A look at life in the 20th century

A project based on the friendship and work ethnic of the people in a vibrant community in Ulster.


The idea for this book was mooted on 17th March 1998, the day Hillside Terrace, Culcavey, was demolished in preparation for rebuilding. Whilst surveying the pile of rubble of what had been a row of mill houses, two people reminisced on the lives of those people who had occupied the houses, on stories of the area, and realised how much was being lost and not recorded. This brought about an article in the Ulster Star and a call for interested parties to meet and put together information and photographs in order to retain a history of the Culcavey, Halftown and Lower Maze area. The project was funded by the Millennium Heritage Fund, to whom we are most deeply grateful. Mr Bertie Emerson had over a number of years researched and compiled a history of the area, and with his help and that of Thompson Crossey and Tom Patterson the idea took shape and has culminated in this publication.

Many people have helped in the preparation of this book. Local people have gone out of their way to offer assistance in the search for information and photographs. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Thanks must also go to the following people for the contributions they have made. Mr Peter Ward on the history of LOL 111 and Lower Maze Scarlet Knights Black Perceptory No.124; Mr Ernie Cromie on Long Kesh aerodrome; Mr David Adams on the Halftown area; Mr. Thomas Palmer on family history; Mr. William Finn on the McCandless brothers; Mrs Norma Higginson on Ogles Grove Farm; Mr Colin Fowler on Culcavey House; Mr CW Bell on All Saints' Eglantine; Mr Harold McBride on war years in the Halftown; Mr Herbert Bell and Mrs Annie McClenaghan on Culcavey Factory, and Mr Derek Henderson and Mrs Barbara Lewers on Newport Primary School.

A special debt of gratitude is due to Mr Brian Mackey who allowed access to photographs in the Lisburn Museum and kindly gave permission for a number of them to be reproduced. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland also supplied the same service. Thanks also to the Ulster Star for their help in publicising the search for information.

For his help, guidance and interest, we are deeply indebted to our editor, Simon Walker, without whose help this book would not have been possible.

It is inevitable that many stories are missing from this book, and no doubt in many cupboards and drawers are photographs and documents which could tell a fuller story. In the future it is hoped to create a museum in Lower Maze Hall where all photographs included in this book will be displayed plus the many more which have come to hand. 

Pearl Finn & Jackie McQuillan

As It Was

If we were to take a dander down from Hillsborough to Halftown, a distance of some 2 miles. I wonder how many of us would notice what has changed over the years. So let's have a go.

We start the journey with the Millvale Road on our left and what was Smith's garage on the right. Where the Gas Works stood at the beginning of Millvale Road there now stands a block of flats. Smith's garage is a motor bike shop. The first field on the left now accommodates the houses of Hillcourt, whilst directly opposite on the right the two semi-detached pebble-dashed houses are gone replaced by red brick apartments. As we head towards the bottom of the hill we find that on the left-hand side Hillsborough Nursery has gone, now the Pines. Next to the Nursery was the 'sewage works', and here we have Harwich Mews. To the right was the entrance to Hillsborough Railway Station, the site now being a private dwelling. Under what was the railway bridge, now the bridge accommodating the A1 dual carriageway, we proceed towards the next small hill, locally known as McBride's Hill. Before we stretch our legs to ascend the hill we look to the right to where the lnkpot stood, and to the left the entrance to Culcavey Cottage Farm (later renamed Culcavey House). Sadly both buildings are gone. When we reach the brow of the hill Heatherbank Farm was on the lane to the right. The house still stands, but the farm land around it has been replaced by modern dwellings.

We proceed on down the road and spot the entrance on the left to Mill Pond (known locally as the dam or McBride's dam), a vital element in the power supply to Culcavey Factory in early days. Here the Pond overflows into the Whiskey River that meanders right through Culcavey village. Past the Mill Pond stood a two-storey house and further on Mill Cottage with adjoining building known as the reading room', all now gone and replaced by a palatial dwelling. Before we descend the next small hill we look to the right where the large red brick dwelling known as Ogles Grove House stood and the area around it which was Bradshaw's Nursery. Both are now gone and where Ogles Grove House stood we have expensive red brick dwellings. Starting to descend the hill, if we look to the left where the leafy Culcavey Glen stood we find once again red brick houses nestled below. If it is quiet we can still hear the waterfall. At the bottom of the hill Ogles Grove Farm is on the right, again no longer a working farm, but surrounded by houses. To the left was the main entrance to Culcavey Factory (Hillsborough Linen Co.). On entering the main gates on the right hand side stood a small red brick house, and many will remember it as the residence of Matt Spence. Adjoining this was a long factory building. All traces of the factory, house and outbuildings have gone and the whole site is built up with houses such as Old Mill and Old Mill Heights.

Still standing at the side entrance to the factory is the old oak tree and where Ogle Terrace begins there were two small one-storey houses known as Smithy Row. The next row of houses (still part of Ogle Terrace) was English Row. This is the only row of the original mill houses left. We pass the entrance to Grove Park, which used to be an open area leading to the plots' (allotments) which stretched the back of all the mill houses and were used to grow vegetables, keep hens and even the odd pig or two. The next two houses on the left and the shop used to be Shop Row, although there was no gap between them. The shop is still the original building but the houses comprising Shop Row have been replaced by Nos. 13 and 14 Ogle Terrace. On the right-hand side, opposite the shop, was Rose Cottage � a gate still marks its entrance but the fields are filled with houses.

We now proceed down the hill and on the left Hillside Terrace (variously known as Grey Row, White Row, Distillery Row) has been replaced with new red brick houses. At the crossroads on the road to the left were Thompson's Row and Puddledock Row. If we proceed over the crossroads, immediately on the right was a small wooden structure where the children spent their pennies � `Dick's hut', a small shop run for a long time by the late Mr. Dick Thompson. Another part of the village missing.

On down the road on the left we have Oakmount, the residence of the Emerson family. Immediately past their house was a lane that led to a row of houses known as Railway View. Something else gone. On the right-hand side was a small whitewashed cottage, once occupied by the village cobbler. Next on the right is Culcavey Mission Hall, somewhat changed over the years, but thankfully still there. The road now diverges slightly, and here we have Newport Primary School (the new school), the original road now runs down the back of the school. If we look to the left behind the school we can see the imposing structure of Newport House, virtually unchanged. On down the road on the left was the entrance to the coal quays. Small houses used to stand in this area, some just to the right-hand side as you entered and some further on down the entrance to the left. The houses are long gone, the coal quays are gone and more importantly the canal has gone, replaced by the M 1 motorway. A new more expansive bridge now replaces the old Newport Bridge that spanned the canal. Also disappeared from the skyline is the viaduct that spanned the canal, and Newport railway halt is no more. The road to the right known locally as the `Dummies Loanin', is now Eglantine Road. Over the bridge we can look to the left and see the old Newport School. The two roads on the right were `Berry's Loanin' and `Sandy Lane', while on the left we had `Anthony's Loanin' and `Moss Road'. Just names in memory now. At Coronation Gardens we had the entrance to Long Kesh Aerodrome on the left and slightly further down Lower Maze Orange Hall (now Lower Maze Community Hall). Such changes: no aerodrome (turned into a prison), and now no prison. Our next two roads past the defunct prison are Bog Road on the left and Blaris Road on the right.

From railway, factory, canal and aerodrome, and everything in between, who notices change?

Where did it all go? Can you remember spending hours in the glen exploring; jumping across the Whiskey River to see who could do the biggest jump; walking along the canal tow-path on a Sunday afternoon; building houses and dens in the hedgerows along `the plots'; swinging on rope around the lamp-posts; collecting jam jars and bottles to get your pennies; making a `slide' down the middle of the road on cold frosty nights; playing football between the gable walls of Thompson and Puddledock rows; walking to the pictures in Ritchie's Hut on a Monday night; the hours spent talking at `the corner'; carrying water from the pump; cooking on the range; coats on the bed in winter; the dry toilet at the bottom of the garden and `the bucket' under the bed; `progging' an orchard; `purty hoking'; the tin bath in front of the fire on a Saturday night; the mangle in the yard; the scrubbing board in the `jaw-tub'; winding wool off a skein; knitting on four needles and `turning a heel'; holes in the heels of your socks, and darning?

It seems hard to believe that Culcavey people of a generation ago simply would not recognise their area. Nothing remains static in this transitory world.


