An Historical Account of Lurgan in 1888|
by George Henry Bassett
Brownlow House and Demesne, Lurgan Estate and Lough Neagh Navigation System
Brownlow House, the residence of Lord Lurgan, is beautifully situated within a few minutes walk from the centre of the town. It is in the Elizabethan style of architecture, and was built in 1836 by the Right Hon. Charles Brownlow. It was called Lurgan House until Mr. Brownlow was raised to peerage. Freestone, imported from Scotland, was used in construction. Part of the mansion which existed previous to 1836, and was at that time joined to the new edifice, still continues in habitable condition. The Demesne consists of about 350 acres, including an artificial lake of 53 acres. In this there are trout, tench and bream. The feeding sources of the lake are rivulets from the County Down. Part of the overflow helps to flush the town sewers, and the other part turns the corn mill of Mr. Robert McClimond, in North Street. The demesne is splendidly planted. It is open to the public every day, and serves the purposes of a park without any cost to the ratepayers. Lord Lurgan has offered to sell his estate to the tenants, under the provisions of the Ashbourne Land Purchase Act, on the following terms :- For lands in the Electoral Division of Lurgan, 18½ years’ purchase; for holdings in the Electoral Division of the Moyntaghs, 16½ years’ purchase; and for the remainder of the estate (excluding town of Lurgan, building ground, &c.), 18½ years’ purchase. Lord Lurgan has done a great deal to stimulate building operations in the town by giving long leases. Many handsome villas have been erected along the road leading to Lough Neagh, owing to this liberal policy. There is a side-walk all the way from the town, and on the edge of the lough there are seats. The side-walk was constructed by the county over three years ago. A cut from Lough Neagh, at Kinnego, is nearly 300 yards in length. It was made about the year 1863. In winter it has a depth of from 12 to 15 feet of water, and in summer from 7 to 8 feet. Lighters from 60 to 100 tons burden, come in here with coal. Mr. William John Green owns 4 vessels of this class. The captains, as a rule, live on board with their families. After paying all expenses Mr. Green divides the net profits with them. The lighters are towed from Ellis’s Cut, the Lagan Canal connection with Lough Neagh, at a fixed rate of 6s. each, with cargo, and 3s. light. The toll on vessels from Belfast to Kinnego, is 9d. per ton cargo; nothing on register. Coal and grain are the principal freights.
Kinnego Bay is good for pollen, and is “worked” by a few fishermen. Duck and Widgeon shooting is to be had in the vicinity. There is no hindrance to either shooting or fishing. At one time Lough Neagh was very much frequented by invalids. Its waters were regarded as a “sure cure” for scrofulous affections and rheumatism. The treatment consisted of bathing and drinking. In summer pleasure boats are numerous on the lough. Four belongs to the Lurgan Boat Club, which also owns 4 practice gigs, 2 “fours” and 2 “pairs.” The club was established in 1877, and has a good boat-house at Kinnego. About 30 members pay 10s. a year each. Mr. James H. Clendinning is secretary, and Mr. Patrick McGeown, treasurer. The funds show a balance to credit.
Rifle shooting is an amusement engaged in by about thirty of the residents. The Lurgan Rifle Association was established in 1886. Members pay an entrance fee of 10s. and an annual subscription of 10s. each. Mr. George Greer, J.P., chairman of the association, gives free ground for a range at Woodville. Mr. James Johnston is vice-chairman, Mr. Thomas Watson, secretary, and Mr. Thomas Faloon, treasurer. Committee meetings are held at the Mechanics’ Institute, and the practice days are Wednesday and Saturday. A team tried conclusions with the Carrickfergus Club in 1887, and won by one point. Mr. James Johnston, in 1886, presented a Challenge Silver Cup, to be won three times in succession by one member, 200, 500, and 600 yards. It weighs 40 ozs. Mr. Thomas Watson gave a Challenge Shield. The Martini-Henry is the rifle used by the members. The four highest scores in 1888, at 200, 500, and 600 yards were made by Messrs. James Gorman, Thomas Faloon, Patrick McGeown, and George Fleming.
