Saturday, 26 February 2011

Rosemount Football Club - Greyabbey

Another local publication recently on sale again by Denis Nash 'A Clutch of Memories'.

The booklet chronicles the life of one of the Ards Peninsula's greatest football team - Rosemount.

I played there for around 5 years, in the 1980's and have very fond memories of my time there. I and other players were treated as local celebrities, because we worn the famous Rosemount shirt - I forged lifelong friendships with many of the villagers and I still enjoy an occasional visit to the village from time to time.

Mrs A bought me the booklet for Christmas - it is on sale for £10.00 and well worth the money.

If you buy a copy, keep it for me and I will sign it for you!

Note the Hair - and no glasses!

My children had a good laugh at this photo!


Local Primary School Football Book

Mr Denis Nash, local historian and ex headmaster of Victoria Primary School, Newtownards, has recently complied a booklet 'The Goalden Years' - 50 years with the Newtownards and District Primary Schools Association.

It is a history of local primary school football from the early 1950 through to the present day.

Why am I blogging on this - well I make 2 x photo's from 1974 when I played for Victoria P.S p6 + p7 teams, here is one photo - see if you can pick me out, I am the innocent looking boy!
Sorry the picture quality is not great - but you can see most of the team.


Friday, 25 February 2011

Mini Ulster Scots Festival 2011 - 1

Try not to let the grass grow under your feet - well that is something we believe at Loughries Historical Society.

Amongst other bits 'n' pieces this year, we are planning another Mini Ulster Scots Festival in N'Ards - all being well in October 2011. This is a follow up event from our hugely successful Mini Festival back in October 2010.

Loughries feel that we have the right format - historical talk/lecture on Thursday evening, followed by a educational trip around the Ards Peninsula on Saturday morning, then the following Friday evening a musical night.

Planning is at an early stage, however the musical event has been semi organised, with the main attraction being 'The Broken String Band'

Keep looking in for further arrangements. Above is a snippet of what you can expect from the very talented Broken String Band.


Lambeg Drums - A Selection of Painted Shells

The history of the Lambeg Drum is a mixture of conjecture and some fact, the drum making process is full of mystery and secrets - but the painting on lambeg drum shells are real and very personal. A lot of thought and planning by the drum owner, goes in to each painting, which in turn makes them unique and interesting from a cultural + historical perspective.

In Ulster to assist with our storytelling, many forms of artwork are on display - murals for instance are painted on many gable walls - Orange, Apprentice Boys and Royal Black Institution Banners, however with the Lambeg Drumming tradition, the artwork/paintings are displayed on the front of the drum shell.

Each painting is unique and would fall into a number of categories - historical scenes, Biblical scenes, famous buildings or landmarks, memorial drums, famous people, drumming men/women, Orange history, etc.

Below is a randomly selected group of painted shells - depicting the more personal or family side of the drumming tradition, many have an interesting and special story to tell. I personally prefer these types of paintings, as many are relatively unknown Ulster folk, who have quietly through out the years, devoted their lives to various strands of our protestant traditions in Ulster.

Hope you enjoy this montage - more to come in the coming day's and weeks.


Poem - The Carrowdore Coal Man

Below is a poem kindly sent from the 'Bard of Ballyfrenis' - Darren Gibson.
Darren tells me - 'This was told to my mother by Hannah McCully, who although she was well into her eighties at the time, had a wealth of old songs and poems - which see could recite.
The Carrowdore Coal Man

I was born in Ballywalter
And reared in Drumfad
I went up ta Carrowdore
To see what could be had

I tried to get on the forces
And then the polluse force
And now I'm on a coal cart
Cryin ta a horse

Coal coal coal
I, that is what I cry
And if you want a bag or two
Just nod as I go bye

I'll bump them in your bunker
As neatly as I can
And if your wise, you'll patronise
The Carrowdore coal man!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Lambeg Drum - Trio In Line

The 'Twelfth' was held in Portavogie back in 2008 - a fantastic day out. Soon thereafter I came a cross this photo on Flickr -

I called the lady, Mrs. Gibson and ordered a copy on canvas - here it is.

The photo was taken as we walked over a mural, in front of the the famous Portavogie Harbour in glorious sunshine and in front of a huge crowd of supporters. Dean Rainey is playing the far drum, Stephen Gordon playing the drum in the middle, with myself nearest the camera, not planned I assure you!

All three drums were made by Denis Morrow.