So much has changed that many of the old places and their names have now vanished or are unrecognisable. Another generation or two and this knowledge could be lost forever. Each place, by its very title, was able to impart something of its tale.

ANNACLOY The fort of the stones.

AUGNNATRISK This means the area of the brewer's grains.

THE BASIN Near Kesh Bridge was the 'Basin', a large circular area of water three times the width of the canal, which was the authorised spot for barges to change direction or to stop and wait to allow oncoming barges to pass.

BLARIS Scottish word for a moor.

BRICKFIELD LODGE This house stood on the site now occupied by the electricity depot on the Aughnatrisk Road. Bricks were made from clay here during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

CULCAVEY The back of the hill of the lush grass.

DISTILLERY ROW These began life as sixteen single-storey houses given the name 'White Row' by the linen company. After the First World War they were given an upper storey and a coat of grey pebbledash. The company now called the terrace 'Grey Row', although the directors called it 'Millionaires' Row' as the alterations had been so costly! Young ladies living in the terrace did not like the drab new name and so they christened it 'Hillside Terrace'. Although the houses were demolished and replaced in 1999, thelatter name has been retained.

EGLANTINE This is a French word meaning sweet briar or wild rose. It gives its name to the Church of Ireland parish of All Saints. The Eglantine Road was once known as the 'Dummies Loanin' as an individual who was unable to speak lived there.

ENGLISH ROW These were eight two-storey houses. The Englishmen who installed machinery in the linen factory lived here. This row was originally of red brick, but has been renovated and is now part of Ogle Terrace. These were built by the linen company.

HALFTOWN An English translation of the French word Demiville.

HARRY'S ROAD In the nineteenth century two brothers lived on this road who kept Harrier hounds for hunting hares. As a consequence they were, by trade, 'harriers'. The road was known as Harriers' Road until the brothers died and then the road became known after the only person living on it, Harry McConville.

KESH BRIDGE This was a hump-backed bridge and its design was suitable only for slow-moving vehicles.

LAGAN The word 'lagan' is described as 'Cargo or equipment thrown into the sea from a ship (in distress), often attached to a float or a buoy to enable it to be recovered'.

NEWPORT BRIDGE Although there is still a bridge bearing this name, this dates only from the construction of the M I motorway. There were three previous bridges, not on the same site, one of which was a temporary iron bridge constructed by the army.

PUDDLEDOCK ROAD This led to Puddledock Farm, where there were deposits of puddle (clay) which, when mixed with water, made a crude form of cement used to line the walls and floors of cottages. `Dock' referred to the place where this clay was obtained. The road is now called the Aughnatrisk Road.

PUDDLEDOCK ROW Named after the road, these were two-storey houses built by the Hillsborough Linen Company. The row was replaced by Hart Terrace.

SHOP ROW Four two-storey houses, Culcavey Stores and a dwelling. Although the shop still stands as a detached building, the other houses were replaced by part of Ogle Terrace. Built by the Hillsborough Linen Company.

SMITHY ROW This was a one-storey structure � one end a forge, the other a dwelling. In 1960 four two-storey houses replaced this row and these are part of Ogle Terrace. `Ogle' is taken from nearby Ogles Grove.

THOMPSON'S ROW Ten two-storey houses named after the builder, these were also built by the linen company.


Until about four hundred years ago this little corner of county Down was largely uninhabited and disregarded. When the Normans drove deep into the county in the twelfth century they established centres of power at Duneight and Dromore. It was thought that earthen castles or mottes built in those two places would be sufficient to keep an eye on the residents of the intervening land.

As with most of Ulster until the seventeenth century, this area would have been heavily wooded, most probably with deciduous trees. Such means of communication or movement as existed would have been closely associated with natural physical features such as rivers or streams. Ulster, like the rest of Ireland, had for centuries been under the control of the powerful Irish chieftains and this area fell under the rule of the Magennes clan who lived in a large `rath' or protected circular farmstead on the present site of Hillsborough Fort. These clans were troublesome for the English Crown which, by the sixteenth century, wanted to make Ireland easier to govern. Under pressure from the Crown, many of the chieftains were forced to flee from Ireland and the departure of key figures such as O'Neill and McDonnell is known as the `Flight of the Earls'. With the native rulers gone, King James I proceeded to implement a scheme to colonise Ulster with loyal Protestant subjects from England and Scotland. This grand scheme used the abandoned land of the Irish clans and was called the Plantation of Ulster. Those who came to Ireland at this time were called `Planters'.

It was the king's intention that the division of land should be in three tiers:

  1. Approved English and Scottish settlers received about 2,000 acres of land on condition that within three years it was planted with the aid of forty-eight able-bodied men of their own nationality. A castle and bawn (walled yard) had to be built to secure and protect the residents and cattle.

  2. Military officers and servitors (ex-servicemen) were granted 1,500 acres on condition that within two years they built a strong stone or brick house and bawn. They were permitted to take a certain proportion of Irish tenants.

  3. Native Irish of approved loyalty were granted 1,000 acres on condition that they built a bawn and were permitted to include some Irish tenants.

These seemingly well-organised divisions were applied in all of Ulster except Down and Antrim. Here land was granted to or bought by private individuals who might nowadays be described as entrepreneurs. However, land was readily available as much had been forfeited to the Crown or as many of the Irish chieftains seemed willing to sell as their fortunes now appeared to be on the wane. In county Down alone Brian McCrory Magennes sold 5,024 acres to an Englishman, Sir Moyses Hill. With this transaction was born the village of Hillsborough and, as a consequence, Culcavey.

What Sir Moyses found in this area was not promising. The only settlement was Cromlyn (Irish for the `crooked glen') � a rather forlorn place, the site of which is in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle. The hamlet took its name from the little stream which wound its way through a cluster of tiny mud cabins and past the ruined chapel of St Malachy. It was to this scene that the Hills placed their improving hands, creating the places with which we would be familiar today. By a royal charter of 1660 Cromlyn officially became known as Hillsborough. Over the next century and a half the village progressed into an elegant little Georgian town relying on agriculture and linen. In tandem with this was the development of Culcavey, which was definitely the industrial jewel in the local crown. Throughout the development of Hillsborough the guidance and purse of the Marquis of Downshire was never far away. The same was true for Culcavey. The word Culcavey has different spellings � Culcavey or Culcavy � but the oldest, Coolcavey, appears on a map drawn for Lord Hillsborough by Oliver Sloane in 1745.

The earliest indication of commercial industry is an indenture of lease dated 22nd December 1791 and granted by the first Lord Downshire (1718-93) to James Henderson, alderman and burgess of Hillsborough. Mr Henderson was the lessee of Hillsborough Corn Mills, and the lease allowed him to use the watercourse running to Culcavey from the dam in Hillsborough Large Park. This corn mill had been built in the eighteenth century at Millvale and can still be seen as a residence, along with the former mill manager's house. The mill had a breast wheel (long since vanished) which harnessed the waterpower. This watercourse was vital and as it made its way downhill from Hillsborough it was the life blood for industry at Culcavey. It was to power the area's linen and distilling industries which gave employment, homes and prestige to Culcavey over a number of generations.

Hillsborough Linen Company premises circa 1900 with Mr. Todd in foreground. In the early years of the nineteenth century Hillsborough and Culcavey must have been ideal places for those fond of a tipple, for the area boasted a brewery and a distillery. The brewery was a stone structure opposite the gates of Hillsborough Parish Church and built in a similar style of architecture. Its water supply was fed from the lake in the Small Park, while the stream that ran from the lake fed the distillery at Culcavey.

The Hillsborough Distillery, as it was called, was built in 1826 by Hercules Bradshaw on land leased from Lord Downshire. The granting of this lease put the marquis in a unique and peculiar position. As a landlord he could inspect his property whenever he took the notion. This was not the case with the distillery, as the law stated that the Customs and Excise officials were the only people with right of entry to a distillery at any time. Lord Downshire's lease allowed for the supply of water from the Mill Dam over a weir to Culcavey and "the same shall not be polluted or injured". At this weir an embankment was built to control and store water � this was known as the Mill Pond. By 1837 the distillery had three stills and used 2,000 tonnes of grain per year. A breast wheel and a twenty horsepower steam engine supplied the power. The hard-pressed breast wheel was described by locals as 'rowdy'! The supplies of grain and coal reached the distillery from the Lagan Canal at Newport.

