiefly tradesmen such as carpenters and shoemakers.

The most obvious comparison is that Lisburn in 1964 is thriving as Lisburn throve in 1819, and is, it may be added substantially more sober.
There was a big turnout in Bow street to see one of the first cars to visit the town

This survey does not go beyond the seventies of the nineteenth century. By that period, the people of Lisburn had achieved economic and social maturity and had made their town indispensable to the economic activity of the Lagan Valley.

By and large, it may be said of the people who created Lisburn, that they led thrifty, hard-working lives, somewhat addicted to the fluctuations of profit and loss and having little inclination towards intellectual pursuits.

Living in the age of inventions, their unspectacular, but far from mundane lives, were jolted from time to time by such sights as the early steam engines or the first locomotive.

After the formation of the Lisburn cricket club in 1836, they developed a passion for the game equal to that of their English contemporaries.
For a long time they had no dance hall, and it is amusing to come across a question put in 1834, "Will those beautiful forms-- the soul of symmetry-and the neat foot and ankle, ever appear again in the mazy dance, when the daughters of Lisburn resembled so many sylvan goddesses, 'tripping it along on light fantastic toe.' "

It may not be an infallible test of progress, but if the writer were alive today he could see the daughters of Lisburn go down to the mazy dance in  the town's newest institution the ballroom.