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Back Deed

A few posts ago I posted a photo of the Front Deed - Wallaces Street N0 1, where I was born. Well here is the Back Deed - Wallaces Street No 2!

Both streets ran parallel to each other with Browns lane connecting the two -with Donaghadee Road and Movilla Street at each end of the streets.

This photo was taken early 1970's as the street was just about to be demolished. This was a famous area of Newtownards - which even had its own band, 'The Back Deed Band!

I remember as a youngster playing in the old houses and gardens, we had knocked a wall down in each house and were able to run from one end of the street to the other without going outside!

Delinquents us wee Anderson's!


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Greenwell Street - Christianity Explored - Time to Discover.

I have been attending the Christianity Explored course in recent weeks through Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, Newtownards.

A group of folk have come together to explore St. Marks Gospel, over a 10 week period - it has been enjoyable, rewarding, intriguing and self exploring.

I would highly recommend this course to everyone - interest you?


The Anderson's - Royal Black Institution RBP290

More Family History: Trawling through those tins and drawers you heard me mention before, I came across this photo.

My Dad Blakely, was Worshipful Master of Ards Chosen Few RBP 290, Newtownards, back in 1995, here is Gary (brother) - Blakely and Me in front of our Banner outside the Orange Hall.

This photo appeared in the Newtownards Chronicle back then, and someone commented, that it would have been a better photo if I had been smiling - my reply was that was me smiling!


Greenwell Street - Newtownards

Here is an old photograph of Greenwell Street, Newtownards in the late 1960's.

As you can just see, the street on the left hand side is in the process of being demolished - making way for a new development, this is where my Grandmother Prudence & Grandfather Johnny lived.

Prior to that, my Grandfather Johnny, was raised by his aunt - Aunt Jane, with his brother William - more on William later, he died during WW I - and was a dispatch rider at that time.

Notice the distinct lack of motor vehicles on the road either parked or being driven!

If you noticed Blakley's Glorious Traditions painting in a previous post, it was set here - but in colour, the parade passed Granny's house along the famous old street.


Monday, 21 February 2011


Thanks to all my visitors, my 'hits' are going through the roof in recent day's and weeks, I must be doing something right.

Keep your comments, e-mails and personal messages coming through - your words of encouragement are a great inspiration to me.

Plenty more in the pipeline to blog about.



Sunday, 20 February 2011

Twelfth - Holywood

This photo take back in 2003 - oh dear 8 years ago now, I have aged.

Nothing like the sound of the drum to get your heart racing -
'Whilst the lambeg drum beats Ulster will remain free'

Newtownards Chronicle

Found this advert in the Newtownards Chronicle from 1909. I photographed this entry then sent it off up to and old Ballyfrenis exile in Londonderry.

He tells me that he continued to get the Chronicle from the Beatties in Ballyfrenis until recently!

Thing don't change too much in Ballyfrenis!


Family History - The Front Deed - Newtownards

I was born here in this street ' Wallace's Street No1' or if you were a local Ards man 'The Front Deed, back in 1964.

This photo was taken just before the houses on the right were demolished - to make way for the now Movilla High School Playing Fields - progress eh!

The big house on the right just behind the car was our home, not that I recall it too much as we left when I was around 2 - 3 years old. There is a similar photograph of this street in the local book about Newtownards, the photo had a pram outside the house and yes, I was in the pram! -

I must get a copy of that book.

The Anderson's were raised here - all 7 of us, 6 boys and a girl - Joy was last to be born, hence the name. They were simple days, but a happy childhood nonetheless!


Londonderry Park Bowling Club Photo

For most of my life, my favoured sport was bowls - I was quite good, could have made it had I pushed myself - but I did OK in the end.

When I began my bowling life it was at Londonderry Park Bowling Club in Newtownards - here is the 'A' team that I played on at a mere 13 years old!

I went on to lift a number of prestigious trophies over the years - 6 British Isles Police Championships and a number of league and cup medals with Bangor Bowling Club, including an Irish Cup Medal.

That said, I enjoyed my time at L'Derry Park and may one day return. This photo was taken around 1977/8 most of the folk have passed away - including my Dad, Blakely and the dog skip!

My how time pushes on!


The Twelfth - 1928 - Sir John Lavery.

Most readers of my Blog will by now be aware that I am tracing my Family History. There is no connection to this painting and my family, other than, when I am searching for 'things' in boxes and tins, I turn up unexpected gems - here is one of them. This is a postcard I had tucked away since around 1990.