In addition to the serious commercial business of distilling we can add a touch of humour by recording the circumstances under which the Whiskey River acquired its name. It seems that the distillery had a small customs office between the distillery building and Mill Pond. The distillery  officials discovered that they had more hogsheads of whiskey in their possession than appeared in the records. No-one could account how the surplus stock came about, but through the `grapevine' it became known that the customs men were coming to inspect the stock. To rectify this state of affairs the workers pulled the bungs out of the barrels and so the precious liquid flowed down the river. The villagers came to the riverside with buckets, baths, crocks or anything that would hold water, and thus they collected the whiskey. It is said that many locals were drunk for weeks! From that day onwards the waterway was called the Whiskey River.

The original proprietor of the distillery, Mr Bradshaw, must have been a man of means, for in 1826 he was able to build himself an ornate house known as Culcavey Cottage Farm. He demolished an existing property and constructed a fine house surmounted by a dome situated in landscaped grounds of one hundred acres. The original entrance was from the Millvale Road which led along a tree-lined avenue called Green Lane. From this ran a cobbled road leading to Kennel Hill; so-called due to the breeding of dogs which took place there. From the vantage point of his domed house, Mr Bradshaw could watch the Maze races with his telescope. He seems to have been greatly interested in all things scientific and was an early exponent of the infant photography industry � so much so that he owned an early camera obscura.

The brewery in the main street of Hillsborough disappeared some time probably between 1856 and 1868, and so it is perhaps related that whiskey distilling at Culcavey ended in 1865. This must, at first, have seemed like devastating news for the employees and residents of Culcavey who relied on the distillery for their livelihoods. This must not have been good news either for those who enjoyed sampling the home grown produce. However, the commerce of the area was saved when the distillery premises were taken over by the Hillsborough Woollen Company in 1866. The company enjoyed a brief `honeymoon' period, before experiencing the effects of the monopoly of the Yorkshire Woollen Merchants. Given that county Down was famous for its linen trade, wool could really not compete, and by 1871 the company began trading as the Hillsborough Linen Company. As with previous industries on the site, the linen mill relied on its water supply. Water came from the Mill Pond via sluice gates into the Mill Race which fed into two large brick tanks sunk into the side of Culcavey Glen. These were deep and dangerous and occasioned a terrible tragedy in the 1890s when a young boy lost his life by falling into them. It was seven days before his body was recovered. This unhappy episode earned the tanks a nickname � `the coffins'.

Close to the tanks stood the tall brick factory chimney, which spewed out great clouds of smoke as the fires below created steam to drive the machinery. Four dams supplied the giant amounts of water needed. The steam created was used for cleaning, bleaching and heating. It was also needed to maintain humidity in the weaving sheds where the looms constantly thundered away creating linen goods that would travel to the corners of the British Empire. Grey yarn was purchased in hanks and stored in the old malting lofts until required. It was then bleached, dried, wound and warped. Finally it was woven into cloth. The types of cloth woven ranged from damask rose to towelling and more looms had to be built to meet the demands for these products.

Power from the steam engine was transmitted by a main shaft, cog wheel and bevel shaft. The looms were all driven by overhead shafts, which were manufactured by Atherton Brothers of Preston. To maintain production on this scale, tonnes of coal were required and it was transported via the Lagan Navigation Canal at Newport Quay. These laborious processes ended in 1961 when mains electricity was installed.

The lapping room was a substantial three-storey building with a slated roof and it was here that the cloth was `lapped' until 1908. In this year the process moved to Belfast due to shortage of labour and the process was conducted in a warehouse in Bedford Street, which was owned by the Hillsborough Linen Company. The linen cloth was taken from the factory by horse and flat four-wheeler van. This horse was called Mr Todd after a former manager of the factory. The warehouse remained in operation in Bedford Street until 1960 when traffic congestion and high costs forced the lapping to be recommenced in Culcavey.

The railway viaduct at Newport With the constant roar of activity at the mill and the heavy work and calls of the bargemen on the canal, Culcavey must have seemed an industrious and restless place. In 1863 the Lisburn to Banbridge railway line encroached on the scene, halting at Hillsborough Station. The railway now made the transportation of goods to and from the factory more convenient, but was a blow to the canal. The main line from Belfast passed through Knockmore and the length of the section from here to the level crossing on the Millvale Road was less than three miles. It was necessary to build road, river and rail bridges and three level crossings to accommodate the track. The level crossings were at Ogles Grove, Heatherbank and Millvale Road. After crossing the river Lagan there was the ten-mile post from Belfast. With the difference between the flat land at the Lagan and the highest point at Magherabeg, en route to Dromore, the engineers had calculated a gradual gradient for this stretch of track.

Hillsborough Station was built on the side of a small hillock on the Culcavey Road and was a red brick two-storey structure. As well as the
The railway viaduct at Newport ticket office there were waiting and storage rooms and living quarters for the stationmaster. The social impact of the railway made journeys to Belfast much easier and more comfortable than before, although the round trip still took the traveller a whole day. During the two world wars the railway proved its worth with a specially constructed halt at Newport to facilitate service personnel stationed at nearby Long Kesh. The tracks passed over two notable local bridges called `The Viaduct' and Greer's Bridge'. The viaduct was a lattice-type bridge which spanned the canal and Dummies Road. Greer's Bridge was situated at the entrance to Eglantine Cottage Farm. The locals never used the official names for these structures and called one `the railway bridge' and the other `the railway arch' or `the arch'.

Changing social and economic conditions brought about the closure of this branch line in 1956. The track, bridges and station were sold and the land offered for sale to the holders of the original deeds. Remnants of Greer's Bridge and the embankment can still be seen. The station itself was occupied by a number of tenants, including Mr Thompson Crossey who operated a scrap business from it. Sadly, the building has now gone altogether, although a glimpse of the old railway station at Dromore will give an idea of what Hillsborough Station looked like as, presumably, they must have been designed by the same architect.

By the beginning of the twentieth century Culcavey was a thriving place where the majority of people had employment. However, life was hard and made great demands on the inhabitants, whose lives generally followed a pattern of work, sleep and worship. The pattern of life was well established and appeared destined to continue like this forever, but the twentieth century, especially its latter years, was to witness dramatic social changes in the district. No-one could have guessed the importance the place would serve in determining the outcome of the Second World War, or that this importance would have been underscored by visits from people as distinguished as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to RAF Long Kesh in 1945.General Eisenhower, King George VI and Field Marshal Montgomery. During the war the British government was fearful that Hitler's Germany would use the Republic of Ireland as a back door into Britain as a means of invasion. The British would, therefore, need to respond quickly using the air force. And so it was that RAF Long Kesh was set up, along with bases at Sydenham, Maghaberry and Blaris. Building work at Long Kesh commenced in November 1940 and culminated in the opening of an airfield in November 1941. By 1942 the threat of a German invasion of Britain had receded and a new role was found for RAF Long Kesh. On 1st April 1942 the United States navy commenced a thrice-weekly service between Eglinton and Hendon (London) airfields, calling at Long Kesh. By the end of the war the base was used to instruct pilots and crews in the operation of Beaufort and Hampden aircraft. Throughout the war period the base saw a succession of aeroplane types which became increasingly advanced, particularly as US involvement in the war deepened. In the summer of 1945, and against a backdrop of victory, the base received visits from senior personages involved in co-ordinating the war.

General Eisenhower at Long KeshThe post-war years saw living standards improve generally and with consequent developments in technology, and the effects on all aspects of life, it was inevitable that a little place like Culcavey would experience change. Consumers became more demanding and expected access to all the new goods and materials on offer. The world was moving into an age of synthetic and disposable goods. This applied to the material which for generations had provided the backbone of life in Culcavey � linen. The linen industry was severely affected by the production of new fabrics and fabric mixtures and it was obvious that it could not compete. In 1966 the din of the weaving shed was stilled and the looms ceased their labour of more than a century. The Hillsborough Linen Company closed its premises, cutting in the process the threads of employment and skill which had long bound the community together. It was left to the inhabitants of the district to create a new identity and this they did against a background of enormous physical changes in the area. With the end of the linen industry the district initially lost some of the vibrancy which the factory had leant it, and by the 1970s the number of pupils at Newport Primary School indicated that Culcavey was experiencing a decline in its population. This was to be short-lived, as the area soon found itself caught up in the swath of residential development that has so dramatically changed much of Northern Ireland.

