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Memories of Munster Simms
Memories of Munster Simms

My Memories of Munster Simms Fuel and Motor Spirit Company

Watson’s Lane Edenderry Portadown. By Kenny Liggett.

I went to work for Munster Simms sometime in 1962. I was a helper on a Road Tanker. The company had been there as long as I could remember, just at the head of the street where I lived, Florence Court.

The office was the end house of Watsons Lane, it had been converted into a reception office and a inner office. The canteen was at the rear, a small hallway led you through a door into the yard and a enclosed shed, where the storage tanks and three lorries were kept.

The inner office was used by Stanley Robb, who was known in those days, as a traveller for the company, he was responsible for getting trade and collecting accounts.

The man in charge of the day to day running of the depot, was Carson Haire from Ahorey Richhill. He was a tall and quiet man, very well liked by the staff and with all who knew him.

The drivers of the tankers were Israel McCready, Tommy Moffett and Dick Flannigan. The two helpers were Ronnie Forde and myself, Ronnie was Tommy’s helper and I was Dick’s. Israel did not have a helper, as he operated between the depot and the main Belfast depot, keeping the tanks replenished.

Isreal had no time to stand around, he went to Belfast twice a day and brought back either Red Diesel or “T.V.O.” tractor vaporising oil. We delivered Motor Spirit “ petrol” this was usually delivered to us by the main lorries from Belfast.

Once or twice a week the lorries were washed, usually this was the job of the helpers, but most times the drivers would give a hand, sometimes pointing out the parts we had missed!!

Isreal as every one knew had a slight speech impediment, he would call me Ka-enny and would tell me never get ma-harried, he was married twice “say no more” Well when he was washing his lorry, he would sing one of two songs, Patrick Maginty’s Goat, or Young Man Your Rather Too Small and his speech was perfect.

Tommy did not drive as quick as Isreal, but he was always back in the depot at closing time. He was the man that gave me my first driving instructions, from moving back and forward in the yard, to driving in and reversing out of the depot, it was not long until I was driving up and down the street and I never looked back.

Dick was the slowest driver in the yard and I was his helper, we were certain to be home last, one bonus was we always had overtime! My driving experience was put to the test one day in a yard in Backwater Town, a car was blocking our way to the tank. Dick sent me into the shop to get it moved. The shopkeeper told me to move it myself, as the keys were in it. I felt great, my first time at the wheel of a car, I had only moved lorries before. Out I went, straight behind the wheel of the Morris Minor. I started it up, put it into gear, gave it a rev; and let out the clutch, that was it, straight over the top of a bicycle.! It did not look too bad, so Dick and I put the chain back on it, pulled the handlebars back into their position. We told no one and we hoped no one had seen us.

The next morning the phone rang, I could hear Carson saying “ Oh we will get it sorted out” Then Carson asked the inevitable question “what had happened” so we told him the full story, he told us no one had seen, what had happened, but when the owner of the bicycle got on it to go home, it went down the street sideways!!

All was sorted out , the bicycle was replaced with a new one. I kept my job, but a few months later Dick and I arrived back at the depot to find a car blocking our way. I went into the office to get it moved, it was one of the bosses from Belfast, he said for me to move it for him. I headed for the door, a voice said, “Hold on, are you the boy, who moved the Morris Minor,” I replied “Yes” he said “I will move it myself”

Carson would tell the story about the helper, who worked there before my time, he was a big lad and fond of his grub, when his driver Dick was in the farmhouse sorting out the docket with the farmer, he would slip round to the henhouse and lift a couple of eggs, by the end of the day he would have a half dozen or so, to bring home to his mother. One day they returned to the depot for lunch, the lad had six eggs in his lunch box by this time, when they were out on another run that afternoon, Carson and the other men put his eggs on a slow boil for an hour or so , by the time the helper returned the eggs had cooled, so of he went home with the hard boiled eggs. The next morning when he arrived at work , he told how his mother had tried to crack the eggs into the frying pan and discovered they were hard boiled, she wanted to know what sort of hen laid them, it seems it was a few days before he discovered what had happened!!

They were good times and a good firm to work for. The depot was closed when they were bought over by an other oil company. Carson and the drivers were retained, but the helpers were paid off. I was the last one to work there, as I spent my last days clearing out the depot.

Good times, but the years wait for no man, life has continued on since then.

Photo courtesy of C. McClure

Memories of the Parochial Hall
Memories of the Parochial Hall

Memories Of The Parochial Hall.

