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.



15 January 2019 – Jeremy Lewis on the Riverside Theatre
20 November 2018 – Local History Table Quiz
16 October 2018 – Geoff Warke on Mining on the North Coast
18 September 2018 – Coastal Defences
15 May 2018 – Alison McCaughan on the 1718 Migration
17 April 2018 – Ken Ward on 50 Years of U.U.
AGM and Dinner 20 March 2018

Speaker will be John McNally of Portrush Heritage Group

20 February 2018 – Keith Leighton on The Bann Rowing Club

Keith gave an interesting talk on the oldest sporting club in Coleraine – the Bann Rowing Club founded in 1841. He spoke about 2 men who had made huge contributions – Tommy Glen, cox, and Bobby Platt, oarsman, cox and coach who received an M.B.E. in 2012.

The boathouse was refurbished in 1992 and many female rowers joined. The 2012 Olympics featured Richard and Peter Chambers also Alan Campbell winning medals. A great boost for the Club which produced finance from the government. Several young male and female rowers are showing great potential for the future.

Keith explained the reason for no longer holding a Regatta. This was due to changes in the river.

Keith’s talk complemented the recent publication on the history of the Club – “The Champions of the Bann” by Ronnie Gamble and Keith Ferguson.

keith leighton1

Mike Jones presenting Keith with his gift

16 January 2018 – William (Billy) Bones on Pantomimes

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.


Bones Anderson 1

21 November 2017 – Ken McCormack on The Mysterious Affair at Dunmore (in the shadow of Agatha Christie)

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.

kenmccormack talk Nov 2017

Chris Kirkpatrick (Treasurer), Robert Anderson (Chairman), Frank McGurk, Ken McCormack (Speaker).

17 October 2017 – Geoff Warke on Talbot Baines Reed

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.

CHS Geoff W

Speaker Geoff Warke with committee member Mike Jones

** Bann Disc Launch 2017 **

Bann Disc launch invite

19 September 2017 – Jay Nethercott and Dr James Weston on The Ulster Gliding Club


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.


17 June 2017 – Outing

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.


16 May 2017 – Andrew Kane on the Town Book of Coleraine

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.

May meet

L to R: Diana Kirkpatrick (Secretary), Andrew Kane and Robert Anderson (Chairman).

18 April 2017 – Stanley Bate on Working in a Man-Made Fibre Factory

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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.


21 March 2017 – AGM and Dinner. Speaker John Moore on Portrush

See News for report.

21 February 2017 – Ian Wilson on HMS Drake which sank off Rathlin Island in 1917

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.

HMS Drake(1)

Committee member Robert Anderson and Ian Wilson

17 January 2017 – Mark Doherty on The Battle of Jutland

Jutland talk

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.

Jutland memorial


HMS CAroline

HMS Caroline painting by Dr.Des Millar