In the period since the 1970s the district, once known for its linen manufacture, became known for very different reasons. With the onset of the `Troubles' in 1970, the Long Kesh base was brought back into service as a prison to detain those held under Brian Faulkner's policy of internment. This ensured that the Maze was never far from the public gaze. The eyes of the world were turned on the area in 1980and 1981 during the tense period of the hunger strikes by republican prisoners in the `H-blocks'. The Maze Prison again came to prominence during and after the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which instigated the prisoner release programme. Due to this the prison closed in 2000, once again creating the potential for change.

People often fear change and this is understandable when the change is rapid. The visitor of today would hardly recognise the Culcavey, Halftown or Maze of thirty years ago. The mill, for so long the focal point of the area, has gone. Indeed, even its buildings have gone, being demolished to make way for houses in 1993. The proximity of the district to Hillsborough accounts for its popularity for housing, but few would probably appreciate the very independent development the area has had over many generations and that the names of new developments, such as `Old Mill Heights', recall that heritage. This book does that through the eyes of those who have lived through these changes.


The two mile journey from Hillsborough to Halftown would be just 'a nice stretch of the legs', but makes an interesting excursion to the perceiving eye if we can go back in time and remember how it used to be.

Situated on the left-hand side at the bottom of the hill on the Culcavey Road out of Hillsborough just before the railway station, the Nursery ran from the Culcavey Road to the Millvale Road. Mr & Mrs Bob Bell, the owners, lived in a house on the Millvale Road and the Nursery was really their large, expansive back garden. Row upon row of greenhouses nestled in the hollow. The soil was fertile and lush and the Bell's knew their job and their market. Mr Tom McQuade was their foreman and lorry driver, overseeing the workers and taking the produce to shops and markets. Young and old were employed here, and if you were a good worker you were welcome. Here was the nursery business at its best, all the age-old methods employed in producing first-class plants. These nurserymen knew their skills and there were no short cuts in those days.
When Mr & Mrs Bell retired Tom McQuade took over the Nursery for a good number of years until he too retired. Now all we have in its place are red brick houses that extend right to the Millvale Road.

The now vanished Hillsborough Railway Station The railway arrived in this area on 13 July 1863 with the opening of the Banbridge, Lisburn and Belfast Railway. The line was later taken over by the Ulster Railway and eventually became part of the Great Northern Railway. The construction of the railway had been an enormous undertaking and it had cut its way through the countryside of county Down. And it has left its mark - most notably in the magnificent viaduct at Dromore.

Hillsborough Station was situated on the Culcavey Road and was a building typical of the time - two-storey, red brick with arched windows and ornate over-hanging eaves. All was contained under one roof, from the ticket office to the Stationmaster's house. A siding and goods shed catered for all kinds of merchandise and there were pens to assist with the movement of livestock. Not only did the trains make travel more convenient, but the strict adherence to time-keeping meant that the locals could tell the time of day by the punctual appearance of a train. The canal was crossed by an iron lattice-work viaduct supported on stone piers.

Waiting for the train on the Station platformDuring the Second World War the threat of air raids meant that valuable goods were dispersed throughout the countryside and many goods trains carried loads to Hillsborough Station under the cover of darkness. To keep this section of line in good order a team of men carried out regular safety and maintenance work. A workman carrying a wrench-cum-hammer over his shoulder carried out the inspection, checking and tightening each nut on the line.

Just as the railway had robbed the canal of much of its business, so the advent of the motorcar deprived the railway of its custom, and the branch line closed in 1956. The monuments to the Victorian engineers - the bridges, the embankments and the great steam engines- all disappeared from the scene. Even the railway station has now vanished, having survived for a while as the premises of a scrap business. However, the railway is not forgotten, for it is still common to hear older residents refer to the Railway Road, before correcting themselves and saying Culcavey Road.

Farm hands hard at work at Culcavey Cottage Farm (Culcavey House) in 1937. Ussher Greer's Thresher & Smyth Patterson's Baler.As you pass under the bridge spanning the A1 dual carriageway, and what was once the railway bridge, the first hill you see in the distance is locally called McBride's Hill. Before you traverse this hill the lane way on the left-hand side was the original entrance to Culcavey Cottage Farm (later Culcavey House), built in 1826 by Mr Hercules Bradshaw, the original proprietor of Culcavey Distillery. (It should be noted that a 'Culcavey House' existed long before Mr Bradshaw's dwelling was constructed, but on an entirely different site - as will be seen from later information in this book.) For those who can remember this ornate residence of Mr Bradshaw, the one thing that stands out in recollection is the large dome that graced the top of the house and gave an outstanding view of the surrounding countryside. But for many this was the only thing they saw of the house set in its own extensive grounds.

The house for a good number of years was the home of the McBride family, who still reside in the area, and in latter years was known locally as McBride's House. Colin Fowler's father Bertie, whose mother was a McBride, was born in this house, and in later years when its grandeur was in decline Colin himself resided there for a few years. His description of the inside gives an insight into the size and magnificence of this gentleman's residence.

The avenue to the house was lined at that time with many beautiful trees, yew, golden cypress and juniper, with one magnificent cedar reputed to be the largest in Britain.

The house itself was a splendid building with many rooms and servants' quarters, these being connected to the rest of the house by a system of signal bells operated by hand pulls and linked together by wires. The ground floor had many fine rooms fitted with Italian marble fireplaces and with french-windows opening directly onto well-kept lawns. These rooms included a grand ballroom with parquet flooring and a very large dining room paved with sandstone flags.

A most unusual feature of the upper storeys was a winding staircase leading to a glass dome towering above all the rooftops. It was said that from this vantage point the Maze races could be watched through spyglasses.

The McBride family in those days would have probably been considered as landed gentry. Their mode of transport was by carriage and they had many stables and horses with their own blacksmith's shop. They also had boats on the lake below the house, and this lake they had stocked with rainbow trout as most of the family were keen fishermen. The large estate included separate housing for several .families' employed on the land, and there so far as we can tell they all worked happily and harmoniously together. This of course was in the good old days when farming was still a gainful occupation.

It was rumoured that the house contained a secret escape tunnel or bolt-hole, but this was so well hidden that it could never be found.

Many old houses have supernatural stories attached to them, and Culcavey House was no exception with tales of dreadful apparitions floating several feet above the ground being seen on certain nights. Then too the headless horseman who still managed to utter a horrid laugh, and other things unseen with much clanking of chains and rattling of bones!

Now that the old mansion has alas long gone these phantoms have most likely all retired on good pensions!

Opposite the entrance to Culcavey Cottage Farm (later Culcavey House) stood the Inkpot. This was a small house and so-called because of its appearance with a chimney at the summit of a four-sided roof. The cottage was a square, measuring 25 feet by 25 feet. The occupant was responsible for opening and closing the entrance gates to Cottage Farm.

Heatherbank HouseSituated on the right-hand side at the brow of what is locally called McBride's Hill was Heatherbank Farm. This two-storey house was surrounded by fields and adjacent to the railway. Here was a railway crossing known as `Heatherbank Crossing'. Edwin George Sands and his wife Sarah occupied the house at one time. Edwin Sands was born in 1853 and died in 1925, whilst his wife was born in 1859 and died in 1935. (The Sands family is mentioned later in this book in connection with farming.) They sold the property to a Mr & Mrs William Flynn. In later years it was the home of
Mr & Mrs Hamilton Bell. Mr Bell operated a Saw Mill here for cutting trees into planks. The house still remains but the farmland around it has been developed into private housing.

A view of the Mill PondTo the people of Culcavey Village `Mill Pond' was commonly referred to as `the dam' or 'McBride's dam'. The water from Mill Pond, via the sluice gates, entered the Mill Race situated on elevated ground on the west side of Culcavey Glen. The Mill Race flowed onwards into two large brick built tanks sunk into the side of the Glen. Here was the source of power to generate the Linen Mill. The overflow from the Pond traversed down the Whiskey River.

In early years the Mill Pond contained many species of fish found in fresh water ponds. The arrival of eels via Lough Neagh and the Canal put paid to the fish. For those who can  remember the eels were extremely large, silvery and slippery.

Perhaps to generations of children the dam was a place where you could wander round in search of birds' nests, try to catch fish or eels, or even at the shallow edges sit on a grass bank and paddle your feet. Today it is a haven for the many ducks and swans who feed uninhibited.