It is the famous Sir John Lavery painting of the 'Twelfth of July in Portadown 1928' The painting is alive - the atmosphere is just jumping off the page at you, wonderful vibrant colours - just terrific.

Folk like me, who are interested in the fife and lambeg drum tradition and the Orange Tradition, will enjoy this painting!


Saturday, 19 February 2011

Ulster Day

Another snippet from the Newtownards Chronicle archives - lets try this in 2012 to celebrate the Centenary of the 'Birth Certificate of Northern Ireland'


Markethouse - Newtownards

At the Town Hall Newtownards in January - at our Burns Supper, I came across this plaque in the hall way of the building.

The Town Hall (Market house) has witnessed many important and significant events in Newtownards history - here is another one to add to that list.

Note the date of his visit - perhaps helping to sow the seeds of Rebellion a few years later?


Friday, 18 February 2011

David Smyth

During my recent visit to the newspaper library in Belfast, I was searching for a family history story in the Newtownards Chronicle, however during that search I found an interesting article on a local Newtownards man, David MacConnell Smyth, Inventor - I felt it was worth a blog.


David MacConnell Smyth died at the home of his son, David G. Smyth at Hartford, Connecticut USA, on October 11th, 1907 of a stroke of apoplexy.

Mr Smyth was born in Newtownards, on July 3rd, 1833. When he was two years old his parents were removed to America and settled at Hartford Pennsylvania, then as unbroken wilderness, where his father followed his occupation as a blacksmith and wheelwright.

When about 16 years of age Mr. Smyth left home and went to New York - to seek his fortune, walking most of the way and reaching his great city absolutely penniless. He was fortunate to find a silver shilling and, later, a silver dollar on the ferry dock and with this as a happy omen, began to search for work. He secured work with Mr Stephenson the car builder as a helper. Mr Smyth gradually acquired the trade of a machinist and soon promoted to a foreman ship his remarkable ingenuity and skill being quickly recognised and when a mere boy, was put in charge of much of the most difficult work in the factory.

Mr Smyth genius for invention developed rapidly and before he was of age he had made a number of valuable inventions, his Father giving him his time so he could set up his business for himself and his remarkable versatility soon placed him in the foremost rank of American Inventors.

Mr. Smyth was a pioneer in the sewing machine art and secured a number of patents in this field, an intensely close observer of what came before him and his wonderful ability to see how things might be done mechanically, led him in many different directions. His was the first automatic machine for the manufacture of envelopes. His automatic clutch was probably the first mechanical device for instantly stopping machinery. A machine for making imitation lace from paper was noted for its remarkable ingenuity.

An exceedingly ingenious sewing machine feed whereby an unlimited number of intricate fancy stitches could be made with an ordinary sewing machine brought Mr. Smyth into associated with the shoe trade and a number of inventions rapidly followed each other in the field - a shoe pegging machine and a nail driving machine the forerunner of the present lasting machine being the most noted.

Early in life Mr. Smyth became associated with Thomas A. Edison in the development of electrical machinery. An electric motor was constructed undoubtedly the first of the kind for driving an ordinary sewing machine but the proposition failed because at that time it was necessary to use a cumbersome wet battery to supply the power. A beginning had however, been made and for the first time an ordinary machinery had been driven by an electrical current. The close friendship formed between these two remarkable men ended only at Mr. Smyth’s death.

In 1846 Mr. Smyth invented the first book sewing machine and a number of these machines were built under his patent. These machines were purchased by D. Appleton and Co. for their exclusive use and the invention was withdrawn from the market.

In 1879 Mr. Smyth perfected his curved needle book sewing machine and constructed a small wooden model to demonstrate his invention. He became associated with Mr. G. Wells Root of Hartford, Connecticut and between them they organised the Smyth Manufacturing Company of that City. From that insignificant wooden model which Mr. Root was always fond of saying "he could put it in his hat" grew and immense business, which has paid out many thousands of dollars in dividends. Soon thereafter Mr. Smyth set up his a business for himself and his remarkable versatility soon placed him in the foremost rank of American Inventors.
In 1891 Smyth removed to Pasadena California and built a beautiful home in the shadow of the mountains, intending there to spend his declining years. After the death of Mrs. Smith in 1897, Mr. Smyth divided his time spending his time in his summer home in New Hampshire and his winters in either California or the South.

During the Civil War Mr. Smyth enlisted in the Eight Regiment of New York Volunteers, serving through two enlistments. He was married on December 31st 1855 to Orianna Slote, of New York City, and on her death in 1897 published a touching memorial full of love and devotion.

