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

15 November 2016 – Peter Crawford on the Coleraine Hoard

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.




** Bann Disc Launch 2016 **

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.

18 October 2016 – Pearl Hutchinson – From Kilrea to the Klondike, a gold rush tale

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

20 September 2016 – K. McCormack on The Fridiswide Mystery – Eccentricities of the Earl Bishop

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

11 June 2016 – Outing to Lissan House

See News section for report

17 May 2016 – Aaron Callan on the Beresford Family

Aaron spoke on Henry Barre Beresford, a relative of Tristram Beresford who came to Coleraine with the Plantation. He was born in1781 and was the land agent to the Marquis of Waterford who owned land in the Limavady area. He was interested in agricultural husbandry and land improvement and was considered to be a progressive land agent. He had influence in the Orange Order and was a Freemason.

He died in 1832 and a monument to him was erected in 1840 on the Limavady to Dungiven road. The monument was recently restored by the Follies Trust.



Aaron Callan and Chairman Barbara Harding

19 April 2016 – Len Quigg on Robert Quigg V.C.

A very interesting talk attracted nearly 60 members and guests. Leonard spoke of his great uncle Robert from Bushmills who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in WW1. Robert, born in 1885, worked at Dundarave,  the MacNaughten estate in Bushmills. During the war he was batman(servant) to L/t Sir Henry MacNaughten who fell into a German trench. Quigg, in the face of enemy fire, endeavoured to rescue him but could not find him, however, he did rescue 7 casualities and dragged them to safety for which he was awarded the highest honour for bravery. Robert died on 14.5.55 and is buried at Billy Parish Church, Bushmills.

april meeting

                                                                   Leonard Quigg and Chairman Barbara Harding



15 March 2016 – AGM/Dinner – Alison McCaughan “Were you in the Diamond today?”

See News for photos.

16 February 2016 – The Life of Richard Hayward – Irish film actor,writer and musician. Paul Clements
Paul Clement

Paul Clements giving his talk with Richard Hayward in the background

Richard Hayward was born in England in 1892 and moved to Larne as a child. He was a man of many talents and Paul told us he was involved in Drama and Broadcasting, having played at the Gaiety and Abbey theatres in Dublin and performed radio plays on BBC with Tyrone Guthrie.

He starred in films – “Luck of the Irish”, shot near Larne, “The Early Bird” and “Irish and Proud of It”. He was a singer of Irish songs and ballads.

As a travel writer his books include “Where the Shannon Flows”, “In Praise of Ulster”, “The Corrib Country” and “In the Kingdom of Kerry”. He also wrote 3 books of poetry.

He worked as a sweet salesman for Fox’s Glacier Mints and died in a car crash in 1964

19 January 2016 – Jennifer Sturgeon – Under the Spanish Chestnut Tree. A History of Hezlett House
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Our first meeting of 2016 was well attended by over 50 members and visitors. Jennifer’s illustrated talk was based on research which she had done on the history of Hezlett House near Castlerock.

Built as  rectory for Dunboe Parish in 1691 the house was a cruck and truss structure without foundations but built on firm ground with cap stones and the walls built up around the cruck and truss. The first Rector to live there was the Venerable Roger Ford. After 1776 when a new rectory was built in Articlave the house was sold to the Hezlett family. In 1980 the National Trust took over the administration of the house. The Spanish Chestnut Tree in the garden was alleged to be a gallows for those who did not support the 1798 Rebellion.

17 November 2015 – Ken Ward – Wartime Advertising in Coleraine (Members’ Night)

Despite a cold and wet evening c50 members and visitors came to hear Ken’s talk which was based on 3″x 3″ glass slides which contain advertisements used in the Picture Palace cinema in Coleraine during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Some slides were general e.g. for products such as Persil & Aspro. Others were specific to Coleraine Businesses e.g. A.D.Sutherland’s paint business. Savings in war time, Red Cross Concerts & book collections also featured. The N.I. Civil Defence Exhibition, 1943, in Belfast demonstrated a need for some culture during war time. The vote of thanks was given by Diana Kirkpatrick.

Ken giving his talk


20 October 2015 – Stanley Bate – Life on the River Bush and Showband Days

A very well attended meeting heard Stanley’s first talk –  an illustrated journey from the source of the River Bush to its entrance at the sea at Portballintrae. Many bridges were crossed – Magherahoney, Langford, Stranocum, Conagher, Stroan, Bellisle, Victoria (built in 1874 by Robert Montgomery), Benvardin, Seneril, New Bridge (built by the MacNaghtens) and the Tramway Bridge.   His second talk was dedicated to the late Bobby Platt and illustrated many showbands of the 50’s & 60’s era. The vote of thanks to Stanley was given by Nigel McIlwaine.

Stanley after his talk


*** Wednesday 14 October 2015 – Bann Disc Launch ***

Volume 21 of the Bann Disc will be launched in Coleraine Library on Wednesday 14 October at 7.00pm


15 September 2015 – Dr. Olwen Purdue – Big Houses

Over 50 members and visitors heard this talk on large estates in the C19th and how they flourished and then declined. Landlords had wealth and position in society – political influence in Parliament and Court. It was a deferential society with regard to tenant and landlord. From 1880 agrarian unrest prompted Land Reform with fair rents for tenants, freedom of sale and fixity of tenure. Eventually landlords had mounting debts and found difficulty in maintaining large estates and houses. Many of these fine house were abandoned. At present some owners have diversified into e.g. farming special breeds, catering or giving their estate to the National Trust. The vote of thanks to Dr. Purdue was given by Anne-Marie Huston.

Olwen Purdue and Chairman Barbara Harding


13 June 2015 – Outing to Donegal – see News Section for Photos



19 May 2015 – Jim Wilkinson – Dunseverick Memories

Jim gave an interesting talk on the history of Dunseverick, once a busy fishing village which had 2 mills and a kiln. Fishermen had a hard life. The staple diet of the villagers was dried cod. There was no electricity, mains water nor telephones – the nearest being over 2 miles away. Electricity and water came in 1960. Now there are no fishing boats due to EU regulations and the population has reduced to 10. Chris Kirkpatrick gave the vote of thanks to Jim.