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16 October 2014
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Lurgan - some more characters

Jim Ward remembers

Main Street in Lurgan town

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Article by Jim Ward - April 04:

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 street.

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 around Lurgan.
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.

YOUR RESPONSES

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 UNDERSTANDS.
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.
BEVERLY MCCANN

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 Foster (coalman).

Jim - February '05
Cannot praise this site enough, so helpful for schools and colleges. Well done.

 

Share YOUR stories or memories of local characters by filling in the form at the bottom of the page.

Related link:
Read some quick facts about Lurgan

Lurgan Ancestry website:
http://www.lurganancestry.net

 

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