On the opposite side of the road to the entrance of Mill Pond was Bradshaw's Nursery. The Nursery extended as far as Culcavey crossroads and in its time must have been one of the largest in the Province. Local information states "that over 100 men were normally employed here, and extra `hands' were taken on in the height of the season". The area was originally known as `Ogles Grove', but employees called it Bradshaw's Nursery because the Marquis of Downshire's gardener, Mr Bradshaw supervised it. Mr Lennox Davis succeeded Mr Bradshaw. Thorn quicks, decorative hedges, shrubs and trees were propagated, cultivated and despatched from the Nursery. The Nursery was still in operation in 1931 when Mr Arthur Walker (father of Stewarty Walker), who was head gardener, died whilst conducting business at Belfast Market.

The following part of a poem, whose author is unknown, is a reminder of the above era:

Ogles Grove �
The Seat of Henry Davis, 1834

As o'er the plain my ramblings I pursue
An Ancient spot burst forth upon my view.
Neat handsome plantings on each side arise,
Here blooms the pride of modern nurseries.
What wonderful taste! It seems the bower of love.
Oh! Let me breathe the air of Ogles Grove.
Who has not felt in such a scene as this
The thrilling joy of summer's evening kiss?
His spirit dancing, while the hum of bees
Rose on the pinions of the sconce-felt breeze.

A step back in time at Ogles Grove House

This tall imposing red brick residence was situated up a long lane-way on the right-hand side of the road just past Mill Pond. It was the original residence of the Pimm family. The Pimm family sold the house to Mr Marshall, a Miller of Victoria Street Belfast. Mr & Mrs Parks were the next owners, Mrs Parks being a member of the Cowdy family from Banbridge who owned the Linen Mill, and Mr Parks a retired Army Colonel. Finally the last owners of this lovely house were Mr & Mrs Boyd. Mr. Boyd was a bank official for the Ulster Bank. Sadly the house was demolished a few years ago and the grounds are filled with new modern dwellings.

COTTAGE (or Glen Cottage)

Almost opposite the entrance to Ogles Grove House stood Mill House, a two-storey dwelling owned by the Mill and a `tied house', one had to work in the factory to occupy it. As the nearest house to Mill Pond (dam) the tenant was responsible for opening the sluice gates each morning to generate the power for the Linen Mill, and perform the opposite function at night when power went off at 10.00 p.m.

Mill Cottage (or Glen Cottage) stood slightly further down at the top of what was known as the Factory Hill. This would originally have been the Customs House. Although a two-storey structure, from the front one would expect it to be one-storey, as it was in fact built into a hill. Three bedrooms merged off the hallway at the front door. You went down a few steps and a small box room was on your right, the door on the left led down another few steps into a large kitchen (living room). Running off this large room was a scullery (kitchen) and another room used as a store room. There was a fire in one of the bedrooms and a large range in the kitchen. Water was carried from the tap just inside the Mill gates at the bottom of the hill. Electric light was generated from the Mill, with the exception of the bedroom on the right-hand side, which for some reason had no access to lighting. Joining onto Mill Cottage was another building known as `the Reading Room'. Its purpose must have something to do with work in the Mill. A dry toilet was outside, situated on a steep bank almost overlooking the waterfall in the glen. A pathway led directly from the house down to the Whiskey River. The gardens were extensive, the front garden ablaze with flowers and a rose arch at the front door. The back garden held a good chicken run and lots of space for cultivating.

The Smyth FamilyThe photograph opposite, taken between 1910-1912 shows the Smyth Family at Glen Cottage. Sitting from left to right, William John Smyth and his wife Sophia, Henry Smyth and his wife (parents of William John). Standing left to right the children are, Dorothy, Madge, Sophia, Hennie and Minnie with Winnie sitting on mother's knee. Henry Smyth was Assistant Manager of Culcavey Linen Mill and William John was Winding Master. The rest of the family all worked in the Mill at various jobs.

The family suffered tragically while living here. Henry Harry Smyth, son of William and Sophia, born on 20th April 1911 was drowned at the back of the house in the Whiskey River on 15th March 1914. The postman accidentally left the side gate open and the lure of the water proved tragic, his body was found further down the river at the Linen Mill. The family moved from the Glen and took up residence at No. 15 Grey Row which at that time was quite an expansive house, occupying the whole corner site. Part of No. 15 was later annexed to provide a smaller dwelling for the Factory Manager's housekeeper. The bigger house provided ample space for this large family: Minnie (born 12th July 1899), Dorothy (born 5th February 1902), Madge (born 20th March 1904), Hennie (born 16th November 1905), Sophia (born 17th April 1907), Winnie (born 10th August 1909), Florrie (born 20th December 1913), Ethel (born 4th March 1918) and Harold (born 2nd March 1920).

Colin Lillie from Hillsborough, whose mother was Dorothy Smyth, recalls vividly his mother's recollections of life at Glen Cottage, and how she left the house at Grey Row to get married. His grandmother, Sophia, never really got over the death of her young son and died at the early age of 43.

Culcavey Glen nestled between Culcavey Road, the Mill Pond, Mill Race and the Factory, and for the people of the village it was a magical place. The Whiskey River meandered from the Mill Pond (dam) down through the Glen and via the Mill continued on down the back of the houses in the village. To remember the Glen is to think of quietness in its leafy depths, the birds singing, sound of the waterfall cascading down the rocks. Carpets of bluebells grew in the dappled shade, primroses peeped from the edges of the river. There was an assortment of broad-leafed trees, tall ferns, brambles and bushes. For children it was an enchanted world to explore, things to be done and found in all seasons � looking for birds nests, home-made swings on the trees, climbing the almost mountain-like banks up onto the Culcavey Road, looking for chestnuts in the autumn and blackberries in the summer. To remember, just close your eyes and think back to the tall trees rustling above you, the peace and quiet and no background noise of traffic or modern day life. It was a timeless

place, taken for granted and only really appreciated when it had disappeared.

Although we have already said something of the history and importance of the mill, it is interesting to read what Bassett's County Down Guide and Directory had to say about the factory in 1886.

The Hillsborough Linen Company, Limited
This Victorian photograph gives some idea of the size of the linen factoryThe factory of the Hillsborough Linen Company, Limited, is situated at a distance of about a mile, English, west of Hillsborough, and less than hall a mile from the railway station. Buildings, three storeys and two storeys high, cover about two acres, and on 26 acres there are 52 workmen's houses. Altogether, the premises consist of about 140 statute acres, including a grazing farm. There are 318 looms, with the latest improvements. The manufactures include towellings, diapers and damasks. Yarns spun from Irish and Belgian flax are chiefly used. The products are sent to the markets of the United Kingdom and to the United States and Canada. An engine 135 horse-power, drives the machinery in summer. In winter a turbine wheel, equal to 70 horsed-power, is used as an auxiliary.

The buildings belonging to the Hillsborough Linen Company Limited originally served the purposes of a distillery, operated until the time of his death, about twenty years ago, by Mr. Hercules Bradshaw; a celebrated man of the turf and the owner of Barbarian, once a favourite for the Derby. A short time after the demise of Mr. Bradshaw the distillery was acquired by a Limited Liability Company and changed into a woollen factory.

A second limited liability company was formed while the concern was in full operation. It bought out the first company and continued to work until 1876, when a change was made .from woollens to linens, the company re-organised and its name altered to the Hillsborough Linen Company, Limited. Some of the shareholders of the first company have stock in the present successful enterprise.

Mr J.J. Pimm of Lisburn, is managing director, and Mr. Arthur Pimm secretary. Mr Arthur Pimm resides at Culcavy Cottage, in handsomely planted grounds. About 300 people are employed in the factory, of this number more than half are females.

At the entrance to the factory there is a school under the National Board of Education. It is chiefly attended by children of the company's operatives. The first storey of the school-house serves as a reading and recreation room. It was established by the company for the workmen, who manage it by committee. for their own benefit.

Mrs. McAllister and Mrs. Mabel Bowman working in the cloth departmentFor generations the mill provided the means of existence for a large proportion of the local population and this was often readily acknowledged. The Ulster Star of 9th November 1957 produced an article on the work of the Hillsborough Linen company. This article has been used to piece together information about the mill workers.

The Star noted that, in 1957, Andrew Armstrong had just replaced James McCandless as factory manager, while Robert Wilkinson was the assistant manager. Many of the employees had worked in the mill all their adult lives, one such person being Agnes Kane, who worked in the warp winding section for over sixty years. Matt Spence, a tenter, worked in the factory for over forty years. Warren McCleary was the father of Ernie McCleary, the Cliftonville footballer and Irish Amateur International.