The first memory I have of Edenderry Parochial Hall, is early 1949, when having met my future husband, we attended what was called a Social Evening, held for the Church Lads Brigade, their girl friends, or any one from Seagoe, that wanted to go. The music was played by the Cooper Brother’s on piano accordions, they were very good , full of fun themselves, they made sure every one enjoyed the evening, I can tell you there were no wall flowers, as every one had to be up on the floor, or they would want to know the reason why, when the time came to stop, all you could hear was , one more please, which of course they did! About four of these were held in a year, nothing nor no one would have been able to stop us from going, it was such fun.

I must mention one Social Evening in particular, we were playing musical knees (it was the same principle, as musical chairs) only the young men had to kneel on the floor on one leg, with the other one raised ,so that his partner could sit on his knee, when the music stopped, the last one seated was out of the game. It was very competitive, well Roy and I were in the last two pairs, we were made to spread out the full length of the hall, to make it more difficult, the music stopped, we raced like mad to reach each other, we did ,but in so doing we crashed, but we won. Two days later Roy was in hospital, his knee the size of two, water had formed from our collision, he had to have electric treatment. Winning that night cost Roy a week of work. Still we won!!

Then who would ever forget the C.L.B. concerts. The hall would have been filled to capacity. The talent from the members, was second to none, not one member ever refused to play the fool, as well some of the members were very good singers, Sammy Hall, followed by the Four Roney Brother’s in harmony. A few of the lads played their part, as comedians, which went down a storm. The audience was sorry, when the concert was over, and showed their enjoyment by making the lads take a few curtain calls. Money raised by the concerts, helped to fund the uniforms, yearly camp, etc.

The C.L.B. Inspection nights were held in the Hall, these were taken very seriously and for weeks the lads would put in extensive training. On one occasion the judges were two Army Captains from the army barracks in Armagh. In their remarks at the end of the evening, they were greatly impressed with the high standard of the drill squad, who with the help of their own officers, went on to win Battalion and Regimental Trophies. The P.T, class was very good as well, every member taking part. The evening would end with the Gym Team, putting on a fabulous display. (This same team were invited to many different towns to perform)

To end the Inspection the trophies would be awarded. This was for the efforts over the year, for attendance to Brigade, Church, supporting Brigade functions over the year, etc, etc, for which marks would be awarded. The winners from the juniors up, received their trophies, presented by a visiting Regimental Commander. This was a great honour, one to be proud of.

As a young girl of sixteen, I was invited by Roy’s cousin Uzziah McCrory to come over to the Hall on Tuesday night (as I lived in Gilford) for a game of Badminton, as he was trying to get Roy interested in the game. I went and enjoyed it so much, I was a member until my early sixties!! We had great nights there, met people from all around Mid Ulster, made many friend for life, off the court that was!!

One of our Curates was Mr. John McCarthy, very popular, loved by every one, was an all round sports man, which meant he was deeply involved with the youth of the parish. Played hockey for Banbridge, football for the C.L.B., Tennis as well, was even champion marble player, you name a sport and he could play it, well you have guessed brilliant at Badminton. I was very honoured to be his partner and one year we were chosen, as part of the team, to represent Mid Ulster.

The Hall was used for Jumble Sales as they were then called, cakes sales, even Beetle Drives to raise funds. This was the Social side of the Hall, it was used so much for the simple reason it was in Edenderry, where a lot of Seagoe Parishioners lived.

It was also a Church Hall, used for the work of God. The Christian Endeavour had Monday night. Church Services were also held ,I can remember the Harvest Services, when the Hall was decorated with flowers, fruit, vegetables and bales of hay.

Sunday School was first for the tiny tots at 2pm, when the children would sit on the forms, singing hymns, choruses with hand actions. Mrs. Kirkpatrick played on the piano, then different teachers would take it in turns to tell a simple Gospel Story, that would hold the children’s attention.

This was followed by at least six classes, seated in circles on the ground floor and a senior Bible Class up the stairs, at the back of the hall. Mr. David Allen was Superintendent, he made sure every thing ran smoothly. To all of us he was a true Christian. An example to us all. It was through David, that my sister-in-law to be, Grace Roney and I became Sunday School teachers, as we had helped with the Tiny Tots.

I did try to teach my class, the standards I had been taught to live by. Two young lads come to mind, Bill Richards, he was so intelligent for his age, I just did not know, what the next question would be, that he would ask me and question me he did!! I do hope I was some help with the answers I gave. Later in life he was to become a teacher in Armagh Royal. The other young lad was Cardwell McClure, I will give you a clue, (Edenderry Historical Society. The Wade’s Project) it is only the people, that know him could tell, if the seeds I had sown, had bore fruit!!. Suffice is to say, that when Mr. David Allen had closed the Sunday School with a prayer and a blessing, that when I opened my eyes, Cardwell’s chair was empty!!