Church of Ireland, Bells, Clock, Shankill Buildings and the YMCA
Lurgan has one of the finest Protestant Episcopal churches in the County Armagh. It is situated in the middle of Church Place, and its graceful freestone spire is identified in the view of the town for miles around. The style of architecture is decorated Gothic, and the chief material in construction black stone, with freestone dressings. Ornamental iron railings inclose a tastefully laid out space, encircling the edifice. The interior of the church, as a whole, is in keeping with the exterior. Three arches, supported on freestone pillars at each side, divide the nave from the aisles. There are three galleries, one in each of the aisles, and one over the principal entrance, used for the choir, and for the organ, an excellent instrument, presented by Mr. James Malcolm in 1863. The seatings are in pitch-pine, and have a capacity for a congregation of from 800 to 900. Some fine memorial windows, in stained glass, help to embellish the chancel. One, on the south side, representing Faith, Hope and Charity, was erected as a tribute of affection from his son Charles, 2nd Baron, in 1853, to Charles 1st baron Lurgan, who died in April, 1847, ages 52. The principal window, by Meyer, of Munich, consisting of three lights, was presented by the late Mr. Francis Watson, of Lake View, in 1873. The largest light, 28 feet high, has full length figures of the Apostles Mark and Luke, and the others, 22 feet each, of Matthew and John. Tablets in the vestibule indicate that the church was built in 1725, and rebuilt in 1863. Bequests are also noted in the same place, as follows: – 1763, William Lee, interest of £100 for the poor; 1794, Joseph McVeagh, interest of £300 for decayed housekeepers; 1821, Jacob McCann, interest of £350 for the poor; 1843, Thomas English, interest of £200 and £100 each to the rector and Presbyterian Minister, to be distributed among the poor of the parish annually. The painting and decoration of the church, a noticeable feature, were done at the expense of Mr. George Greer, J.P., Woodville. An object of curious interest is the baptismal font, bearing date 1684, used in the first house of worship erected by the settlers. The re-building of the Church, etc., cost over £8,000. Very Rev. Theophilus Campbell, Dean of Dromore, is rector, and the curates are Rev. Robert Forde and Rev. Jos. S. Carolin. Eight bells, by John Taylor & Co., Loughborough were put up in the tower, 1877, and a splendid 4-dial clock, by Gillett and Bland, Croydon, in 1878. The amount spent on both, £1,500, was raised by public subscription, through the instrumentality of Mr. James Ussher, solicitor. The clock is lighted by the Town Commissioners, and is a great convenience to the community. One of the bells was paid for by the ladies, and another by the children of the parish, numbering thousands. The largest individual subscription was given by the late Mr. William Watson, of New York, £200. All but four of the subscribers were residents of the parish. As a result of the purchase of the bells, the Lurgan Society of Change Ringers was organized in 1878. It has eight members, and is conducted by Mr. William Neill. The Shankill Buildings, Coffee Palace, opposite the church cost £1,500. Mr Ussher took the initiative in raising this money also, and the rent paid by the tenant, Mr. James Dickson, goes to the Parish Fund.
The Lurgan Young Men’s Christian Association, a branch of the Y.M.C.A., of London and the world, was established about two years ago. It has 58 members, who pay an annual subscription of 2s. 6d. each. A 7 years’ lease was taken of a new house in Union Street this year, 1888. Mr. William Mahaffy is President, and Mr. Hugh Ross, and Mr. George Parke, secretaries.
In the Church of Ireland Young Men’s Society there are 100 members. Mr James Malcolm, D.L., is president, Mr. Hugh Livingston and Mr. Charles W. Neill, secretaries, and Mr. Robert Mathers, J.P., treasurer. It has a debating class, the members of which pay 1s. each per session. An extra charge of 4s. a quarter is made for the use of the reading-room. The Society was established about twenty years ago.
