Our meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month in the Sandel Centre, 6 Knocklynn Road, Coleraine BT52 1WT at 7.30 p.m unless otherwise stated. There are no meetings in July, August nor December. Visitors are very welcome at all our meetings. Admission for non-members is £3.00 per head. This includes tea/coffee and biscuits after the meeting.
Speaker will be John McNally of Portrush Heritage Group
Thirty members and visitors braved a cold and snowy night to hear Billy Bones speak on his time in Coleraine pantomimes. He gave a short history of pantomime and explained some of the traditions e.g. “goodies” enter stage right and “baddies” enter stage left also audiences are encouraged to participate verbally in the drama.
Billy was a fan of pantomime from a young age. He acted in Coleraine Drama Club, Killowen Parish Players and the Provincial Players, usually playing the “Dame”. Coleraine Town Hall was the eventual “home” of the town’s Pantomime.
Billy worked with Ballymoney Literary and Debating Society, Portrush Summer Theatre and the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine.
A talented and humorous man.
Our speaker related the story of a triple shooting which occurred in Dunmore House, Carrigans, Co. Donegal. The house was occcupied by Colonel Robert McClintock, his wife Jenny, their son William and his fiancee Helen Macworth. William had served in the army but had suffered severe spinal injuries from falling off a horse. On 24.9.1938 William, his mother and his fiancee were found shot dead.
A jury found that William had been shot by his mother when she was of unsound mind. She then shot herself as did Helen.
There are many unanswered questions in this case, hence the title “mysterious” being given to the talk.
Chris Kirkpatrick (Treasurer), Robert Anderson (Chairman), Frank McGurk, Ken McCormack (Speaker).
Talbot was born in London in 1852 and was a frequent visitor to Castlerock where he married Elizabeth Jane Greer in 1876. He also saved his cousin from drowning there.
In addition to being in the type founding industry he became a writer of boys’ fiction and contributed to the Boy’s Own Paper and the Leeds Mercury. The former publication began in 1879 as an antidote to the “penny dreadfuls”. He wrote many books the most famous being “The Fifth Form at St. Dominics” (1881) which was later made into a film. Talbot died of tuberculosis in 1893 at the early age of 41.
In Castlerock Presbyterian Church there is a memorial plaque to his wife who died on 7 November 1930 aged 81.
Our member Geoff had a comprehensive collection of many of Reed’s publications on display for us. A most interesting talk on an author of whom many would not have known.
Speaker Geoff Warke with committee member Mike Jones
Jay Nethercott, James Weston and Chairman Robert Anderson
James Weston gave an illustrated history of the Ulster Gliding Club from its foundation in 1930. He explained the early methods of launch – bungey or catapult at various locations e.g. Tyrella Beach in Co. Down, Magilligan, Knockagh. In 1932 a glider cost £150. Heights and distances increased over the years. In 1938 a flight of 44 miles was achieved from Magilligan to Aldergrove. (Aldergrove is an out of bounds area now).
From 1965 – 1971 Long Kesh airfield was in use and by 1978 the Club had moved to its present site at Bellarena. The Club has a cadet scheme and flies people with disabilities.
Jay explained what should be taken on a long flight – sun glasses, hat, water, map,torch, phone, foam cushion to protect the spine on landing, food e.g. bananas, oranges. He had examples of glider wings and photographs on display.
The Club kindly donated 2 free glider flights to the Society which were won by ballot.
We will visit Sinclair Seaman’s Church in Belfast, The Gasworks Museum in Carrickfergus and then the Moravian Village of Gracehill. Lunch will be in the Chimney Corner. See News section for report and photographs.
In the early 19th century the original Town Book of Coleraine was compiled by John Claudius Beresford an Irish Society agent. It was a detailed list of the town’s buildings, tenants and acres (agricultural holdings). Andrew’s book has made the original more “user friendly”. He has included information from several sources including the 1756 and 1777 rent rolls and the 1738 Map of Acres. The latter was discovered recently by the local Irish Society. Andrew has photographed the frontage of all existing properties listed in the original book and put them alongside the sketches in the original book to illustrate the changes that 200 years have made to the town.
A very interesting and informative talk for those who are researching the history of Coleraine.