These are a few photographs taken of the teachers and pupils at the side of the Hall. With my little Brownie Box Camera, that my future Mother-in-Law had bought me. A great present then.

By Ellen Roney

Photo courtesy of Ellen Roney


Memories of Nurse Woods
Memories of Nurse Woods

Nurse Woods.

Born 17th March 1902 in Ballynargin Coagh Co.Tryone, she had two sister’s and a brother. Her parents were farmers. She had no interest in farming and worked for a short period in an office in Cookstown. However she always had a desire to become a nurse, so she left home and travelled to Lurgan and began her nursing career in Lurgan Hospital. She worked hard and diligently at her profession, obtained her qualifications of S.R.N.S.C.M.and attained the position of Hospital Sister.

It was while working in Lurgan , that she was to meet her future husband, a Mr. Fred Woods, a member of a well known Edenderry business family. He had a very serious accident on a motorcycle and it was while nursing him that they became attracted to each other. Eventually they were married in 3rd Cookstown Presbyterian Church on the 19th May 1931. Their best man was Mr. William McClements an Edenderry Monumental Sculptor. The Bride’s Maid was Mary Wilson Nurse Wood’s Sister.

They set up home originally in 13 Carrickblacker Avenue and eventually moved to 68 Bridge Street. When ever Nurse Woods and her husband settled in Portadown, she decided to become a District Midwife and she carried on her profession for approximately 40years, delivering thousands of babies during that time. All her work prior to the birth, was done at her own home, at number 68. Nurse Woods was well known through out the town in her Navy Uniform, with her bag on the back of her bicycle. Sometimes travelling over five miles twice a day to see some patients.

With more heavy and modern equipment, having to be used, the bicycle was no longer suitable, so she had to buy a car (Ford Prefect) Problem! She could not drive. A well-known taxi driver from James Street, Mr. Ned McClatchey took on the difficult task of Driving Instructor. No test was required, she eventually got on the road.

Nurse Woods enjoyed her work and made many friends from both communities. She retired in 1970 and received in recognition of her service, a Silver Salver from The General Practitioners of Portadown.

Nurse Woods moved from Edenderry on retirement to Hobson Park, where she nursed her husband Fred for 12 years, at home, after he had taken a stroke. Nurse Woods passed away peacefully on the 12th November 1987.

By Fred Woods.

Photo courtesy of Mr Fred Woods


Memories of a Blacksmith & Wheel- Barrow Makers
Memories of a Blacksmith & Wheel- Barrow Makers

The old Edenderry Blacksmith and wheel-barrow makers, brought the memories flooding back to Fred Woods, whose father, uncle and grandfather, ran one of the businesses.

So much so that Fred hunted out an old photograph of the wheel-barrow makers.

The picture shows, left to right, his uncle Billy, Frank Magowan, a neighbour, his father Fred, the young Fred on the little tricycle and his Grandfather, also William Woods.

Said Fred, “They used to turn out wheels for wheel-barrows and for carts by the dozen- it was a real skill.” He remembers too, that the iron rims for the wheels were made by the blacksmiths in the same building- Joe and Tommy Ward.


The rims were made to fit after being made red-hot in the blacksmith’s fire and placed over the wooden wheels by the use of tongs. “The rims were then cooled quickly by pouring water on them,” said Fred ,“They contracted and burned into the wood and gripped really tight- it was a superb job.”

In later days, Fred remembers, that the rims were welded by Portadown Foundry across the road in Edenderry, before they were placed on the wheels. Up until then the blacksmith had sealed the piece of iron into a circle.

A large circular anvil was used in the process and it sat out in the yard, while the Woods family plied their skilful trade.


But, of course, the wooden wheel- barrow was superseded by the mass-produced aluminium types and then by plastic. The horse and cart disappeared from the roads.

“I will never forget those happy days,” said Fred. “People came from miles around to see the blacksmiths and the wheel-makes, at work. It was a real trade, including the wooden wheels, which were formed from tree trunks and the centre supports and spokes were added”

There were as many as 60 or 70 barrows waiting for collection at any time, such was the popularity of the Woods products.

By Fred Woods.