A branch of the girls’ Friendly Society was established in October, 1887. At the first meeting, on the 11th of the following month, over 200 girls presented themselves for membership. This number was increased to 360. Weekly meetings are held, at which instruction is given in reading, writing, spelling, and plain and fancy needlework. One meeting in the month is devoted to Bible teaching, music, and readings. The Dean of Dromore, Very Rev. T. Campbell, is president.
Presbyterian Churches, Millar Monument, Quaker Meeting House, Methodist and Roman Catholic Churches
THE first Presbyterian Church, situated in High Street, is a structure of considerable dignity, with a handsome portico. The interior is spacious, and tastefully appointed. There are three galleries, supported on fluted pillars with Ionic capitals. It is about 200 years since the congregation was formed. The Meeting House originally was at the opposite side of the same street, further down. The present church was opened in 1827. About 300 families belong to it. The Rev. Hamilton Dobbin was minister until 1844. He was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Millar, who was killed in the Trent Valley Railway accident, 1858, in the 39th year of his age. A monument facing the Court House, corner of William Street and Charles Street, was erected by “a grateful public, sensible of their deep obligation and desirous to perpetuate the memory of a good citizen, an affectionate friend, and a faithful minister of the gospel.” The Rev. Mr. Millar’s successor was the Rev. L. E. Berkeley, first convener of the Sustentation Fund in connection with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He died in 1878, and his remains are interred in the cemetery at the back of the Church. Rev. Thomas McAfee Hamill is the present minister. At the corner of Hill and James’ Streets there is another Presbyterian church. It is in the Gothic style of architecture, and dates from 1862. The chief material used in construction is black stone with freestone corners. The interior is large and tastefully fitted throughout. Rev. J. G. Clarke, now of Athy, Co. Kildare, was in charge of the congregation at the time the church was built. There is a handsome manse situated in the outskirts of the town, toward Portadown.
Methodism in Lurgan dates from the period of John Wesley, 1767. It is recorded that he was entertained here by Mr. Miller, father of Joseph Miller, M.D., a man of great inventive genius. At that time he had completed a mechanism in the form of a man, which repeated several sentences in a full and distinct voice. It called the hour, “Past twelve o’clock. O how the time runs on!” to the admiration of Mr. Wesley. The secret of construction died with Mr. Miller. The Methodist Church, situated in High Street, was erected in 1826, and completely re-modeled in 1888, at a cost of about £800. The interior is fitted and wainscoted, for the most part, in pitch pine. One of the improvements was the raising of the ceiling two feet. There are three galleries. Two interesting mural tablets commemorate Rev John Armstrong, 60 years in the ministry, born 1788, died 1875, and John Johnston, who was distinguished for “deep and long tried love of the cause.” Died 1834. The site of the church was purchased from Mr. George Chapman. Rev. Thos. Pearson and Rev. E. Decourcey are the present ministers. A second church, belonging to the Methodists, is situated in Queen Street. It was built in 1856 by the Primitive Wesleyans, and continued in use by them until the Union. Rev. William Maguire is the present minister.
In Union Street a small Baptist congregation has worshipped for about eight years in a hall owned by Mr. Charles Baird. It was remodelled and enlarged this year, 1888. Rev. F. J. Ryan is the minister. The Friends have a Meeting House off High Street. It occupies a secluded place, and is a plain building. The date is 1696. Repairs were made in 1839. About 100 members constitute the society here.
The Christians, once known as Plymouth Brethren, have had a hall in Union Street for about 10 years. A temple was erected in Union Street about four years ago, by the Salvation Army.
