Craigavon Historical Society


Blacker book

Blacker Book

This book was presented to Major Stewart Blacker, Carrickblacker House, to mark his recovery from illness. It was presented by the tenantry on his estates in the parishes of Seagoe, Knock and Drumcree, County Armagh in September 1879. The book includes a reply from Major Blacker to his tenants thanking them for their kindness.

Lord Lurgan book

Lord Lurgan Book

This book was presented to the Right Honourable Lord Lurgan K.P. Lieutenant of County Armagh. This was to mark the occasion of the coming of age of his son, the Honourable William Brownlow of the Grenadier Guards. William Brownlow was the third Baron Lurgan (1858-1937). Each page of this book is decorated with a different and highly skilled illuminated border.

It was usual in the second half of the nineteenth century for illuminated books to be presented to eminent local families. This book was illuminated by hand, by the Belfast firm, Marcus Ward and Co. in 1879. The book was then bound in the finest leather and given to the family inside a leather presentation box.

Shuttle and bobbin

Linen shuttle

The linen shuttle was used in weaving for passing the thread of the weft backwards and forwards from left to right inside the loom. It has two pointed ends and was used to carry the thread from one edge of the cloth to the other side between the threads of the warp, using the bobbin which would have been contained inside the shuttle.

As far back as 1803 Portadown was noted for its extensive business in linen manufacturing by handloom. By the late 19th century there were seven large weaving factories in Portadown and some of these had over 500 power looms.

The weaving factories were Watson Armstrong of Watson Street, Tavanagh Weaving Co. of Armagh Road, Hamilton Robb and Co. of Goban Street, Portadown Weaving Co. of the Annagh, Spence Bryson and Co. Ltd of Portmore Street and Meadow Lane, Castleisland Linen Co. and Achesons Ltd of Garvaghy Road. The factories employed 2,000-3,000 workers and were involved in the manufacture of fine linen, cambric handkerchiefs, embroidery linen, artists' linen canvas, dress linens and Damask tablecloths. Good railway and water communications in Portadown greatly assisted the development of the linen industry.

Power loom weaving was introduced to Lurgan by James Malcolm in the mid nineteenth century with the building of a plant in Factory Lane. Handloom weavers in the Lurgan area brought their webs into Lurgan market, which was founded by William Brownlow, to be sold.

Sports cap

Sports cap

Can you help us identify this object? It is thought to be a school sports cap dated 1915-16 but we do not know which school or sports team it came from? Did someone receive this as a member of a team or if they became captain? What do the initials stand for?

Wade mug

Wade mug

Miniature mug with green and blue glaze and harp shaped handle, made by Wade Pottery.

Wade potteries began in 1866 with the purchase of some cottages in Burslem, England. By 1930 Wade consisted of three potteries which were A.J. Wade Ltd., George Wade & Son Ltd. and Wade Heath and Co. Ltd. As the company developed during the twentieth century, another site was needed to cope with the demand for business. A suitable site for the production of Wade was found in an old linen mill in Watson Street, Portadown. The mill was bought by Colonel George Wade in 1946 and was equipped for the production of electrical porcelain.

The Wade Irish Pottery became a private limited company in 1950 and was named Wade (Ulster) Ltd. In the early 1950s the demand for electrical products fell and the company converted its workshops for the production of commemorative and giftware. A fire almost destroyed the business in 1956 but the company carried on becoming involved in the production of Whimsies which were small storybook characters or animals. The company also developed its own giftware range. The distinctive green and blue glaze which you can see on many of the objects was to become a recognisable characteristic of Wade made in Co. Armagh.


Crios Crios made by John McAtasney, Master Weaver from Lurgan.

A crios is a multicoloured woven wool belt. Each crios takes about three hours to weave as crios weaving is not done on a loom but by hand. Traditionally, the warp threads are stretched between the hand and foot. The warp threads are pulled with the hand to form a shed for the weft to pass through. The completed crios is finished with several plaits at each end. They are usually woven from five or six different colours and traditionally have white edges. When the crios is finished it is about two metres in length.



Flint, found at Bannfoot, Derryinver, near Lurgan.

This is an early Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age flint which dates around 7000 BC. It is 9cms in length.



Portadown Volunteer Fire Brigade helmet 1906.

This helmet is the type which would have been worn by the Portadown Volunteer Fire Brigade in the early twentieth century. It is made of metal and was nickel plated. It has a comb on top and a leather strap which would have fitted below the chin. The decoration on the front of the helmet is made of brass. The badge consists of two hoses, two axes with a flame in the middle. The museum collection also contains a fireman's whistle and the town fire bell from Portadown.

Door handle

Door handle

Door handle from railway carriage from the Brackagh Railway Disaster.

Railway Carriage door handle from the railway accident at Brackagh Moss, close to Moneypenny's Lock in 1886. It has a copper handle screwed to the mahogany wood. The train was the Belfast to Dublin train, which passed through Portadown.

Ice skate

Ice skate

One of a pair of size 11 ice skates for a male skater. They were made in Germany. The skates come with a small handle to adjust their width. They belonged to a Lurgan man and are thought to date from the early 1900s.

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