Photo courtesy Portadown Times

Florence Court
Florence Court

Memories of George Weir growing up in Florence Court

He said it was a great place to live & the best neighbours anyone could hope to have. If any neighbour was in trouble the Street would rally round
He remembers the late Mr Don Stevenson of Stevenson & Cumming Estate Agents coming to collect the rent. His collection was always on a Saturday morning & as soon as he turned the corner at the top of the street every door was closed until he left. In those days money was scarce therefore the payment of rent was not a priority.
The Street was affectionately known by the residents as the BACK STREET & Tam John Liggett always referred to it as the BOULAVARDE.
During the summer holidays most of the boys would spend their time at the River Bann at a spot called the S. We played at the S from morning till dark & swam a lot.
Some sad times were experienced i.e. when young George McCann was killed in action in the Second World War & Jim Hunter was lost at sea. He served with the Royal Navy & was a stoker on the minesweepers.
During the War years 42/43 he & the late Jackie Hamilton worked in Hamilton Robb’s Linen factory. The only night they had off was a Saturday night & most of the children of the area went to the cinema on that night. He remembers his weekly pay being £1 10 shillings & 5d.
His father worked for the Army as a tailor during the Second World War & was away from home most of the time & Teenie Roney volunteered to look after him. He was treated like a son & he thought the World of her. She made the best soup in Portadown & it was that good she made for more than half of the residents.
Anna Black traded as a grocery/confectionery shop at no.10 after her mother died. During the War years when things were difficult to obtain Anna always managed to stock the shop. She sold it & emigrated to Canada, married & died in that country. She was badly missed & is always remembered with affection by the ex-residents.
Sadly Florence Court was demolished in the 60/70’s but he still has fond memories.

Memories of Lewis Roney
Memories of Lewis Roney

Memories of Lewis Roney
He was born on 29/7/28 & lived at 15 Florence Court next door to the Weirs. His father was Hugh Roney & his mother was Lily Roney nee Best. His grandfather & grandmother lived at 16 Watson Street. His family moved to Watson Street when he was 10 years of age.
His father was captured by the Germans at the beginning of the Great War & was forced to work in their mines from 1914-1918. His mother received no news of him whilst in captivity & assumed him dead. She had his picture framed & there was a piece inscribed at the bottom of it in his memory.
She was overjoyed when he returned home at the end of the Great War unannounced. He was very asthmatic for the rest of his life due to the atrocious conditions in the mines.
His father Hugh had two other brothers & one sister. Jimmy who was a foreman fitter in Hamilton Robbs& Sammy who was a moulder in the Foundry. His sister Maria worked in Spence Brysons & she married Ephraim Best who was Lewis’s mother’s brother.
He remembers people of the area saying that the houses built in Watson Street & Lane & Florence Court were for the Armstrong Linen factory workers.
Watson Street was a hive of activity in the 40’s,50’s & 60’s with workers going to & from the factory & the Railway Station. During those years the factory was involved in Ordnance, Munitions & finally Wades from 1946 to 1996 when it closed. A large section of the factory has been demolished & the remainder of the building is deteriorating rapidly.
The small houses & the larger one from Moffett’s photography shop now Indian Restaurant to the beginning of the old Wade factory have been demolished & replaced with the extension to the Presbyterian Church. The Railway station was demolished around 1970 as was the Station Master’s house, Rockeden House, the Mill & Gantry .A number of small houses from Joe Weir’s shop were demolished in 2005 due to pressure from Edenderry Residents Group.
The remaining houses in the Street were refurbished in the 80’s.
He remembers Rocke’s café being a very busy place. It was run by the two Rock sisters,Gina & Agnes. They had two brothers Alex & Denis who worked for the railway. Alex owned two cows & he grazed them in a field at the back of the shop & also on a piece of land to the side of the Railway station.The hay for the cows was kept in a byre at the back of the shop. Gina had a son called Bertie & he lived in the end house attached to Rockeden.The Downey's lived in the middle one & the sisters & brothers lived over the shop.
Tea was provided in abundance for the Army who were billeted in the factory during the war. Paris buns were sold at one penny each in old money.
He remembers starting work in Hamilton Robbs Linen Factory at the age 14 in 1942. He took the empty bobbins off the looms as a boy. He then moved to the Dressing shop & served 5 years in yarn dressing. There where 8 machines in the Dressing Shop & Sam Waters was the foreman. He worked alongside Billy McIlroy, Billy Palmer, Davy McCann.Joe Joyce ,Jim Lamb, Davy Lamb& his brother Hugh. The manager was Howard Hawthorne.
In 1942 at least400-500 people worked in the factory. The various classes of workers were Warp Winders(all women they were under the supervision of the Foreman Willie John Holland), Warpers, Welft Winders, Drawers Ins, Weavers , Fitters & Tenters. The clothes worn by him were dungarees & a shirt as it was very warm in the Dressing Shop. Conditions generally in the factory were good.
The coal for the factory was brought in on lorries although older employees used to talk about it being brought in by lighters ( type of barge boat ) They were moored at the side of the factory running down to the River Bann.
He remembers Davy Lamb retiring at 72 years of age & telling Lewis to look after the machine as he would be back to work it but never returned. He worked beside Davy’s son Jimmy for next 20 years until the factory closed in 1968 or thereabouts.
It was a sad day when the factory closed & although he worked in other places before his retirement Hamilton Robbs was always his first love.