Previous to 1800 the Roman Catholics had no place to worship in Lurgan. Mass was celebrated in a shed in the townland of Tannaghmore, North, about a mile from town. Mr. Brownlow in the year named gave an old mill at “the Dougher,” outside the boundary, and it as remodeled to suit the purposes of a chapel. In 1829, Charles, 1st Baron Lurgan, give a site in North Street, upon which a handsome church was erected, and dedicated in 1833 by the most Rev. Dr. Blake, Bishop of Dromore, and enlarged in 1885 so as to give seating accommodation for 2,500 worshippers. It is a cruciform edifice of black stone with granite dressings. There are three galleries. A mural tablet commemorates the Very Rev. Wm. O’Brien, D.D., P.P., builder of the church. He died in 1870, aged 74. A fine stained window in the chancel has, among other figures, one of the Apostle Peter, patron saint of the church. The parish priest at present is Rev. Arthur J. Finnigan, and the curates Rev. M. B. McConville, and Rev. P. P. Campbell. St. Joseph’s Convent, Sisters of Mercy, situated in Edward Street, was founded about 22 years ago. It has schools under the National Board of Education for girls, infants (boys and girls), for ladies, and an industrial school, opened in 1888, and certified for 50 females. The buildings are large, and occupy part of four acres, most of which is embraced in a beautifully laid out garden at the rere. Mrs. O’Hagan is superioress.
St. Vincent’s Patronage, under the management of priests and brothers of St. Vincent de Paul, was established in October, 1882, at the request of the Rev. James McKenna, P.P. The premises occupied, include a large house, three storeys and basement, in Church Place, and about 6 acres of land. Library, reading, recreation and billiard rooms for the young men of the town, free night schools for the working classes, and a day school for boys, in which the charge is £1 a year each, are the principal features of the Patronage. Those who use the library and reading, and billiard room pay 5s. a year. It cost nearly £4,100 to found the institution. Of this £3,000 was subscribed by the Congregation in France, and the remainder in the United Kingdom. Very Rev. Emile Piché is superior, and Rev. D. F. Desmond, Director.
Colleges, Music and Drama, Sports Facilities and the Masonic Lodges
Lurgan College is beautifully situated in extensive grounds off the Lough Road. It was founded under the will of the late Samuel Watts, dated August 3rd, 1847. He devised to trustees all his property, subject to an annuity of £300 to his widow, to erect and support an English classical and agricultural school for the education of boys resident within half a mile of the town, with a special proviso that none of the trustees or governors, or masters shall be in Holy Orders. Mr. Watts died in 1850, and his widow is now also deceased. The property was sold, and the money invested until the interest reached £4,000. The college was built in 1873, on 2 acres 2 roods of land, leased by Lord Lurgan for 1,000 years at £20 a year. The Governors are William, Baron Lurgan, Messrs. James Malcolm, D.L., John Johnston, J.P., George Greer, J.P., and Samuel W. McBride, J.P. Mr. Wm. J. Fleming is secretary, and Mr. W. T. Kirkpatrick, Head master. At present there is a clear income of nearly £400 a year to pay the expenses.
The Lurgan Musical Society was established about 4 years ago. It has between 50 and 60 members, who pay a subscription of 10s. each per season, October to March. Rehearsals are held every Thursday evening. Mr A. H. Livock, organist of the parish, Church of Ireland, is conductor, Mr George Greer, J.P., treasurer, and Messrs. James B. Hanna, and Richard G. Chism, secretaries.
In 1885 the Lurgan Musical and Dramatic Society was established. It has about 40 members paying a monthly subscription of 1s. The entrance fee is 5s. Rev. A. J. Finnigan, P.P., is President, Mr. John Kennedy, secretary, Mr. MI. Rocks, treasurer, and Mr. David McGibbon, conductor.
Thanks to the great energy displayed by Mr. William White, editor of The Lurgan Times, annual sports are held in Lord Lurgan’s demesne. In 1887 over £100 was distributed in prizes, and more than 4,000 people attended. On Easter Tuesday a programme of amusement, also in the demesne, was carried out under Mr. White’s management. It included trotting, horse-jumping and driving. Between £70 and £80 in prizes was expended. There were over 70 entries for the different “events.”