The article went into a great deal of detail and mentioned the names of people long-associated with the factory: Boreland; Bowman; Bryans; Cairns; Copeland; Hewitt; Harris; Hull; Kane; Ringland; Pollock; Spratt; Walker; McAllister.

It is interesting to note that the Star went to great pains not to divulge any of the mill's trade secrets � they obviously didn't want to help the competition!

Herbert Bell of Tullynore, Hillsborough, had his own recollections of many of these people and their work:

I went to work in Culcavey Factory in 1931/32. I was learning weaving. for a short period, then working at bleaching yarn, and later I was operating a cropping machine in the cloth office. The older person on the large machine was George Cunningham; he was reared at Chimney Hall, Lisburn Road. The cloth inspector was Waring McCleery .from Moira, and he was married to a Uprichard. There were four Bowmans: Dad (boilerman); Stanley (dressing machine); Walter (labourer) and May (winder).

I also worked with Stewart Walker when we whitewashed all the buildings. Gerald Sparrow was in charge of bleaching, Harry Smyth was a joiner and Harry's brother was winding master. Albert Pollock and Davy Johnston were at bleaching. Davy's father was watchman at night. Manager McCandless lived at the back. Mr Wilkinson was floor manager William McAdam transported materials from Belfast by horse and van. The other dresser was Jimmy McMaster There were two men working on damask looms, Scott and Flanagan � I think they went overseas to work.

Annie McClenaghan (nee Ball) provides a lifetime recollection of work in a linen mill:

I started work in Culcavey Factory as a Weaver at the age of 14. This was the main work place for most of the girls and women of the village and my mother introduced me into the intricacies of the trade. It was hard work and the youth of today would probably be horrified by the conditions under which we toiled, the noise, dirt and the cold.

We put in a six day week, Monday to Friday 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and Saturday 8.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. More than welcome was the cup of tea we got at our loom at 10.00 a.m. When 12.30 p.m. arrived it was lunch break, but we had to be back at work at 1.00 pan. For some it meant a `piece' (sandwiches) consumed on the premises, but a .few managed to run home for a quick bite.

Workers surrounded by the roar of machinery in the linen factoryThe weavers' tools were a haddle hook (held in your mouth all day) and scissors (held in your hand all day). The women staved off the dirt by wearing an overall to save their clothes. If your loom stopped functioning the men would be called on to do the repairing or .fixing, but as time meant money to the weaver the women sometimes became just as adept at the fixing and carried their own tools. I remember one method I was involved in was the supply of small cuttings of dry rabbit skin glued and put in the shuttle to stop the weft breaking. As my father Hugh was the main supplier of rabbit skins in the area I was often sent post-haste home to procure the necessary bits of skin. Another necessary task was cleaning the looms every Friday. We were the producers of the best damask table cloths, tea towels and deck chair covers, the latter of which would cut the hands off you.

The terminology of the workers is ingrained in everyone who worked in the linen trade. The warp winding, weft winding, slashers, lapping, drawing in, bobbin hole, tenter, fitter, reel bleaching, yarn drying, cloth passer, joiners,, fitters etc.
Jimmy McNally and Stanley Bowmen were slashers, Matt Spence was the tenter, George Gunn, Bertie Cairns and Jim McCauley .fixed wood on the looms. Norman Chapman and Cecil Harrison were fitters (fixing metal on the looms). Jimmy Walker put stoppers on hand shuttles, not a very nice job as you had to suck them. George Humphries swept the floor all day long to try and keep the dust and dirt down.

Tissie Cairns hard at workThe company and the fun we had are what memories are made of If a girl was getting married she was put into the weavers' truck covered in french chalk and pushed around the mill.

I worked in the mill for 18 years until it was closed in 1967. My redundancy was �101 and I really thought I was rich! But the hard work didn't put me off, because I continued my trade in the Ulster Weaving Company in Sandy Row for another 24 years.

For people who worked in the mill many would ask the question "How do you know a mill worker?" and the answer would be "They all speak loudly"!

To those who spent the days toiling in the linen trade they not only remember the working conditions but also the people they worked with. One such person was Mr William Johnstone from Hillsborough, the night watchman responsible for closing all the gates and making his rounds of the factory. His hurricane lamp lit up many a dark night. It was also his duty to stop and start the dynamo-driven engine which produced electricity for the village and to keep the boilers lit until the boilerman came to work at 6.00 a.m. in the morning. The harsh and hazardous conditions that the mill people worked in would not be tolerated today. From the cleaning of the coal fired boilers where a man had to enter the boiler and chip (de-coke) all the limestone which had accumulated and remove it outside for disposal. Pitch dark inside and without ventilation or light there were no safety regulations here. The cold, noise and humidity were horrendous. Gas could be seen rising from the pots that the yarn was steeped in. Chemicals including vitrol and clard lime were used. Masks were unheard of then. The dust, known as pouse, covered everything, including the workers.

James McCandless, known to his workers as `Pa McCandless', was a respected and feared man. He not only held sway over his workers in the mill but also in their family lives. This was the man who could give you the `sack' and deprive your family of a home. But he ruled the factory and the village houses with vigilance, and appeared to know everything that was going on. He had a wealth of experience to call upon in his capacity as Manager as he had successfully managed a factory in Russia in his youth. His honeymoon was spent sailing on the River Volga. Armed men approached him after the Russian Resolution and asked him to manage the factory for them.

The Manager's house was situated towards the back of the mill on the left-hand side. A one-storey structure well enclosed in its own grounds. A well-tended garden extended to the left of the house, kept weed-free and full of vegetables, fruit and flowers, by the gardener/handyman employed by the Mill. Pa McCandless and his wife had one daughter called Annella. Miss Alice Taggart, who lived in No. 16 Hillside Terrace with her sister, was employed as their Housekeeper. Miss Taggart spent her retirement in Hillside Terrace and lived to a ripe old age.

For the people who worked in the Factory their experience of the hard work, the laughter and the tears, the sharing and the caring could produce a book in itself. These were the days when you walked to work, or if you were indeed lucky made your way by bicycle, from not only Culcavey but also Hillsborough, Maze and surrounding areas. Time was strictly monitored and you had to be punctual no matter how far you had to travel. At the beginning of the day you entered to the thunderous sound of the mill at work, and many of the workers became adept at lip-reading, so great was the noise. What many of the weavers and winders earned was governed by what they produced. A bad batch of yarn would mean a meagre pay packet. Here was one big family, each reliant on the other in the effort to produce high quality linen.

Ogles Grove Farm was built on part of the land that would have been Bradshaw's Nursery. Bertie and Norma Higginson lived here until they emigrated to Australia in the 1950's. In the late I920s the area which is now called Eglantine Park was still covered with shrubs and trees which were removed with the aid of a steam engine. As Norma Higginson recalls life on the farm was vastly different to what it is today.

After the Second World War agriculture in Northern Ireland was being boosted along with new ideas, more up-to-date machinery, and new ventures were the order of the times. My late husband, Bertie, had taken delivery of a new Nuffield tractor (the first in the area), his ambitions were to increase our acreage and make Ogles Grove Farm larger and more productive. The 'factory land' as it was known, became available for renting, this was just across the road and too good to miss. We increased our acreage of potatoes the first year (1948/49). The land had not been tilled for some years so it grew excellent crops in those early years.

Our herd of dairy cows was producing milk. for the factory residents who lived alongside at Culcavey in those red brick and grey pebbledashed rows of houses, just beyond Mr Emerson's shop. Granny Higginson would deliver, on her bicycle, the gills, pints and quarts of fresh milk required every morning. Milking commenced well before breakfast. The big white cow always had first attention; her milk would be oozing onto the byre floor before we even started. The `kicker' was always left to the last, she had to be leg roped, otherwise her foot would end up in a full bucket of fresh milk! The family cats sat nearby, and it was fun trying to squirt milk to their lips, often missing and ending up around their whiskers!

Ogles Grove Farm produced early vegetables .for the Lisburn market and local shops. Bertie grew early cauliflowers. I remember well that each plant had to have one teaspoonful of Sulphate of Ammonia sprinkled around its base, just as the head was starting to develop.

The three hothouses grew early lettuce, followed by a crop of tomatoes. Nothing beat a fresh young tender lettuce, with home made dressing, garnished with young tomatoes.