Memories of growing up in James Street in 40's/50's
Memories of growing up in James Street in 40's/50's

James Street. 1940-1950.

Most of the people in the street, were very friendly, especially the Lester’s, McCann’s, Watson’s, Greenway’s, Rainey’s, Tedford’s, Gracey’s, Robinson’s, Milligan’s, Conner’s,

King‘s, Mc Clatchey’s, and the Hall Family.

We had a singer in the street, Samuel Hall, who sang at the Saturday night dancing in Carleton Street Orange Hall.

When we were young lads, Alan Robinson, John, his brother, Ronnie Lyttle, their cousin, Freddie King and I ,would stand outside Samuel’s parlour window and listen to him singing. He was a great Dean Martin fan, after he married, he went to live in Killicomaine. Then tragedy struck ,he was killed at his work in Moy Park,he was standing in for another man, when the boiler blew up.

I will never forget ,when John and Alan Robinson and myself, built a snow-man outside Ned Mc Clatchey’s back door, Ned could not get out to his Taxie which was kept in the gateway, beside his house, so he had to dig his way out with a spade!!

Alan Robinson dug a hole in the wall of his back yard so that some of the hen’s from Hoy’s farm could come in and lay a few eggs.!

I still remember, when Annie Foots came out to throw a jug of water over us, because we were carrying on at her front door, the jug broke and she was left with only the handle in her hand!!

Elizabeth and Jimmy Watson came home from England, for two week’s holiday in the early fifties, at that time Jas Magee the fishmonger came around the street, once a fortnight, when the people would come out with their white plates, to buy fish or herrings. Jimmy came out with his white plate and bought two herring’s. He put the pan on and fried them, he left them on his plate to bring something in from the back yard, he was just in time to see Annie Robinson’s dog running out with one of his herring’s in it’s mouth. He went down to tell Annie about it, but when he was walking back to his house, he met the dog coming with the other herring.!!

Every July doors and window’s were painted for The Twelth. Albert Greenaway painted our’s as well as a few other’s.

Mr Cartmill, his son Roy and Samuel Hall put up the bunting right the length of the street.

Billy Ford was the first house in the street to have a Television Set. He would let us all watch the programs, sometimes it was like the cinema.

Billy Mc Cann from our street, sometimes took part in the boxing held in the Town Hall.

There were two men in our street, who were war hero’s, they were awarded the Military Medal their names were Albert Lyttle and my grandfather John Sharpe.

In the late 50’s and 60’s, most of the residents started to move out to the new house’s in Killicomaine, Seagoe Park,and Brownstown. To us the street was never the same.

Today the street still stands with every house occupied.

Jim is fourth on right standing in photo.

James Ellis.



Last 5 Additions

Book sales
Book sales

Hi All can I please remind everyone that the gasworks book and the Wades book are still for sale if you want it posted it’s £5 U.K. and £15 out of the U.K. The book prices are as follows

Gasworks book £10 plus postage
Wades book £5 plus postage.

Books can be picked up locally if arranged with the Secretary Robert on 07846782466 or matchey@icloud.com.

If I’m not able to answer please leave a message and I will get back to you ASAP.
A little known fact
A little known fact

Portadown’ s water supply used to be pumped direct from the River Bann with it so steam pump where the Regal cinema/ entertainment centre is now.
The old Town Hall
The old Town Hall

Who remembers the old Town Hall?
Deliveries in the early 1900’s
Deliveries in the early 1900’s

An old photo showing deliveries to Brankins Pub around the 1900.
The gentleman standing in centre of gateway is believed to be Thomas Brankin, The gentleman on extreme left of photo is believed to be Eamonn''s great grandfather Thomas Brankin.

The photograph was taken about 1900, Brankins Bar then would have been considered to be on the edge of town, nowadays the site would be considered as the centre of The Tunnel. Obins Street.

Brankin''s used to board people and stable horses in the buildings at the rear of the Pub.
The old signal coming into Portadown north side.
The old signal coming into Portadown north side.

The old signal coming into Portadown north side.

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