Directory of Belfast and Ulster 1905

Church Place Lurgan

Lurgan a linen and cambric manufacturing town in the north-east of County Armagh. It is situated twenty miles S.W. from the City of Belfast, on the line of the Great Northern Railway, and a mile and a half south from Lough Neagh. The population of Lurgan, according to the last census, was 11,782. The annual value of ratable property amounts, according to the last official valuation, to £26,782, and the township is annually increasing in ratable value. In the year 1831 the population of Lurgan was 3,760, and the rateable property was then £5,578. The municipal affairs of Lurgan are managed by an Urban Council, incorporated under the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898.

Fairs are held on the second Thursday of each month, and markets every Thursday. The market and fair are improving, and though the main central thoroughfare is very wide, it is taxed to its utmost. An unlimited supply of pure water is obtained from Lough Neagh, the intake being at Castor Bay, on the south-east of the lake. The new works were opened in 1894, and in point of modern perfection they are pronounced to be second to none in the United Kingdom. The water is extensively employed for domestic, sanitary, and manufacturing purposes.

Brownlow House and terrace grounds have been purchased by the Orangemen of Lurgan District, and the castle is now the most commodious Orange Hall in the world; while the Demesne (some 500 acres in extent) being in the hands of The Lurgan Real Property Company, increased building accommodation has been provided, and desirable improvements are being gradually effected.

Lurgan may be said to be the cradle of the Irish cambric industry, and to the success and skill of its inhabitants and those of the surrounding villages in the fine linen and damask manufacture, and in later years the handkerchief hemstitching and finishing business, is to be attributed the onward progress of the town, many individuals engaged in these industries having accumulated fortunes. Among the industrial centres in Lurgan are the extensive power-loom weaving factories of Mr. Jas. Malcolm, D.L.; the Lurgan Weaving Company, Ltd.; Messrs. Johnston, Allen, & Co., Ltd.; and the hand-loom manufacturing concerns of Messrs. Robt. Watson & Sons, J. Douglas & Son, Saml. A. Bell & Co.; Mathers & Bunting, John Ross & Co., James Clendinning & Sons, Ltd.; Richardson, Sons, & Owden; John S. Brown & Sons, Joseph Murphy & Co., and the hemstitching factories of the Lurgan Hemming and Veining Company, John Ross & Co., Faloon & Co., James B. Hanna, Robt. Watson & Sons, York Street Spinning Co., the Lurgan Weaving Company, Limited; Murphy & Stevenson, Mercer & Brown, James Clendinning & Sons, Johnston, Allen, & Co., Searight & Co., Mathers & Bunting, and T. Jordan & Son.

The banking companies represented in Lurgan are the Ulster, the Northern, and the Belfast, and the Northern and the Belfast have just completed the erection of very fine establishments in Market Street and High Street respectively.

The Church of Ireland, standing in the centre of the town, is a large and commodious Gothic structure, and has a fine peal of eight bells, in addition to an illuminated clock, which, from its commanding position, is visible from a long distance. An excellent Parochial Hall has been recently erected in Church Place, and there is also a handsome and spacious Church of Ireland Mission Hall and schoolhouse in John Street. There are, besides Lurgan College and the Model School, a large number of National Schools, two of these being in immediate connection with St. Peter's Church and St. Joseph's Convent. There are commodious houses of worship for Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Society of Friends, the Salvation Army and Plymouth Brethren. The Urban Council having adopted the provisions of the Technical Instruction Acts, a promising school has been opened in Union Street, under the direction of Mr. William J. Lark, Whit. Exhr. (principal), and a competent staff of six teachers. There are six class-rooms in the building. Technical Committee meets last Thursday in each month in the Committee Room of the school buildings – James Johnston, J.P., chairman; J. W. Pollock, secretary.

The Town Hall contains an Assembly Hall, with platform and footlights; the Council Chamber and Town Office are located on the top floor; and the basement is devoted to the Free Library, Newsroom, and Amusement Room, which are highly appreciated by the working men; but a very fine Free Library has been erected in a more central location by a £2,000 grant secured from Dr. Carnegie. The Mechanics' Institute is a handsome structure, situate at the corner of Market Street and Union Street, and adjoins the Town Hall. A new Masonic Hall has been opened in Windsor Avenue, the site of the former avenue to Lord Lurgan's castle. The petty sessions are held in the County Courthouse on the first and third Tuesday of every month. The quarter sessions for the northern portion of the County Armagh are also held in Lurgan.

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