Besides being an inventor, Mr. Smyth was a poet and artist. He published in 1901 a book of Poems “The hermit of the Saco” containing many lines of unusual merit and many of his paintings won for him many of the highest praises. He was a devoted lover of nature and never so happy as when he could roam through the woods fishing, or in search of wild flowers.

Mr. Smyth is survived by his 4 sons E. L. Smyth, and artist living in Chicago, J. E. Smyth engaged in the book binding machinery business, also of Chicago, Prof. David G. Smyth and George B. Smyth of Hartford Connecticut.

I read many stories of folk emigrating from these shores to find fame, fortune or just plainly seeking a better life for themselves - but what sort of Country would we be living in now, if many of these talented and successful folk had stayed at home!



Just in case you have not listened to Lorena - here is the melody, enjoy!



Just in case you have not listened to Shenandoah before - here is one interpretation of the classic tune / song.


Storytelling - Ragged Old Flag by Johnny Cash

Part of being a great entertainer, is the art of storytelling - well here is one such entertainer, not just a wonderful singer/songwriter, but a great 'yarn spinner'.

I like this story/tune/song for a few reason's:- the artwork/paintings, the story itself and two of the tunes in the background - Shenandoah and Lorena, two wonderful all American tunes.


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Emigrating to Canada

I visited the Newspaper Library this morning with Jack Greenald.

It was my first visit to this building - in order to continue my research into my family history - I have to say it very enjoyable and relaxing morning.

We searched through our relevant newspapers looking for items - apart from my main family research, I came across 2 interesting articles. One was simply this advertisement, which is self explanatory - the other I will blog about at a later date.

How many folk back in 1909, the year this advert appeared in the Newtownards Chronicle, were swayed by the allure of this dream - a fresh start and free land!


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Ards Borough Council - Ulster Scots Trips


Ards has been showcasing its Ulster Scots influences and history in a 'test tour' of a potential Ulster Scots Trail.

More than 20 tourism advisors from across Northern Ireland came to Ards last week to experience the 'Fair Fa'Ye tae the Airds' coach trip which included a talk from a native Ulster Scots speaker and a guided walking tour of Donaghadee, where characters along the route brought the town's history and association with Scots settlers to life.

The trip was organised and hosted by Ards Tourist Information Centre, one of only a handful of centres to be selected by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) to promote the best that an area has to offer for visitors and residents alike.

This was the second year in a row that the Newtownards Centre, which is owned and managed by Ards Borough Council, was successful in the NITB challenge.

"We were delighted not only to be chosen again as a showcase destination, but also to have the opportunity to test some of the elements which we hope to develop further into an Ulster Scots Trail," said Judith Francey, Tourist Information Centre Advisor. "The day was a great success and helped raise awareness, not just of our unique history, but of the attractions and beauty of the Ards in general. Our guests certainly enjoyed themselves and left much more knowledgeable about this area and its value as a tourism destination".

Anyone who would like more information about tourism in Ards should contact Ards Tourist Information Centre on 028 9182 6846.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Burns Night

Loughries Burns Night Supper took place as planned on Saturday 29th January at the Town Hall, Newtownards, with a full house of over 80 people, who had gathered to celebrate the life of the famous Bard.

Special guests for the evening were the Mayor of Ards Cllr Smyth and Mr. Jim Shannon MP for Strangford.

Catering for the evening was supplied by Mrs. Palmer and her team of staff, music from Risin Stour, Dancer Michelle Johnston, Piper Stephen Rodgers, with Haggis address by Wilbert Magill.

I have to say that Wilbert’s Address to the haggis was magnificent – pure theatre. I have been to may Burns Suppers and in my opinion he is simply the best I have seen!

During the evening we had a Charity ballot / collection with all monies raised going to our designated Charity in 2011 ‘Help the Heroes. – On the night we collected £310.00.

I have attached a few snaps for you to enjoy!


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Family History - Who Do You Think You Are?

Cousin Claire and I, are meeting up tonight to begin our search into the Anderson Family History.

I have quite a bit of information gathered - all on our living relatives, Claire has something similar - so we have decided to join forces and work together, to find out a little more.

I notice from the Newsletter today that the new PRONI offices will open soon - so let the journey begin and lets hope for a few juicy stories!


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Preview the new Christianity Explored trailer

Time for a change of direction.

I have been contemplating this for a while now, so I decided to enrol in this course, to see where it takes me. I have been given encouragement from a few of my closest friends - so lets see where this journey takes me!

he new Christianity Explored trailer