The Official Guide to Lisburn (c1952)


LISBURN is situated eight miles south of Belfast, on the banks of the River Lagan, and is the biggest town in County Antrim. It is the market centre for the farming country which surrounds it, and the needs of a numerous agricultural population have contributed to its prosperity, despite its proximity to Belfast. Weaving, bleaching, linen yarn spinning and thread making have also been important sources of wealth.

Market Street, Lisburn, 1952
Market Street, Lisburn

The known history of the town begins in the early years of the seventeenth century with the strife between the native Princes of Ulster and Queen Elizabeth of England. At that time there were great forests in County Antrim and the chief occupations of the Irish seem to have been cattle-rearing and fighting. Where Lisburn now stands there was a small village called Lisnagarvagh, a stronghold of the O'Neills, who were a popular and powerful dynasty. For many years the Queen tried to subdue them both by war and by conciliation, but they fought stubbornly and proudly till the year of her death. With the passing of Elizabeth came the end of the independence and power of the O'Neills, Earls of Tirowen, Captains of Killultagh and Lords of Lisnagarvagh. In the year 1609 these lands passed to Sir Fulke Conway, of Conway Castle in Wales, an officer in the English Army; he settled at Lisnagarvagh, or Lisnagarvey as it came to be called, and brought with him many Englishmen and Welshmen. The town of Lisnagarvey grew apace; soon there were fifty-two houses, and in 1623, in the reign of James the First, the Church, now the Cathedral, was in use for divine service.

About the year 1627 the Conways built a castle overlooking the River Lagan, which in those days abounded in salmon and trout; a portion of the wall which formed the entrance is still standing. The newcomers thought Ireland a strange place: Lord Edward Conway, writing from Lisnagarvey in 1621, says -- "Greater storms are not in any place, nor greater serenities; foul ways, boggy ground, pleasant fields, water brooks, rivers full of fish, full of game, the people in their attire, language, fashion, barbarous. In their entertainment free and noble."

Looking towards Railway Street, Lisburn, 1952
Looking towards Railway Street, Lisburn

A church, which was at first a private chapel to the castle, was built on the site of the present cathedral; this chapel was, however, destroyed in the rebellion of 1641. That year the Irish rose against the English; Lisnagarvey was besieged by the insurgents, who were eventually driven from the town with great slaughter. Two hundred were slain in Bridge Street, and three hundred in Castle Street and in the meadows behind the houses. It was at this time that Piper's Hill received its name: the head of a piper of one of the regiments, it is said, was blown off and rolled down it. The church was restored soon after the rising.

The word Lisburn is found for the first time in a baptismal entry of 11th January, 1662. Some think that Lisnagarvey was changed to Lisburn because the town was burned by the insurgents in 1641. Others have conjectured that the name Lisburn was taken from the name of another fort at the top of Hill Street, for in the 1641 depositions it is stated that the insurgents entered the town at a place "called Louzy Burne."

For a considerable period Lisburn was the residence of Bishop Jeremy Taylor, the English divine and scholar, who was born in Cambridge in 1613 and received his elementary and university education there. He was on the royalist side in the English Civil War and became a close friend of Charles the First, who presented him with a watch. Eventually Taylor accompanied Lord Conway to Lisburn, held a lectureship there, and was soon after promoted, through Conway's influence with Charles the Second, Bishop of Down and Connor and administrator of the see of Dromore. Some of his notable sermons were first preached in Lisburn. Having contracted a fever while visiting a stricken parishioner he died on the 13th August, 1667, and was buried in Dromore Cathedral. In Lisburn Cathedral there is a marble slab with inscription, to perpetuate the memory of his close association with the town.

In 1685 Louis the Fourteenth of France tyrannically revoked the Edict of Nantes and tens of thousands of his Protestant subjects fled from their native land. About six thousand came to Ireland, a number of whom settled in the town and neighbourhood of Lisburn. These Huguenots, as they were called, were men and women of lofty character, they were industrious and thrifty and added greatly to the social and industrial well-being of the community. Many of them had been employed in France in the manufacture of silk and fine linen, and by following these industries in their adopted country and bringing with them improved machinery, they gave a great impetus to the linen industry which has become an important feature in the commercial history of Ulster. There are still many descendants of the Huguenots living in Lisburn and neighbourhood; and in the Cathedral graveyard, at the east end, are to be found the graves of their ancestors. The French colonists had a place of worship, known as the "French Church," and for over a hundred years their religious services were conducted in their own language. The Town Hall in Castle Street now occupies the site on which the Huguenot church once stood.

The Duke of Schomberg brought ten thousand men to Ulster to fight King James the Second. Schomberg made Lisburn his headquarters, and for six months he occupied the house in Castle Street that Jeremy Taylor had lived in. On his march to the Boyne, King William halted for a few hours in Lisburn and dined at the house of William Edmundson; this house stood on the site, at the corner of Market Square and Railway Street, now occupied by the Northern Bank.

In 1707 a fire ravaged Lisburn; the Cathedral was burned and the castle that Conway had built. All that now remains of that stronghold is part of the surrounding wall and its gateway with the date 1677 engraved on a stone. The gateway is one of the main "tourist" assets of the town, and a great pointer to its past history.

In the west side of Market Square there is a house, the first to be erected after the fire, which has a stone inserted in the front wall bearing the following inscription:--

I.H.I., 1708

The year above this house erected,
The town was burned ye year before:
People therein may be directed --
God hath judgments still in store,
And that they do not him provoke,
To give to them a second stroke.

The builder also doth desire at expiration of his lease,
The landlord living at that time may think upon the builder's case.