The railway line divided two fields from the main part of the farm. One frosty morning we could hear the train whistle blow frantically.

To our amazement a sow with ten suckling pigs had ventured onto the line. Fortunately they scattered in all directions, so the 10.00 am train had a clear passage to the Hillsborough Station just half a mile away. This was counted as a close shave as the sow and her family should not have been there!

The early fifties brought new horizons to our lives. There was a big movement of people to Canada and lots of families were losing their sons and daughters to this great continent. Australia seemed very far away. We had connections there, and letters had been coming and going since the early thirties. In those early years the letters referred to droughts and more droughts, with sad tales of shooting sheep and horses as the crops had .failed. However, after the war, pasture improvements took over in the heavier rainfall areas around the Riverina in New South Wales. Times had greatly improved � the wool boom had given the farmers a great boost, people were prospering and life was much easier.

During 1952/53 Bertie travelled to see for himself what the life and opportunities were like in Australia. He spent twelve months studying farming in Australia and New Zealand. He was fortunate to see four seasons in Australia and judge for himself. He returned in October 1953 with news that opportunities were many `down under' � land was plentiful and reasonable compared to Northern Ireland and England.

A big step was taken and early in 1954 Ogles Grove Farm was sold to the Walker family, who farmed the land until it was sold for private building. On 17th March 1954 we set sail on the SS Orsova, making her maiden voyage, to Australia. There was Bertie, myself and our two children, Carole and John.

Much water has passed under the bridge since those early days of married life in Culcavey. It has been experience that my family has never regretted making.

English Row in the nineteenth century. The girls don't seem camera shy! The two one-storey houses comprisingFrom Smithy Row, English Row, Shop Row, Hillside Terrace, Thompson's Row, Puddledock Row, the houses were the property of the Mill. The houses were `tied', one member of the family had to be employed by the Linen Company in order to attain and maintain tenancy. The fear of losing a job was bad enough, but it also meant losing a house.

The maintenance of the houses in the village was the responsibility of Mill owners, but they were far from luxurious accommodation. The usual accommodation was a living room (known as the kitchen) with a kitchen (known as the scullery) off and two-three bedrooms, depending on which row you lived in. There was no bathroom, toilet or running water. Electricity was supplied by the factory generator, but was only strong enough for lighting purposes. Power started at around 7.00 a.m. in the morning and went off at 10.00 p.m. at night. As there were no street lights, there was a world of darkness outside at night, with the bats sweeping up and down the rows of houses come dusk.

For most people the toilet was at the bottom end of the back garden, and a dry toilet at that. The more fortunate of the tenants who had a Sandra Hanna learning the art of water carrying back yard had `the wee house' situated just outside their back door. Few had a china chamber pot, 'po', under the bed and had to make do with a bucket. The ritual of `emptying the bucket' out of the dry toilet was usually done under cover of darkness. Usually a hole was dug in the garden and it was disposed of there � so much for the claims about the huge vegetables grown years ago! But there was at one time a dump created for the disposal of the `bucket'. This was situated less than 100 yards from the only village pump and well which was the main supply of water for drinking and washing purposes. In the darkness the `bucket' was emptied and then rinsed under the pump, which meant the water must have returned to the well along with everything else! When the dump was full and there was no more room to empty the `bucket', William Crossey, Sen., was paid to make room. He got a horse and cart and a long-tail shovel and drew all he could out of the dump and spread it beside the Whiskey River. There were no septic tanks or sewage plants and the well never ran dry no matter what the weather. The `good old days'!

For all the women of the village wash day and bath night was a nightmare. All the water had to be carried from the pump, bucket by bucket. Pots and buckets of water were heated on the range in the kitchen and transferred to the washtub in the scullery. Vigorous scrubbing on a `scrubbing board' using hard green bars of soap. More water for rinsing and then out into the back yard to be put through a mangle to squeeze whatever water you could out of the laundry before being pegged out on the line. The pump wasn't just situated near your house, for many it took a few hundred yards to collect the water and bring it back to the house. Back-breaking and continuous on laundry day, with the prospect of facing the water carrying again on Saturday night for the weekly bathing session. Here the tin bath was taken out of the yard and set in front of the range in the kitchen. The family took turns in the bath, the youngest first down to the eldest of the children, usually sharing the same water with a top-up from the kettle. Adults performed the same process usually later in the night when the children were in bed. As there was a fireplace in a bedroom upstairs, the fire was sometimes lit and the bath and hot water lugged up the stairs in order to give more privacy to older members of the family.

Harry Riddle, Robert Crothers, Robert Finn, Raymond Ringland and Kenneth Riddle relaxing at the back of Hillside Terrace.The only heating in the houses was from the range in the kitchen, and life usually revolved around this. Here was the heat, here was the means of cooking, and in winter the clothes were dried as well, sometimes on a pulley line or on a clothes-horse in front of the range. Pride of the kitchen was the range, black-leaded and polished and looked after as the most important part of the house. Porridge cooked for breakfast, soup simmering for dinner (if you were lucky), and bread and jam for your lunch (your `piece'). Nothing fancy, nothing wasted, and the better-off people managed to cook tarts and cakes in the oven, but for most this wasn't possible. Fuel to maintain the continuous heating required for the range sometimes posed a problem. Most people would burn logs or any bits of wood that came to hand to eke out the coal. For many, a lump or two of the lovely shiny black coal, which was heaped at the entrance to the factory door was a temptation too many. A lump or two concealed in the pocket of your coat on your way home from work meant the luxury of heat in the living room that night!

Plenty to smile about for Hugh Ball, Davy McFarland, Mosie Matchett, Tisse Cairns, Aggie Campbell and Maggie Ball at the front of Hillside TerraceNo matter how poor, or how little there was the people in the village houses were scrupulously clean. The quarry-tiled floor in the living room was washed every day, the front-door step was scrubbed with vigour. Windows were washed with water and vinegar, and the white curtains given the `dolly blue' treatment. Most of the bedrooms had lino on the floor (think of your warm feet getting out of bed in the middle of winter and walking on this). No carpets, but maybe a rag rug as a luxury. Furniture was sparse, but what you had was looked after, washed and polished (no spray polish then, just wax and a lot of elbow grease). Walls were distempered inside and whitewashed outside to keep the house bright and clean. Such was the pride of the people of this village in their ability to keep up appearances!

Life was hard in the days of the mill workers. Money was scarce and clothes were in many cases hand made. If someone grew out of an Robert & Sarah Crossey, Jane Cairns, Jimmy Walker, Bertie Hull, Trevor Campbell and Pearl Walker at Hillside Terrace article of clothing it was passed on to the next in the family, or in the case of adults cut down to fit a child in the family. Most young boys wore short trousers, and this was because if the knees of a long pair were worn out and beyond repair they were cut down and adjusted to fit a younger member of the family. Shoes were the hardest item to keep in supply in the family. If they didn't fit anyone else the leather was cut out to accommodate the toes and thereby extend their usefulness. One could only hope this happened in the summer and not the winter! Woollen articles that had become worn were unpicked and the usable wool unravelled and wound to be used again. Holes in socks were a major problem and darning became an evening function for the females of all households. All female members of the family learned to knit, and mastered the complications of using four needles to knit socks and turn a heel. Many a person learned the trick of covering up the apparent hole in the heel of a sock by putting boot polish on their heel as a disguise. The same can be said for the use of a collar and cuffs and false bib front where no good white shirt was available. For many men the suit they were married in was the one in which they were `laid out' on death.

One plus factor of living in the village was the availability of a plot of land (an allotment), or a garden adjacent to the house. All the ground set in a square behind the mill houses comprised the plots'. Here each household could grow vegetables, keep chickens or pigs. Some of the `plots' were meticulously kept, whilst others tended to contain all sorts of ramshackled home-made constructions to house an assortment of livestock. Cabbage, leeks, celery, parsley, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, potatoes, lettuce and scallions were all produced for home consumption, and these were the mainstay of the household diet. The odd fruit bush thrived, if it was left alone by the local children who has a penchant for gooseberries, raspberries and blackcurrants. A few people grew flowers, but vegetables were more important to the household.

