Portadown Heritage Tours are launching ‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ festival of events. This week-long festival is taking place during Orange Heritage Week. The festival will explore the transition of the 4thPortadown Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force who enlisted into the 9thBattalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in Carleton Street Orange Hall in 1914.
The festival will run from Monday 23rdSeptember until Saturday 28th September. Every room within the hall will feature an exhibition or living history display. One of the rooms will be converted into an army recruitment office, similar to the one that would have been used in the hall in September 1914.
The festival exhibitions will create a timeline of events looking at the years before the outbreak of war covering the Home Rule Crisis, the Ulster and Irish Volunteer Forces, the Unionist Clubs and the Women’s Unionist Association. Carleton Street Orange Hall was on standby to become an Ulster Volunteer Force Hospital if Civil War had been declared. One of the rooms in the hall will be converted into a medical room to showcase what the rooms would have looked like if that had happened.
Women and the First World War
Also included is an exhibition on the Suffragettes and Women during the First World War. There will be an exhibition exploring the famous Blacker and Shillington families of Portadown. Both families were influential during the First World War, but we also look at the generations before them that paved the way for the development of the Orange Order in the local town.
Exploring both Communities
We are exploring the events of 1916 and how the Ulster and Irish Divisions came together to fight at Messines in 1917. Also, on display will be ‘The Arches of Portadown’. This exhibition will look at the local triumphal arches in the area including those that are memorials to those who died during the First World War.
The launch night is Monday 23rdSeptember, this is a closed event by invitation only. The festival will open to the public on Tuesday 24thSeptember. Exhibitions are open Tuesday-Friday 10:30am – 4:00pm and also Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings 7:00pm-9:30pm. On Tuesday 24thSeptember at 7:00pm there will be talk by Mrs Carol Walker MBE, Somme Association, on ‘Women and the First World War’. On Thursday 26thSeptember at 7:00pm there will be a talk by local historian Mr Richard Edgar on ‘A Call to Arms: Portadown and the Great War’.
The Festival will finish on Saturday 28thSeptember with exhibitions open 10:30am-4:00pm and Portadown District LOL No.1 will also be hosting the Brew for Drew Coffee Morning and Family Fun day from 11am-3pm. There will be lots to do for all the family at the fun day with Bouncy Castle, Face Painting, Play Area, Balloon Modelling, Games, Arts, Crafts and also special guests!