The attendance exceeded 10,000. Encouraged by the great success, Mr. White got up a mid-summer horse-jumping and driving competition, in connection with which there was a flower show. After paying expenses, the proceeds were to be given to the Coal Fund for the poor. The weather unfortunately proved unfavourable.
The Lurgan Tennis Club was established about eight years ago. It has three grass courts in Lord Lurgan’s demesne. Mr. Thomas Watson is secretary, and Mr. Courtney Johnston, treasurer. There are 40 members. Gentlemen pay a subscription of 10s. each, and ladies 5s. each.
A Chess Club, of which Dr. S. Agnew is secretary, meets at the Mechanics’ Institute. It has been in existence over ten years, and has a dozen members.
The Lurgan Demesne Cricket Club was established over 30 years ago. It has 404 members paying 10s. a year each. Mr. W. J. Allen is secretary, Mr W. R. Ross, assistant secretary, and Mr. Richard Allan, treasurer. There are several good all-round players in the club, which was in the Northern Cricket Union for 1888.
In 1876 the Lurgan Foot-ball Club was established (Rugby). It has 30 members paying 5s. a year each. The Excelsior Foot-ball Club (Juniors) was established in 1888. It has 40 members. The Lurgan College has a first-rate Foot-ball Club.
Bicycling is popular, but there is no club.
The Lurgan ornithological Society was established in 1880. It has 140 members paying from 5s. upward, each per annum. The last show of poultry, pigeons and cage-birds was held in the Town Hall, December 26 and 27, 1887. Mr. Joseph S. Watson is president, Mr. James Dickson, and Mr. Robert Mathers, jun., secretaries, and Mr. James Dickson, treasurer.
Freemasonry in Lurgan dates from 1743. There are two lodges at present: 134 and 24. Both meet at the Mechanics’ Institute.
The Old Diaper Hall
The manufacturing interests of Lurgan are almost entirely connected with the linen trade. But for it the growth of the town might have been confined within very narrow limits. William Waring, M.P. for Hillsborough, County Down, introduced the manufacture of diapers here, and at Waringstown about the same time, shortly after the accession of Queen Anne, 1702. The people of Lurgan and district showed an intelligent appreciation of his kindness, and made substantial progress in acquiring the knowledge which he imparted. When the training had proved effective the sale of webs began to be a feature of the weekly market. It was then held on Friday, in accordance with the patent granted to Mr. William Brownlow by William III. Linen merchants stood in the open street, and made purchases, paying for and receiving the goods afterward at the hotels. At the beginning of the present century a Linen Hall was built by subscription. It was thronged every Friday by hand-loom weavers, who exposed their webs on long tables provided for the purpose. In 1825 the weekly sales averaged from £2,500 to £3,000. The hall had a railing round it, and occupied a space which is now included in Church Place. Eventually the merchants changed their modes of dealing with the weavers to such an extent that the hall was abolished in 1865. The first power-loom weaving factory was built by the father of Mr. James Malcolm, D.L., in 1855. Up to the present his example has not been followed by half a dozen out of the large number of manufacturers whose names are recorded alphabetically at page 377. (Click Street Directory to view the manufacturers). Lurgan manufacturers make handkerchiefs, plain and embroidered, a great feature. Basing a calculation upon the statements made to me by each manufacturer personally, or through his manager, I find that almost 18,000 hand-loom weavers are employed in the furtherance of enterprises wholly or partly directed from Lurgan. The weavers nearly all live in Armagh, Down, Antrim, and Tyrone, and the yarns are given out to them at offices in Lurgan and at central points in the other counties. The same manufacturers give out embroidery work to thousands of women throughout the province of Ulster. Nearly 2,500 people are employed as inside workers in the power-loom factories and preparing departments of the manufacturers by hand-loom. Since 1866, when the first hemstitching factory was erected, this branch has increased until it now provides inside employment for about 2,400 people.
