Article by Jim Ward - April
I was reading with interest Jim
McIlmurray's stories in "Your Place & Mine"
and thought I might add to some comments he made under "Buttermilk
Men". He mentioned 'a man called Stevenson in Victoria
Street'. I was born at No. 54 in February 1939 and lived
at Nos. 81 & 101 before 'emigrating' to Waringstown
in 1953. Johnnie Stevenson lived at No. 73 (His wife was
Annie). He had a thriving milk business for many years,
which seems a remarkable enterprise to be run from a terraced
However, if you were to go down the gateway
next to Archer's shoe repairers all was revealed. No one
in that block of houses had a garden at th rear and Johnnie
had used the land between the houses and the railway to
build a milking barn. He had a large herd of 20 or 30 cows
which he grazed on two fields; one on Lurgantarry and the
other opposite Johnson & Allen's factory on the land
between Victoria Place & Lin Erin (J & A's Social
Hall). Johnnie had a brother Jimmy who lived at No. 71.
Not only did Jimmy own a small 'general store' in the street
but also a number of houses and his wife (or maybe it was
his sister) Maggie used to collect the weekly rent.
Another "Buttermilk Man" in the
area was Geordie Jamieson of Garland Avenue.
Jim McIlmurray wrote of characters
One such was "'Tommy Farr' of Portadown". I lived
in Victoria Street and "Tommy" would come marching
down, stop in the middle of the street and announce in the
loudest voice I have ever heard without a megaphone that he
was about to stage the next contest for the Heavyweight Championship
of the World. Once he had a big enough crowd (and those were
the days when you could assemble in the middle of the road
for a good half hour without interuption from a motor vehicle)
he would start. He was very shabbily dressed but he would
remove his coat with the greatest delicacy, fold it neatly
and place it in his "corner". Tommy was a one man
show being challenger, second, cuts man...the lot. And he
carried on animated conversations/chastisements with them.
He then boxed against the imaginary champion for three hectic
rounds in which he was repeatedly knocked to the floor in
the most flambuoyant way (to roars of laughter from kids and
adults alike) until, in the dramatic third round when all
seemed lost, he knocked the champion out with one crunching
uppercut and so brought the Winner's Belt back to Portadown
where it belonged. Tommy was no fool!! His show always finished
with a pass round of his, rather large, hat.
Phantom McAtasney - May '08
Hi all, seen the post from Laurine Mc Kenna, May '08, I too lived in Shankhill
, the 'Ramper, live in Spain now. I remember 'Wille John's' well, great memories.
Also his brother Jimmys, 'the Floral' up Shankhill 'backs.
Laurine, I was one of those going in with the latest suits, I was a 'Teddy Boy'
early teens then. The music from the Floral? Got it all on my hardisk, and listen
to it when I visit those 2 dance halls, great days and can still go back there
anytime. Alas as you shared, some of our friends are gone now to the Great Hop
in the sky, still jiving, God bless them .
Good to chat with you.
Laurine Mc Kenna - May '08
Love this site. I still live in Lurgan born and reared in Shankill.
I remember Willie Johns and the floral hall. I was just a
child but I remember watching all the people going in wearing
all the modern clothes of the day. Would love to hear from
people who met at the dance or who remembers those times.Would
ove to hear from old Shankill people sadly, lots are dead
and gone, God bless them. People whol oved the music from
the floral would love to hear from you
BEVERLY MCCANN - Dec '07
MY HUSBAND IS THE SON OF DOCTOR HUGH WRAY-MCCANN, WHOSE HOME AND OFFICE WERE
ON NEWCASTLE STREET.
MY HUSBAND OFTEN SPOKE OF THE YANKS IN KILKEEL. HIS OLDEST SISTER MARRIED ONE
FROM MICHIGAN AND STILL LIVES THERE.
THE REST OF HIS MANY BROTHERS AND SISTERS MOVED TO AUSTRALIA, CANADA, AND ENGLAND.
HE HAD A STROKE SEVERAL YEARS AGO AND CAN NO LONGER SPEAK, BUT REMEMBERS AND
I HAVE SHARED INFORMATION FROM THIS SITE WITH HIM. DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE WRAY-MCCANN
FAMILY DURING THOSE DAYS?
IT WOULD BE NICE TO HEAR FROM ANY YANKS, ESPECIALLY ANY WHO MAY HAVE USED THEIR
BATH TUB, BEFORE A BUILDING WAS CONVERTED TO A SHOWER FACILITY FOR THE TROOPS,
OR ANY, FROM THEIR HQ ACROSS THE STREET, WHO MAY HAVE PULLED THE CORD, THAT RAN
FROM THE MAIL SLOT TO A SHIP'S BELL, HUNG IN THE STAIR WELL, TO WAKE THE FAMILY
WHEN THEIR BROKEN ALARM CLOCK COULD NOT BE REPLACED.
HE HAD SO MANY FUNNY STORIES. HE WAS A TEENAGER AT THE TIME. I WILL TRY TO RECALL
SOME OF THEM AT A LATER DATE. MEANWHILE, IT WOULD HELP TO HEAR FROM OTHERS WHO
MIGHT HAVE SHARED EXPERIENCES WITH HIS FAMILY.
I WAS HAPPY TO FIND THIS SITE.
THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE SHARED.
Mike Kealey - Mar '07
My Grandfather W J and Grandmother Annie Wells lived in Blacks
Court. There was a hole in the wall that blocked the route
to the park. My Grandfather would say "I'll tell you
a story about Dan McCrory- a hole in the wall and that's all"
I was under 5 at the time and have never forgotten it!
John Foster - Sep '06
Left Lurgan in 1974 for N.Zealand, I have been back a few
times. I enjoyed the antics of Phil Lynch, I worked hard for
his wine. Brought back many pleasant memories people of different
religious groups bloody gret great humour and warm hearted
too. I had many great friends - Cucker Lavery and Peter Doran
stick in my mind. I hope to see old friends next year, John
Jim - February '05
Cannot praise this site enough, so helpful for schools and
colleges. Well done.
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