A Successful Orange Heritage Week 2018 in Portadown

A Successful Orange Heritage Week 2018 in Portadown

We Brought Orange Heritage Home to the Orange Citadel!

Futures Bright for Orange Heritage

Orange Heritage Week saw the release of our audio tours, using i-Beacon technology, the first of its kind in any tourist building in Northern Ireland.

 

The kids treasure trail was a big success and proved that Orange Heritage Week can be enjoyed by all ages.  The kids were given free rain of the hall and they throughly enjoyed their time exploring it and discovering a little bit of history along the way.  They enjoyed finding the treasure and their party afterwards with juice and treats.

Release of our Exhibitions

We had three Exhibitions open during Orange Heritage Week.  These included Portadown Orangemen on the Western Front, Orange & Industry and Drumcree: 20 Years on.  The exhibitions displayed local history and its connections to Orange Heritage within the town. Love it or hate it, theres no doubt about it, Orange Heritage runs deep into the history of Portadown.  The exhibitions took a while to get through, with visitors coming back over a couple of days to explore them.

 

Band Performances & Public Talks

We would like to say a big thank you to Star of David Accordion band for their open concert they performed on the Monday night.  It showcased the week nicely, highlighting the importance of music throughout Orange Heritage.  Also a big thank you to Historian Robert Wallace for his two very interesting talks on ‘The Williamite Wars in the European Context’ and ‘The Palaces of William and Mary’.  Both proved a very good insight into the beginnings of the Orange Culture and history.  Link Below for a short video of the bands performance.

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Spooky Times Ahead..

We have Ghost Tours running throughout October! To kick those of we had our first Ghost Tour of the season during Orange Heritage Week.  This proved very popular and we hope everyone had a good time, there was a few laughs along the way as well as the scary bits!

Finishing on a high!

To finish the festival off we had our MacMillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning! We are happy to announce we raised a total of £295.  We are delighted with the total and we have our visitors support to thank for that.

 

Its a Thank You from us!

We would like to thank everyone who supported us for our festival of events for Orange Heritage Week.  To all our visitors who attended your support is very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

Linen Industry Exhibition at Carleton Street Heritage Centre

Linen Industry Exhibition at Carleton Street Heritage Centre

 Exciting Linen Industry exhibition in Portadown!

Portadown Heritage Tours and Carleton Street Heritage Centre, in association with Craigavon Museum Services, is proud to host a special Linen Industry exhibition celebrating the history of the once mighty local linen industry in the area.

 

Photo credit: Portadown Heritage Tours

Rise and fall of the mills on the local skyline.

The exhibition charts more than 300 years of history of the linen industry in North Armagh; from its 17th century beginnings as a cottage industry, through to its industrialisation in the 19th century which saw the mighty mills and factories come to dominate the skylines of Portadown and Lurgan, to its eventual demise in the latter 20th century.

Photo credit: http://www.cragiavonhistoricalsociety.org.uk

 

For your eyes only..

On display will be a range of artefacts, documents, photographs, oral history interviews and samples of the many linen products for which the area became renowned.  Among the famous companies mentioned will be McCaw Allan, Spence Bryson, C. Blanes and Son, Johnston and Allen and Achesons.

When and Where?

The exhibition will be held in Carleton Street Orange Hall, Portadown.  The opening night of the exhibition will be Wednesday 7th March form 7pm-9pm.  The opening times are listed below:

Thursday 8th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Friday 9th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Saturday 10th March: 2pm-4pm

Tuesday 13th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 14th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Thursday 15th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Friday 16th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Saturday 17th March: 2pm-4pm

David Weir of Craigavon Museum Services will be giving a talk on Monday 12th March at 7pm regarding the linen Industry in the local area.

Everyones Welcome!

This is a free exhibition and everyone is welcome to Carleton Street Orange Hall.  There is good disability access into the hall and we recommend parking in William Street Car Park or the Fair Green Car park both within a short walking distance to the Orange Hall. We invite everyone to come along and learn about your local history and heritage!

 

 

 

Linen Exhibition at Carleton Street Heritage Centre Portadown

Linen Exhibition at Carleton Street Heritage Centre Portadown

Portadown Heritage Tours in association with Craigavon Museum Services will be hosting a Linen Exhibition in Carleton Street Heritage Centre in March 2018.