Fifty years ago, two breweries and a distillery consuming 15,000 tons of grain annually, were flourishing. So also were two tobacco factories. One of the breweries, Mr. James Johnston’s, started over a hundred years ago, still exists. The other, the distillery, and the tobacco works have been replaced by mineral water factories. Brick-making is carried on to a considerable extent.
James Malcolm's Enterprize
The Malcolm’s have been for a great many years prominently identified with the manufacturing interests of Lurgan. Mr. James Malcolm, father of Mr. James Malcolm, D.L., J.P., during the palmy days of hand-loom weaving, was extensively engaged in the manufacture of cambric. He introduced power looms in this part of the country, erecting a factory for the purpose in 1855. The commotion created among the hand-loom weavers was so great, that they collected in a body, two years later, apparently with the intention of forcing him to abandon the enterprise. A public meeting of the residents of the town, called for the purpose, under the chairmanship of the seneschal, Mr. John Hancock, J.P., soon afterward, pass a series of resolutions in the highest degree complimentary to Mr. Malcolm, and they were handsomely engrossed and presented to him. At his death in 1864, the present proprietor succeeded. He had already been in active association with his father in the management of the concern, and soon began to make important structural alterations and extensions, increasing the number of power looms largely. The manufactures are confined to cambric and cambric handkerchiefs – employment being provided for about 500 people in this department. In 1866 Mr. Malcolmson purchased the patents taken out by Mr. Joseph B. Robertson, and established the first factory in the United Kingdom for hemstitching by machines. This is situated in Union Street, and gives employment to about 350 people. At first it worked in conjunction with the weaving factory only, and of merchants of Lurgan and Belfast. The buildings and premises, including those of the weaving factory off High Street, and the Union Street factory, extended over an area of ten acres, in the heart of the town. Steam is the motive power at both factories. Mr. Malcolm is also an extensive stock owner in and director of the New Northern Spinning and Weaving Company, Limited, Belfast.
The Lurgan Weaving Company Ltd
Brownlow Terrace is a part of the town which strikes the eye of the stranger on entering Lurgan by rail from Belfast. It contains the handsome buildings and grounds belonging to the Model School, and a number of comfortable dwellings erected for work-people by the Lurgan Weaving Co., Limited. At the back of these houses the tall chimney-shaft of the Company’s power loom weaving factory appears prominently in the view. The property of the Company has a frontage at Brownlow Terrace of 326 feet, and a depth of 394 feet. Nearly all of this is occupied by buildings. There are in the factory 472 looms, driven by a 200 horse compound horizontal condensing engine. Brick and glass are the chief materials in the construction of the bays. The manufactures include the weaving of cambric and cambric handkerchiefs of the finest quality, and the finest linen for shirting and under-clothing. Sale is made of the goods in the unbleached state to the manufacturers and merchants of Lurgan, Belfast, and generally of the North of Ireland. The Lurgan Weaving Company, Limited, was organized in 1881, with the object of purchasing the interest in the present concern from Messrs. William and James Macoun, who has for about twenty years engaged in the manufacture of cambric and cambric handkerchiefs. Messrs. Macoun had 376 looms running, and the Lurgan Weaving Company, Limited, added 96 to this number, and replaced about half the old machinery by new, containing the latest improvements. Thirty houses for work-people, situated in Mary Street and Brownlow Terrace, were built by the Company, and factory alterations and extensions were made which required a considerable outlay. The directors are – Mr. Samuel A. Bell, J.P., Belle Vue, Lurgan, chairman; Mr Frederick W. Bell, Belle Vue, Lurgan; Mr. Thomas A. Dickson, M.P.,Dublin; Mr W. J. Hurst, J.P., Drumaness, Co. Down; Mr. James Brown, J.P., Donaghmore, Co. Tyrone; Mr. Alexander Hannah, Glasgow; and Mr. H. G. MacGeagh, Derry Lodge, Lurgan, the managing director
Messrs Johnston, Allen & Co
Messrs Johnston, Allen & Co. occupy a prominent position among the manufacturers of Lurgn. The firm was established in 1867 for the manufacture of linen and cambric handkerchiefs by hand-loom, and a beginning was made giving out yarns to about 500 cottage weavers. Within ten years this number had been increased to 1,000. The cloth was all sold in the brown state. Arrangements were then made for a bleaching and finishing department, and for the erection of a hemstitching factory by machine power, which gave additional employment to 300 inside workers. The enterprises enumerated are all carried out in premises consisting of about a statute acre, fronting William Street, and extending to Ulster Street.