L to R: Diana Kirkpatrick (Secretary), Andrew Kane and Robert Anderson (Chairman).
Stanley’s illustrated talk was in two parts. Firstly he spoke of his work in the Coleraine based Monsanto fibre manufacturing plant which was built in 1958 at Somerset. It produced Acrilan which was used in the making of carpets, shirts, socks etc.. The factory closed down in 1985.
The second part of his talk was a quiz – where is this? Photographs of local scenes were shown and the first person to give the correct answer received an Easter egg.
See News for report.
Ian spoke of the fate of HMS Drake
the armoured cruiser which was hit by a German torpedo off the north-east coast of Rathlin Island on 2 October 1917. Captain Radcliffe managed to sail the ship as far as Church Bay where it sank in 40 feet of water. Eight hundred men were rescued but eighteen stokers drowned. The wreck is marked by a buoy.
Ian showed a short film made in 1966 of divers investigating the wreck. This was made by Belfast Sub-Aqua Club.
The ship had previously been captained by John Jellicoe (later Admiral, Commander at the Battle of Jutland) and Prince Louis of Battenberg.
In 1908 the ship visited Portrush and boys of C.A.I. were invited to play a rugby match against the officers who later entertained the boye to tea. “A ripping time was had”.
Ian’s book “HMS Drake:Rathlin Island Shipwreck” was published in 2011.
Committee member Robert Anderson and Ian Wilson
Committee Member Anne-Marie Huston and Mark Doherty
Mark spoke of his great uncle Patrick Joseph Doherty who lived at the Irish Houses, on the Castlerock Road, Coleraine. He joined the Royal Navy in 1915 and became a stoker, 1st class, on HMS Lion battlecruiser and flagship commanded by Vice-Admiral Beatty. The British fleet’s task was to block the German High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland. HMS Lion was struck by a shell on the mid turret which was then flooded to save the magazine from exploding. The ship did not sink but Doherty lost his life on 31.5.1916.
P.J.Doherty is commemorated on the Plymouth Memorial and on Coleraine War Memorial.
The last surviving ship of the Battle is HMS Caroline which is being restored in Belfast docks.
HMS Caroline painting by Dr.Des Millar
Dr. Crawford’s illustrated talk explained that the Coleraine Hoard was found buried in a field in Ballinrees near Coleraine in 1854. The Hoard consisted of over 1,000 Roman silver coins and artefacts dating from the 5th century. Some of the coins were clipped i.e. defaced. As the Romans were not known to have come to Ireland then how did this Hoard come to Coleraine? Possibly the Romans had paid local mercernaries to fight on the mainland or perhaps it was a result of raids on settlements in Western Britain.
The majority of the hoard is in the British Museum with some in the Ulster Museum.
The launch of this year’s Bann Disc will take place on Wednesday 12 October 2016 in Coleraine Public Library, Queen Street, at 7.00pm.
See BANN DISC section for photographs.
Pearl, a well known local historian, gave an illustrated talk on Robert McCahon Dicky who emigrated from Kilrea to Canada where he was a student of theology in Manitoba University from 1894 – 97. He moved to the Klondike during the gold stampede of 1897 and raised money for a church and hospital with the help of Molly Walsh who he had met on board ship to Canada. (Molly married Mike Bartlett who shot her). Robert came home to his mother in Kilrea from 1899 – 1900 and then returned to Canada in 1901. He died in 1950. His book “Gold Fever”which he started writing in the 1940’s was not published until 1997. In 2015 Pearl and her husband followed Dicky’s trail.
Committee member Chris Kirkpatrick and Pearl Hutchinson
Our first talk of the autumn season, which was very well attended by members and visitors, was given by Ken McCormack. He spoke of Frideswide Bruce who was brought up in Killyleagh and married a much older man Daniel Mussenden. She was the cousin of Frederick Augustus Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry. It seems that they were close friends and when he built a temple at his Downhill estate, which was a copy of the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, he named it The Mussenden.
In 1783 when Frideswide had a child there was much speculation as to the paternity. By 1785 she had moved to Clifden where she died aged 22. The mystery remains.
Speaker Ken McCormack and Chairman Barbara Harding