Posters, pinafores and peace in Portaferry Square

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Where: N Ireland, Ards and North Down, UK

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When: Unknown

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"Caoimghin" who is one of our followers is a native of Portaferry and he requested that we visit his home town which we do today. Unusually for Ulster the towns space is called a "Square" rather than a Diamond and it looks like a significant piece of real estate. The group of children wearing pinafores and hats would seem to indicate that it is in high summer but what else can we learn about the town?

Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: Circa 1865 - 1914

NLI Ref: L_ROY_05810

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 4217
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio thelawrencephotographcollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland portaferry countydown ulster thesquare girlsinpinafores

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  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 21/Oct/2021 08:24:17

    The reverse view (at 10:49) is even more deserted, but with convenient posters - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000321732

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 21/Oct/2021 08:44:28

    There is a presumably/probably later photo of the Nugent Arms Hotel with different pale paint and signage and a 'Reliance' charabanc outside (photographer W. A. Green) - From - www.nmni.com/collections/history/photographs/green-collec... Large size - live-nmni-bespoke.cloud.contensis.com/ciim-media/341/461/...

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 21/Oct/2021 08:52:20

    The Square looks decidedly triangular to me ...

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    cargeofg

    • 21/Oct/2021 09:05:48

    Poster (see note) on left of pair at the double doors looks to have a ship on it. On the reverse view plate poster for Spring Show at Belfast (Balmoral) has other posters stuck on it. Can't make out any year dates.

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 21/Oct/2021 09:22:40

    Via Trove from 1911 - ENORMOUS POTATO. A potato grown on the farm of Mr. H. J. Gilmore, Priesttown, Portaferry, Ireland, has been found to weigh 5lb. 1oz. See - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/150781257

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 21/Oct/2021 09:24:55

    And in 1892, 10,000 pounds in gold found in a grave - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/174040599 You can try to take it with you!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 21/Oct/2021 10:38:06

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Left hand (whiter) poster looks like White Star Line? Looks like the right hand poster in this pair. The ship in that poster looks like the Teutonic, and the poster references 3rd class, so it is after 1889. I'd imagine after 1899 their posters would show the new, larger Oceanic...

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    cargeofg

    • 21/Oct/2021 11:28:38

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley That looks a good match on a number of counts even though it is all fuzzy shapes on megazoom. Whiter poster, curved arch shape of head line, side profile of ship with 2 funnels and wave/offset line of New York print.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 21/Oct/2021 11:32:46

    McAlpine does not appear in the 1880 or 1890 directories, is a Painter and Decorator in 1894, is gone again in 1901. See Lennon-Wylie pages. By 1901 census, RH McAlpine, house painter, is living in Belfast.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 21/Oct/2021 12:23:06

    In the street directories at PRONI, McAlpine appears in Portaferry in 1895, 6, 7 and 9. Not in 1892 or 1900.

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    caoimghin

    • 21/Oct/2021 13:25:54

    Many thanks for posting this! It seems to have stirred up some comment anyway. The town Square is not vastly different today. The reverse view mentioned earlier by 'beachcomber australia' shows the Market House which is in the middle of the Square and featured heavily in the 1798 rebellion. Incidentally, the bus service still stops in almost the same spot as the other photo mentioned above.

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    caoimghin

    • 21/Oct/2021 13:38:27

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia I hadn't heard the story of the gold found in a grave before! Certainly not one of my ancestors that's for sure.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 21/Oct/2021 15:18:29

    By the census of 1901, John A. Caughey is in place, as shown in the shot with the bus. On the building return form, we can see he is has 5 windows to the front, between a hotel and the post office, exactly where McAlpine was.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 21/Oct/2021 15:19:37

