Pictured at the unveiling of a plaque at Drumbroneth house in honour of the goldsmith and philanthropist William Gibson are John Davis QUB, James Hawthorne and James Nolan from the Ulster History Circle, Victor Shields, Jim McElroy chairman of Banbridge District Council, Walter Smith from the Gibson Trust, Raymond Kelly and historian Tom Shields.
ONE of Dromore's most illustrious sons was recently honoured with the unveiling of a blue plaque by the Ulster History Circle.
William Gibson, Goldsmith and philanthropist, was born at Drumbroneth in 1838.
The son of a small tenant farmer, he would later buy the farm and build a large dwelling on the site, Drumbroneth House, in 1901.
Mr Gibson was one of the foremost jewellers of his day and he presented elaborate silver cups to the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society and the new mace for Belfast Corporation.
This was first used in 1913 for the tercentenary of the granting of its Charter by James 1.
He also presented Queens University with an 18-carat gold mace in 1909 to commemorate its new status as a University.
Both maces, designed by John Vinycomb, are still in use today.
The Queen's Mace will represent the Naughton Gallery, QUB in the BBC2 programme The People's Museum on May 31.
The Ulster History Circle, in association with Banbridge District Council, erected the plaque at Drumbroneth House, which was unveiled by Council Chairman Mr Jim Mcllroy last Friday.
Mr Tom Shields opened the ceremony, followed by a few words from Ulster History Circle secretary Mr James Hawthorne, who thanked Banbridge District Council for their immediate and speedy support for the project.
UHC member John Nolan then gave a short account of Mr William Gibson. He also thanked Mr Raymond Kelly, a Scottish historian who runs Raymonds County Down Website, for his painstaking research on Mr Gibson.
Mr Gibson was apprenticed to his uncle, a watchmaker in Belfast and set up his own business, aged just 27, first in North Street and then in Castle Junction, which is still known as Gibson's Corner.
As an internationally renowned goldsmith his work was exhibited in America and Paris, where he was later awarded the cross of the Legion d'Honneur. In 1880 he went into partnership with John Langman and founded the Goldsmiths' and Silversmiths' Company. The business expanded rapidly and was eventually formed into a limited company with premises in Regent Street London and became the leading jewellery firm in the UK, producing goods of the highest quality.
The company was acquired by Mappin and Webb for whom the late James Warwick, Headmaster of Belfast College of Art worked as a designer before World War II.
Mappin and Webb was taken over by Garrards, the present Crown Jewellers. Mr Gibson later bought the farm at Drumbroneth, Dromore where he had been born, and built a large house there in 1901, Drumbroneth House, in which he lived while on business trips to County Down.
His legacy to the area lives on today.
In his will he bequested £10,000 to Queen's University for the establishment of special agricultural scholarships. The scholarships, for the promotion and encouragement of education in agriculture and the cultivation and management of land for profit, are awarded by the Gibson Institute to undergraduates and postgraduates of Queens University who were born in Northern Ireland.
He also directed that the residue of his property, about £150,000, should be used for the purpose of assisting poor and deserving farmers and holding farms in county Down and county Antrim, now held in the Gibson Trust.
He was a Unitarian and a member of the Ulster Reform Club.
Dromore Non-Subsrcibing Presbyterian Church received the sum of £500 on his death. The Rev Sam Peden represented the church at Friday's gathering and members of Dromore Historical Society also attended to support the event.