Culcavey's Distillery Football Team photograph taken c. 1920s with Puddledock row and Grey Row in background.Leisure pursuits were of the inhabitants making. In the early days skittles were played at the crossroads. Pitch and toss was popular. Football, rounders and cricket were played in the field that stood between the Mill and Smithy Row. The odd secret `card school' was held in secluded places, and pigeon racing was very popular. No washing went out on a Saturday when the pigeons were expected home from a race. Groups of men stood along the back of the houses eyes eagerly scanning the sky in the hope for an `early trap' and maybe a few shillings won. Children played along the plots, making houses and dens in the hedgerows, played hopscotch, Queenie-Queenie, marbles, conkers, guiders, tig, hoops and various complicated ball games. Winter brought slides made along the middle of the road on the various hills of the village � no motor cars to worry about � and sledging in the fields up Harry's Road.

Competitive football played an important part in village life. In the early years the men named their team "Distillery", probably after the brewery that first set up Culcavey village. Unfortunately after World War Two the football team folded up. There were many good football players from the next generation of young men and most of them moved to the Hillsborough team, Downshire A.F.C. that is still going strong today. Names of some the players were Alex White, Charlie Freel, Tommy McCarthy, Billy Cargin, Dessie Russell, Tommy Whiteside, Tommy Williamson, Bertie Cairns and Thompson Crossey. Bertie Cairns also played for Glenavon while Thompson Crossey, having had trials with Glenavon, played for Albert Foundry in the intermediate league. Some of the later generation also played for Maze Rec.

Coruba Rovers with their patronMrs, Annie RitchieIn the 1970s another team was formed playing under the name of Coruba Rovers. Apparently the name `Coruba' was a brand of rum and the makers sponsored the team. The team was formed in what always proved to be the favourite bar for the Culcavey lads, Annie Ritchie's in Hillsborough. Although based in Hillsborough it almost completely comprised Culcavey men. Their patron was Mrs. Annie Ritchie and the team enjoyed a good few years in competitive football.

For many the `pictures' in Ritchie's Hut in Hillsborough on a Monday night was a major event, and the lucky ones had the shilling admission. Dances in the Orange Hall in Hillsborough usually took place on a Saturday night, but occasionally a Friday night was something of a treat. Many romances took place and survived at a meeting there. Courting couples had only the lane ways and byways to do their romancing, no cosy parlour to be on your own for a couple of hours, just a meeting at the corner and a walk no matter what the weather was like. Sunday saw the youth of the village taking walks along the Canal tow path wearing their best clothes, and as the older people would say `running their eye over each other'. A lot of the socialising went on in the evenings at the corner of Hillside Terrace or outside Emerson's Shop, where groups would meet, talk and share jokes. If the local policeman happened to pedal by he was greeted with a courteous `Good Evening, Sir'. The age of respect was then, instilled in you at home and school.

Through the years the changes came. The major ones were in the 1950's when running water and electricity was installed in the houses. Such a luxury, not having to run to the pump, but that was only for the water. Still no bathroom or flush-toilet until the 1960's when the factory sold the houses to the local Council. Then came the major event of at long last having a bathroom and a toilet. Electricity changed life for the better, now people did away with the range in the kitchen and installed a 'devon grate' (an open fireplace) and electric cookers came into vogue. Television was an innovation, and when one household in Hillside Terrace bought their first set, they were inundated by a queue of young boys asking "Can we see the Lone Ranger, please?". The hard work went out of the household when a washing machine was purchased, and slowly an old way of life disappeared, replaced by modernisation. Some things did remain unchanged, the Sunday School trip organised by the Mission Hall was still a yearly highlight as was their Christmas Party. On 11th July the bonfire was, and still is, lit to celebrate `The Twelfth'. For years an Arch was put up near the crossroads on 1st July as part of the celebrations. Our memories will recall dancing at the bonfire, roasting potatoes, and singing, the people celebrating their culture and tradition.

Today, standing like a sentinel, the old oak tree marking the start of the Mill houses at Smithy Row maintains its vigilance over the village houses starting at Ogles Terrace. It is ironic to think today that this Ulster 'linen' village changed hands for the princely sum of �2,250 when it was sold to Hillsborough Rural Council. In April 1961 the list of tenants reads:

Smithy Row:

No.l Mary M. Dodds

No.2 Vacant

English Row:

No.l Alfred C Armstrong

No.2 William S Bowman

No.3 Adelaide Irvine

No.4 James McAnally

No.5 Jeannie Bowman

No.6 Vacant

No.7 Norman Chapman

No.8 Thomas Gordon

Shop Row:

No.l Phyllis G Briggs

No.2 Margaret L Hanna

No.3 Elizabeth Pollock

No.4 Diana Harrison

White Row (Hillside Terrace)

No.1 Agnes Campbell

No.2 Ena Hewitt

No.3 Frederick Hull

No.4 Sarah Ringland

No.5 Kathleen Crothers

No.6 Martha Ann Ruddy

No.7 Margaret Ball

No.8 Margaret E. Matchett

No.9 Margaret Bell

No.10 Letitia Cairns

No.l l Elizabeth Prince

No.12 Florence Kane

No.l3 Jane Cairns

No.14 Robert Crossey

No.l5 Stewart Walker

No.16 Margaret Mercer

Thompson's Row

No.l Sarah Cairns

No.2 Susan McCaugherty

No.3 May Acheson

No.4 Eileen Nicholson

No.5 Florence Crothers

No.6 Robert Cairns

No.7 David Kerr

No.8 Sarah McCambley

No.9 Sarah E. Hewitt

No.10 Renee Crossey

Puddledock Row:

No.l Robert Molloy

No.2 Wm. John Hull

No.3 Leonora Gamble

No.4 Leonard Magee

No.5 William Spratt

No.6 Edward Greenfield

Much may have disappeared, but the village still retains plenty of the character of the people. For here today we have a generation of people whose relatives were the `Mill people'. Some of the names may have changed by marriage, but they can quote grandparents and great grandparents who worked and lived in the area. Names like Kane, Ringland, Hewitt, Cairns, Crossey, Hull, McQuillan, Walker, Matchett, Ball, Chapman to name but a few.

The Whiskey River meanders from the Mill Pond, through what was once the glen, down round the area where the Linen Mill originally stood. Its course meanders down the back of houses at Grove Park (originally a green-field area). It passes under what is called the Whiskey Bridge on the Aughnatrick Road (originally called Puddledock Road) and makes its way through the fields right down to the River Lagan. The name of the river originated from the days of the Distillery. Apparently whiskey was disposed of by washing it down the river to avoid an explanation to the Customs men as to the storage of more whiskey than the records showed, and it is amazing to think that its title has remained unchanged in a very transient world. All around it the names of houses, roads and townlands have changed, but it has endured and if it could talk it could tell a tale all of its own.

Today's visitor to Culcavey Stores might think that this is a building of recent construction, but it has, in fact, quite a long history. Culcavey Stores was built after the Hillsborough Linen Company was formed. The front doors of the shop faced north, and there was a yard outside with stables and stores. Living accommodation was on the first floor.

When Mr Shaw, the original shopkeeper died in 1893 his wife emigrated to New Zealand. He operated a `co-op shop', i.e. each week he worked three days in the factory and three days in the shop. The Emerson family who lived in number 2 Distillery Row (re-named White Row) and sold some perishable food from there, were given the tenancy of the stores. There was no co-op arrangement, so they were on their own.

All produce was delivered in bulk and weighed and wrapped according to demand. In those days a housewife would often carry purchases home in her apron. Staple foods like tea, sugar, butter, bacon, eggs and flour were the main items sold. During the war food was rationed and records of purchases and sales had to be kept. The rationed food presented no problem. It was however necessary to ensure that unrationed items were fairly distributed. The quantity of bulk supplies received was based on previous purchases. Food coupons were returned each month to the Food Office in Lisburn.

After 1945 the change from bulk supplies to pre-packaging began to gather pace, and as time went on supermarkets and television advertising changed the food trade. Aids such as cash registers and refrigerators altered the layout of shops. This momentum continues.
Bertie Emerson retired in 1991. So like distilling and linen weaving carried on at Culcavey Factory, the Emerson family, who had run the grocery business at Culcavey for more than one hundred years, ceased trading. However, the shop still exists under different management and continues to be an integral part of life in the area.

During the 1939-43 War the following was an advertisement in the Dromore Leader, composed by the proprietor, Mr RJ Emerson:

Our customers on wash day
Should never dread "the tub".
With lots of soap and powders
They have never hard to rub.

They wisely decided
When they talked the matter o'er.
To get all their wants provided
They must ration at The Store.

YES, we have THE GOODS!

Select Grocers
Culcavey Stores (near Hillsborough)