Slaters Royal National Directory of Ireland
1894 Page 1

Lurgan 1894


Lurgan is a thriving and rapidly extending market and union town, head of a petty and quarter sessional district and of a dispensary district, in the parish of Shankill, barony of O’Neilland East, Co. Armagh, Protestant and Catholic diocese of Dromore, with a station on the Great Northern railway, 20 miles south-west from Belfast, 60 south-south-east from Coleraine, 19 south from Antrim, 17 north-east-by-east from Armagh, 14 west-south-west from Lisburn, 5 ½ north-east-by-east from Portadown and about 3 miles south of the south-east margin of Lough Neagh, and near the Lagan navigation, giving water way to Belfast.

The surrounding country is flat, fertile and luxuriant. The principal street extends for nearly a mile along the Belfast and Armagh road, and is spacious and well-built. The town is supplied with water from Lough Neagh, the works costing £25,000. Brownlow House and demesne, formerly the seat of the Right Hon. Lord Lurgan, extends along the whole of the north-east side of the town, and the entrance is by an elegant lodge from near the centre of the street : the mansion has been rebuilt in the Elizabethan style, with freestone from Scotland : the grounds, which are thrown open to the public, are embellished with thriving plantations and a fine sheet of water abounding with water-fowl. The town is the centre of the Lurgan estate, the entire of which was purchased by the tenantry in 1889, under the Ashbourne Act, and in 1893 the mansion and home farm were disposed of, thus severing the connection between the Brownlow family and the town, which had existed since the arrival in Ulster of the English settlers.

The town is now governed by a body of commissioners, appointed under the Town Improvement Act (Ireland), 1854. The staple trade of Lurgan is the linen and cambric manufacture, and in producing variety of fabrics, as cambrics, lawns, diapers, damasks, &c. A large proportion of the population of the town and its vicinity are thus employed, whilst some of the establishments of the yarn and linen merchants are extensive. Hand-loom weaving is also extensively carried on in the town and neighbouring country districts : this branch of industry is mainly confined to the production of the finest grades of linen and cambric handkerchiefs. The Belfast Banking Co. Limited, The Northern Banking Co. Limited and the Ulster Bank Co. Limited have each a branch here. A facility of intercourse with Belfast is afforded by Lough Neagh and the Lagan navigation. Two newspapers are published in the town. The general quarter sessions of the county are held in the Court house, William Street, and petty sessions the first and third Tuesday in each month. The Constabulary have three stations in the town.

The parish church of Shankill (Christ Church) is a handsome structure, with a finely-proportioned octagonal spire containing a good clock illuminated by gas : the interior is furnished with a fine-toned organ : the late Lord Lurgan, in 1853, inserted a beautiful stained window in memory of his father, Charles Baron Lurgan : the chancel window is also stained, and was presented by the Watson family in memory of the late Francis Watson esq. J.P. St. Peter’s Catholic church in North street, is about to be rebuilt. There are two Presbyterian churches, one in High street and one in Hill street, both handsome and spacious structures. The Society of Friends have a very pretty meeting house in Queen street, and Methodists, Baptists and Plymouth Brethren have also places of worship.

Lurgan College (Watts’ endowed school), a handsome brick building with light stone facings, standing in its own grounds a short distance from the town on the road to Lough Neagh, is the principal educational establishment in Lurgan, and is presided over by Mr. William T. Kirkpatrick M.A. assisted by an efficient staff of masters. The Model School in Brownlow Terrace, is a large and handsome building of brick with white facings, erected at a cost of £8,000, and opened in 1863; it consists of boys’ and girls’ and infants’ departments. The other educational establishments are the National schools and Convent; and the charities are a dispensary and a union workhouse.

The Town Hall, situate at the junction of Union street with Market street, is a large and commodious building, opened in November, 1868; it contains a large lecture hall capable of seating 1,000 people, and public offices; the cost was £2,500, a part of which was raised by subscription. The Mechanics’ Institute is a handsome structure with a lofty clock tower, at the corner of Market street and Union street, and adjoining the Town Hall; it was opened in March 1859, and cost £1,310; besides this sum £400 was expended in purchasing the library of the Lurgan Literary Society, now incorporated with the institute. There is an efficient fire brigade in connection with the municipal board. The Workhouse was built in 1840 at a cost of £8,000, to hold 1,500 persons.

The markets are owned by the Town Commissioners. A good weekly market is held on Thursday and is well attended; there is also a cattle fair every second Thursday in the month, and a half-yearly fair in August and November. The cemeteries are Shankill, off Edward street, and New Cemetery, about half-a-mile from the town, in the Workhouse road. The area comprises 851 acres; the population in 1891 was 11,429.

Post office. POST, MONEY ORDER & TELEGRAPH OFFICE & SAVINGS BANK, Market Street – Dora Lindsay, Postmistress. Deliveries, 7 (English), 9.50 (Scotch & English) a.m. & 2.25, 5.5 & 6.20 p.m. Dispatches, 4, 5.45, 7.15, 8.35 (Scotch), 9.50 & 11.50 a.m. & 2.20, 3.50 (English), 4.40, 5.20 (Scotch), 8 (Scotch), 10.15 (English) & 11 p.m.

Lurgan Union
The Union comprises the following electoral divisions : – Aghagallon, Aghalee, Ballinderry, Ballyleny, Breagh, Brownlows Derry, Carrowbrack, Cornakinnegar, Donagheloney, Drumcree, Kernan, Kilmore, Lurgan, Magheralin, Moira, Montiaghs, Portadown, Tartaraghan, Tullylish, Waringstown.
Area of the Union 79,942 acres.
Valuation  £146,288.
Population in 1891 58,155.

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