    McAlpines address was Portaferry in Feb 1894 for his wedding to Hester Gowan. Hester died in 1910, and was a widow. Robert died in 1909, address Holywood Road Belfast. Daughter Margeret was born in 1902, address Strandtown (presumably still Holywood Road) Son Hugh Charles Patrick in Dec 1898, address Portaferry. Aha! Daughter Ellen, 19 Nov 1900, address Belfast. So latest date is Nov 1900. Earliest, can't say from the McAlpine records, I don't know whether McAlpine was in Portaferry before his marriage to Portaferry girl Hester. So 1889 for the poster is it for now - 1889 to 1900.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 21/Oct/2021 15:56:43

    I see Post Office signs above the posters, and Irish Tweeds, Boot, Ready Mades, and straw hats in the shop McFadden to the right. In 1901 census, Robert McFadden is a Draper, and wife Annie is the postmistress. Mrs. McFadden is Postmistress and telegraph operator in 1890, too. In 1880 it was Eliza Press, postmistress ; Jane Anderson, telegraph mistress. No help. Miss Press was there in 1884, too.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 21/Oct/2021 16:23:22

    At right I see a shop sign for A. McWhinney. In 1901, Andrew and Isabella McWhinney are here, a flesher and seamstress, in a 4 window butcher shop. Address was Portaferry in 1894, birth of son Andrew. Also 1892, Square Portaferry, for wedding. And his father was Andrew McWhinney, a butcher. Most unhelpful.

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    suckindeesel

    • 21/Oct/2021 22:31:48

    Looks less expansive today, maybe it's all to do with focal length or just the amount of parked cars Google Earth Link earth.app.goo.gl/8SE34y #googleearth

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 22/Oct/2021 13:27:48

    In 1899 (7th November) the Nugent Arms was to be sold at public auction. The notice of the auction in the Northern Whig (4th November) says that "lately in the occupation of Mrs. Margaret Caughey, deceased, and her under-tenants" and that "the late Mrs. Caughoey up to her death carried on an extensive and lucrative Millinery and General Drapery Business on a portion of the Premises. Since the late Owner's death the entire premises have been well maintained, and are now in good repair. The larger tenement is at present let by yearly tenancy to Mr. David Lawson."

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    John Spooner

    • 22/Oct/2021 13:35:49

    It wasn't just food, drink and accommodation available at the Nugent Arms, so long as you were there on Fair Day North Down Herald and County Down Independent - Friday 06 August 1909(North Down Herald and County Down Independent - Friday 06 August 1909)

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    John Spooner

    • 22/Oct/2021 13:53:28

    Why Nugent Arms? In a report of the wedding of Miss Nugent, only daughter of the late John Nugent, Esq., J.P., Portaferry House, the Nugent family was described as "the proprietors of the town and a large tract of the surrounding country", so I assume it's from him or one of his ancestors that the hotel got its name. The description of the town on the wedding day:

    During the day, the Church bells rang out joyous peals, cannon were repeatedly fired, and in the flags flying from windows, housetops, and every elevated point, and the floral decorations on the houses, the town wore all the air of a great fete day. When night set in, Portaferry was brilliantly illuminated—the Nugent Arms Hotel being conspicuous over all the other buildings for the number and intensity of its lights. There was also a grand display of fireworks, and on the hills several tar-barrels and bonfires blazed, shedding their glare for miles around.
    (Downpatrick Recorder - Saturday 05 April 1862)

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    caoimghin

    • 24/Oct/2021 11:34:27

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner You are correct, the Nugent family, formerly the Savage family were the local landowners. They changed their name when they changed religion from Catholicism to Church of Ireland in order to hold on to their lands.

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    John Spooner

    • 24/Oct/2021 11:52:32

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/caoimghin] Thanks. I read that they'd changed their name, but didn't see an explanation. The Nugents were connected to the aristocratic Vesey family (several of whom were present at the 1862 wedding) as was Winifred Mandeville (below, whose father's 2nd wife was a Vesey). Miss Mandeville Regarding the newspaper account of the wedding day, Miss Nugent, even though it was her "special day", wasn't granted the courtesy of a mention of her forenames by the Downpatrick Recorder.