Carleton Street Heritage Centre is located within the historic walls of Carleton Street Orange Hall, Portadown.  It will be the perfect setting for this Linen Exhibition with good disabled access into the hall and a warm welcome guaranteed by the local guides of Portadown Heritage Tours.  The opening night will be Wednesday 7th March 2018 from 7pm until 9pm. This exhibition is free admission and everyone is welcome.  We’ll be keeping you up to date with more information closer to the event.

The opening times will then be as follows:

Thursday 8th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Friday 9th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Saturday 10th March: 2pm-4pm

Monday 12th March: Talk by David Weir of Craigavon Museum Services at 7pm

Tuesday 13th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 14th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Thursday 15th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Friday 16th March: 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm

Saturday 17th March 2pm-4pm

 

 

 

 

 

Belfast Lodge with Portadown Links

Belfast Lodge with Portadown Links

A Belfast Orange Lodge has a very close connection with Portadown, as its name would suggest, and most of the founding members came from County Armagh town and district.  The Lodge is Rising Sons of Portadown LOL No 1336, and its warrant is held by Belfast District LOL No 2, sitting in Clifton Street Orange Hall.

It flourished in the early 1900’s when many linen workers from Portadown moved to Belfast to take up jobs in the huge linen mills in the North of the city.  Until fairly recently the lodge was in existence, but the huge movement of Protestant families  from the north and west Belfast resulted in a number of Orange Lodges declining in numbers and becoming dormant.  However, the warrant of the Rising Sons of Portadown LOL No 1336 is still held by District No 2, and a number of former members transferred to other city lodges.

One side of the banner is a representation of the massacre of Protestants in the River Bann in Portadown during the Irish Rebellion of 1641.  In July 1960, a new banner was unveiled for the lodge at a ceremony in Clifton Street Orange Hall, Belfast, by the then Grand Master of Ireland, Senator Sir George Clark.  Sir George was accompanied by Lady Clark, and the chairman was Bro J. Coalville, WM of No 2 District, Belfast.

The banner was dedicated by the Rev.T.W.W. Jones and bouquets were presented to Lady Clark and Mrs Jones.  A vote of thanks to Sir George was proposed by Bro Major F.R.A. Hands, Deputy County Grand Master, and seconded by Bro V. Carson, deputy master of the Rising Sons of Portadown LOL No 1336.  Sir George noted that the:

“lodge bore the title of a town in Northern Ireland noted for its loyalty and Orangeism, and it reflected the fact that so many people from the town had settled in Belfast”.

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The Boroughs first Mayors show

The Boroughs first Mayors show

The Boroughs first ever Mayor’s show was held on 27th May 1966 and was organised by Portadown junior chamber of commerce.  The Chief emphasis of the event was to showcase Portadown’s Industrial capacity. The show featured a procession of decorated floats, with local bands and organisations including youth organisations taking part.

Mayors Show 1966 f copy

Portadown Mayor at the time was Collr. R.J. Williamson.  An award for the best float on display was up for grabs, although this was not an easy win, as the competition was open to all of Co.Armagh.  It was described as the best event of its kind outside of Belfast.  The Chairman of the organising committee was Mr Bob Raj.

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Sir Robert Hart

Sir Robert Hart

Sir Robert Hart has been described as the ‘the father of China’s modernisation’.

Before the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960’s there were streets, such as ‘Hart Boulevard’ in both Shanghai and Beijing named after him.  In 1910 a life size bronze statue of Hart was erected close to the mouth of Yangtze River to commemorate the life and achievement of a great Ulsterman.  The statue stood for 27 years until it was destroyed by Japanese invaders in 1937.

The statue had the following inscription:

“Inspector General of the Chinese Maritime Customs, Founder of the Chinese Lighthouse service, Organiser and Administrator of the National Post Office, Trusted Counsellor of the Chinese People, Modest, Patient, Sagacious and Resolute, he overcame formidable obstacles, and Accomplished a work of Great Beneficence for China and the World”.

Born In Portadown with Scottish roots.

Robert Hart was born at 42 Woodhouse Street, Portadown, on 20th February 1835.  Henry Hart, Robert’s father, was originally a spirit grocer but he changed to the linen trade when he converted to Methodism.