Early in 1888 the firm decided to erect the power loom factory. Messrs. Young and MacKenzie, the eminent Belfast architects, supplied the design, and by a very important economical improvement, they have effected a great saving of space in the interior of the factory. The building, which fronts Victoria Street, occupies with the premises, three acres. The chief materials of the structure are brick and glass. Capacity is afforded for more than 500 looms, driven by a Coates compound tandem engine, 18- horse power indicated. The chimney shaft is 150 feet high, with a centre cylinder about 60 feet. By the erection of the Victoria Street factory a further addition of 500 has been made to the total number of work people. The manufactures consist of the finest linen cambric handkerchiefs, and the finest clear lawn cambric. Mr. James Johnston and Mr. Joseph Allen constitute the firm of Johnston, Allen and Co.
Messrs John S. Brown & Sons
Messrs. John S. Brown & Sons, as manufacturers, have a world-wide reputation. Mr. James Brown laid the foundation of their business at Lurgan in 1795, making linens and damasks special features. The late Mr. John Shaw Brown, his nephew, succeeded Mr. James Brown in 1843. Soon afterward a partnership was formed between Mr. Brown, Mr. James Magee, and Mr. W. Liddell, and the same line of work continued at Lurgan until 1860, when Mr. Magee retired. The style of the firm then became Brown and Liddell, and head-quarters were at Belfast. Six years later this partnership was dissolved. Mr. Brown then took up the work entirely on his own account. He built the factory at St. Ellen’s County Down. It is situated within four and a half miles of Belfast, and has 380 looms engaged in the weaving of damasks, linens, hucks, and towels. The driving power is provided by steam and water, and the buildings and premises embrace about five acres. In 1872 Messrs. John, William K., and George Herbert Brown, sons, were taken into partnership. Mr John Brown retired in 1883, and in 1887 Mr. John Shaw Brown died, leaving the business to Messrs. William K. and George Herbert Brown, the present proprietors. Not long after the death of Mr. Brown, Mr. Thomas H. Magee also died, and the business was purchased by Messrs. John S. Brown & Sons, who continue to carry it on at Lurgan, under the style of Thomas H. Magee & Co. Employment is given at St. Ellen’s, 1,500 hand-loom weavers of Armagh, Down, Antrim and Tyrone, and to over 3,000 wives and daughters of small farmers at hand embroidery. Messrs. Brown make a speciality of the weaving of monograms, crests, coats of arms, and flags on linen supplied to families, steamship companies, yacht clubs, hotels, etc. They are manufacturers to the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and all the Members of the Royal Family; have contracts for supplying damasks to the Admiralty; manufacture all the linen for the House of Commons restaurant, the Midland and London and North Western Railways, the Grand, Metropole, 1st Avenue, Langham, Inns of Court, and Charing Cross Hotels, London; the principal clubs of the United Kingdom; the Windsor, 5th Avenue, and St. James’s Hotels, and Hoffman House, New York; and the Grand Pacific Hotel, Chicago. Prize medals for superior merit were obtained for their goods; Dublin, 1865 and 1872; Belfast, 1870; Paris – Gold – 1867; and Philadelphia, 1876.
See Bassett's Directory of Lurgan 1888 HERE
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