New Exhibition at Carleton Street Orange Hall

New Exhibition at Carleton Street Orange Hall

Portadown Heritage Tours are hosting the Memorials to Sacrifice Exhibition at Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre for the month of February.

The Memorials to Sacrifice Exhibition highlights Orange Halls, throughout Northern Ireland, that were built as memorials in the aftermath of the Great War.  ‘Memorials to Sacrifice’ is the latest initiative by the Museum of Orange Heritage marking the centenary of the Armistice, and the contribution of members of the Orange Institution on the front line.

Why the Exhibition is so important to Carleton Street Orange Hall.

Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre has its own story to tell about it’s place in the Great War and the many Orangemen of Portadown District who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who came home again.

Carleton Street Orange Hall is home to the Ex-Servicemen’s Lodge and Preceptory of Portadown District.  The Lodge was formed in 1946 after the Second World War and the Preceptory was formed a couple of years later in 1949.  Its members were made up of First and Second World War Veterans.  This year Portadown Ex-Servicemen’s RBP 326 will celebrate its 70th Anniversary.

The reasons these Memorial halls were built after the war reflect the same meaning behind the formation of the Ex-Servicemen’s Lodge.  It was a place ex-soldiers could socialise, reminisce and have a brotherhood after the armed forces.


History behind the Exhibition

It is estimated upwards of 20 halls owned or primarily used by Orange Lodges were erected as memorials to Orangemen who paid the supreme sacrifice during the First World War.  Such properties remain actively used by the Institution at locations across Northern Ireland, including Randalstown, Muckamore, Tullylish, Templepatrick, Dungannon and Ballymacarrett in East Belfast.

Accompanying Booklet

There is an accompanying booklet with the exhibition which can be purchased.  The Booklet states;

“The War Memorial Orange Halls were not just erected to provide a meeting place for Lodges and Preceptories, they also provided a place where Ex-Servicemen could meet to socialise and to reminisce.  They also provided a place in which the core values of the Orange Order could be presented to members of the local community”.

The halls were often built by the brethren or by Ex-Servicemen and often had facilities-for example, washrooms, toilets, central heating, electricity- that were still absent in many residential properties.


Commenting on the exhibition, museum curator Jonathan Mattison said “We are delighted to launch this educational national travelling exhibition and informative booklet, which underlines the extent and contribution of Orangeism to the Great War, and its lasting legacy for local communities.

Opening Times

The exhibition will be on show in the Heritage Centre of Carleton Street Orange Hall for the month of February.  It will be open Monday-Thursday 9:15am until 4:15pm and Friday 9:15am until 1:15pm.  For visitors who can’t make it during the day, it was also be open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 7:30pm until 8:30pm.

Everyone Welcome!

For parents and guardians, there is also a Kids activity corner available with lots of  fun activities relating to the Great War.  This will keep the kids busy allowing the parents and guardians time to enjoy the exhibition.


Exhibition Information provided by Museum of Orange Heritage. 

Lieutenant Geoffrey St. George Shillington Cather

Lieutenant Geoffrey St. George Shillington Cather

A World War 1 Victoria Cross Recipient, Lieut. Cather was born October 11th 1890 and died 2nd July 1916.  A native of the Streatham Hill area of south west London, Cather enlisted in the University and Public School Corps in September 1914 and was then commissioned into the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in May 1915.  He served as as a Lieutenant, Adjutant, with the 108th Infantry Brigade, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers (Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan Volunteers).

Cather was awarded the VC for action near Beaumont Hamel during the first days of the Battle of the Somme, the “Big Push”. His unit was assigned a sector just north of the river Ancre.  At 7:30am they went over the top with six hundred men to cross six hundred yards of no-mans land towards their objective of Beaucort Station.  At roll call at the end of the day just over five hundred were killed, missing or wounded.  Later in the day the remnants of the battalion were withdrawn to the village of Beaumont Hamel.  Search parties were organised that evening to go back over no-mans land to look for their missing comrades.

As battalion adjutant, Lieutenant Cather led one of the parties.  From his citation:

“For most conspicuous bravery. From 7pm till midnight he searched ‘No-Mans Land’, and brought in three wounded men. Next morning at 8am he continued his search, brought in another wounded man, and gave water to others, arranging for their rescue later.  Finally, at 10:30am he took out water to another man and was proceeding further on when he was himself killed.  All this was carried out in full view of the enemy, and under direct machine gun fire and intermittent artillery fire.  He set as splendid example of courage and self sacrifice”

He has no known grave, but he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 15a.  His Victoria Cross was presented to his family by King George at Buckingham Palace on March 31st 1917.  The medal is now on display at the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, Armagh.


Charles Moore and Portadown Unionist club

Charles Moore and Portadown Unionist club

Charles Moore Johnston was a Captain with the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was originally from Carrickblacker Avenue in Portadown. Captain Johnston was in command of ‘C’ Company, which was positioned on the left of the centre for the attack on the 1st July.  He was killed in action on the 1st July 1916 at age 30. He is buried in Mensil Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France. He was a member of Portadown Unionist Club.

His Father also, Charles, was Chairman of Portadown Unionist Club. The bannerette of Portadown Unionist Club has been preserved and is on display in Carleton Street Orange Hall.

Charles Moore and Portadown Unionist club