His mother’s maiden name was Edgar.  His ancestry was Scottish on both sides of the family, his father was of a Plantation family and his mother was descended from Scots who had settled in Ulster several centuries prior to the Plantation.

His mother was a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce (Robert I) who was king of Scotland from 1306 until his death in 1329.

 

Origins in Kilmoriarty and links with Orangeism

The Hart family estate was located in the town land of Kilmoriarty. It was a direct relative of Robert Hart who had taken out the original warrant of LOL 31 on 6th August 1796.  His name was Abraham Hart.

In 1922, Kilmoriarty LOL 31 unfurled a new Banner at the Saunderson Statue in Portadown.  The Banner was unfurled by Sister Louisa Shillington, a leading and founding member of Portadown Women’s District LOL No.3.

During the ceremony, Worshipful District Master W H Wright, of Portadown District LOL No.1 stated in his speech:

“Kilmoriarty LOL has the honour of holding the oldest warrant in the District.  A previous warrant of the lodge was taken out by one of the family of which the late Sir Robert Hart was a distinguished member”.

 

Education and Working Life

Robert Hart was educated at Methodist foundations at Taunton and Dublin and the newly established Queen’s College, Belfast, from which he graduated in 1853. In 1854 Hart arrived in Hong Kong as a member of the British Consular Service in China.  This marked the beginning of his life’s residence in China, which apart from two short periods of leave, would last 54 years. His first appointment was as a supernumerary interpreter to the British vice-consulate in Ningpo, a major port and industrial hub in east China. It was Hart’s skill and efficiency that earned him the admiration of his superiors and resulted in his nomination as secretary to the allied commissioners governing the Canton (now Guangzhou, located northwest of Hong Kong) in March 1858.

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Inspector of Customs

In 1859, Hart resigned to take up the post of local inspector of Customs.  In 1861 he was promoted to acting Inspector-General, and appointed Inspector General of the Chinese Maritime Customs (CMC) in 1863.  He held this position until his retirement in 1908.

“When he became Inspector-General In 1863 the CMC was operating in 7 open ports; by 1907 it was operating in 76 native customs stations under his administration.  He also presided over the servicing of 182 lights, various navigational aids, and 2,800 post offices.  His staff consisted of 11,970 people, of whom 1, 345 were foreigners.  Hart was responsible for generating one third of China’s revenue”.

Marriage and Music

In 1866, Robert Hart married Hester Jane Bredon, eldest daughter of Dr Edward Bredon of Portadown.  They had three children.  Hart found relaxation in music.  He was an amateur Violinist, cellist and composer.  He formed a customs’ band, the ‘mother of bands’, in north China.

Retirement

Robert Hart retired in April 1908.  He had a number of Chinese honorary titles.  He was also honoured by a number of countries including Italy, Portugal, Norway and Holland.

He became Pro-Chancellor of Queen’s University in Belfast.  He always maintained a strong interest in his old College.

In 1971 Hart’s family presented the University with a set of table silverware, the ‘Empress of China’s Silver’.  The silver had been presented to Hart to mark 43 years of service as Inspector-General of Maritime Customs in China.

Sir Robert Hart died in September 1911.

Remembered in Portadown

A Blue Plaque was located outside the home where he was born in Woodhouse Street for many years, before the building was demolished.  The Blue plaque was then relocated to the school named after him, Sir Robert Hart Memorial Primary School, in Charles Street, Portadown.

 

Sir_Robert_Hart_Memorial_School,_Charles_Street,_Portadown._-_geograph.org.uk_-_571098

 

 

 

Portadowns’ Linen Links

Portadowns’ Linen Links

Portadown has a long standing link with the united states of America, notably the city of Manchester, in the state of Connecticut.  The reason for this special link was that the great Cheney Mills in Manchester, USA, periodically sent recruitment teams to Portadown, to offer employment to linen workers in the towns factories.

Linen was the main industry in the town from the mid 1800’s.  But there were periods when the industry fell on difficult times due to world recession and other factors.

Manchester, USA, acquired a sizeable Portadown population from the 1880’s right through to the years between the two world wars of the 20th century.

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