In 1798 Harry Munro of Lisburn was a member of the United Irishmen. He was a linen-buyer, a Protestant, and a highly respected citizen. His house in the Market Square is now Messrs. Major's premises on the east side. Following his defeat at the battle of Ballynahinch, where he was the general in command of the insurgent forces, he was hanged in Lisburn Market Square, and his head, and the heads of three of his followers, Tom Armstrong, George Crabbe, and Dick Vincent, were stuck on spikes and placed one at each corner of the market house. There are still living in Lisburn people who, in their youth, had the scene described to them by old "Granny" MacDonald, who had witnessed it.

In 1791 was born the actor W. Henry West Betty, known in theatrical circles as "the young Roscius." His father, a linen merchant and bleacher, lived at Chapel Hill, Lisburn. At the age of thirteen the boy created a great sensation in London as an actor, for a few years drew crowded houses and amassed a great fortune. From the time he was sixteen his power of drawing audiences seemed to fail and he finally quitted the stage and studied for the ministry.

In the Market Square there is a statue of Brigadier-General John Nicholson, who was killed at the siege of Delhi in 1857, at the age of thirty-five. There is a tablet in the Cathedral to his memory and a steel engraving of him in the Chapter Room. The inscription on the statue is misinformed about his birthplace, which was not Lisburn, but he lived for a time at 46 Castle Street, on which a plaque has been placed. Blood relations of his mother, Clara Hogg, still live in Lisburn, and the Hogg family, well-known in English politics, are of her kin.

Sir Richard Wallace, born in 1818, and known throughout the world as a great collector of pictures and works of art, succeeded to the Hertford property in 1870 and was a Member of Parliament for Lisburn from 1873 till 1885. To his philanthropy Lisburn owes the Wallace Park; and he showed great generosity in his treatment of the tenants on his Irish estates. He had a large house erected at his expense in Castle Street, but never lived in it. This is now the Lisburn Technical High School. There are two memorial windows to him in the Cathedral, one erected by Lady Wallace, his wife, and the other by public subscription.

Lady Morgan, "the wild Irish Girl," actress and novelist, spent part of her childhood in Lisburn. She died in 1859. Her father, Robert Owenson, had a theatrical company that gave performances in Bow Street, Lisburn, in 1803 and 1804.

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The town possesses two fine parks, the Wallace Park and the Castle Gardens. In the latter there is a monument to Sir Richard Wallace, and beyond this is placed one of the guns captured at Sebastapol. From these gardens there is a very pleasant view of the County Down.

The Cathedral has a handsome spire. In the graveyard which surrounds it can still be seen the graves of Huguenot families who settled in Lisburn in the seventeenth century. On the walls of the interior of the church are many monuments to the memory of famous Lisburn people, or of people connected with the town.

First Lisburn Presbyterian Church is said to be one of the oldest congregations in the Presbyterian church in Ireland. The exact site of the original church is unknown; it is said King William worshipped in it while his troops were encamped in Blaris. After the great fire in Lisburn in 1707 the church was rebuilt on its present site and enlarged later.

Lisburn is rich in churches: in addition to the two already named there is a large Catholic church in Longstone Street, the Methodist church in Seymour Street, Christ Church (Church of Ireland) on the Dublin Road, Friends Meeting House in Railway Street, and Railway Street and Sloan Street Presbyterian churches, and other halls and places of worship.

At Drumbo, three and a half miles east of Lisburn, is a round tower. At Ballyaughlis, nearer Belfast, is the Giant's Ring, with a cromlech in the centre.

From Collin mountain, above Derriaghy, a beautiful view of the Lagan valley can be obtained, with the Mourne mountains in the background.

The Lagan is very picturesque from Lambeg almost to Belfast and those who are fond of walking will delight in its pleasantly wooded traffic-free banks.

Hillsborough, four miles from Lisburn, owes its existence to the Downshire family. The Governor of Northern Ireland lives in the Castle there; among the many interesting historical associations of this old house is the bedroom occupied by William of Orange when he stayed in the village on his way to the Boyne.

Wallace Park, Lisburn, 1952
Wallace Park, Lisburn


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Town Surveyor and Water Engineer: ANTHONY WEBB, B.SC., A.M.I.C.E.

THOSE who walk or drive on the well-paved streets of the town with their neatly flagged footways may find it hard to realise that little more than 30 years ago, these streets were covered with several inches of mud for the greater part of the year, and ineffectively "cleansed" by the labours of a man walking backwards from one side of the street to the other dragging after him a sort of two-wheeled scraper. It was in 1924 that the Urban Council decided to end this state of affairs once and for all by raising a loan and entirely reconstructing the streets of the town in reinforced concrete or asphalt. Lisburn was one of the first towns in Ireland to adopt this policy and it has paid handsome dividends in the excellent way the roads have stood up to a growth in the weight of traffic which has been far greater than those originally responsible could possibly have foreseen.

More recently, the Council again adopted a pioneering line when they decided to light the streets of the town by electricity using fluorescent tubes in all the principal thoroughfares, the whole installation being switched on and off by a rhythmic impulse superimposed on the supply voltage. At one time in 1950 Lisburn had the distinction of possessing the largest and most comprehensive fluorescent street lighting installation in the United Kingdom, if not in the world, though with the rapid advance of this system in the larger cities the distinction was a fleeting one.

Interesting relics of an earlier age which were unearthed when the streets were being reconstructed in 1924, were some wooden water pipes, composed of the trunks of trees hollowed out and joined end to end with conical joints, showing that Lisburn had enjoyed some form of piped water supply from a very early date. Nowadays, the town is one of the comparatively few which enjoy a really adequate water supply; this is drawn in part from a catchment area on the hills north of the town, and in part from a group of wells bored to a depth of approximately 400 feet into the underlying greensand beds. The first of these wells was sunk in 1935, its success encouraging the Council to sink three more during the succeeding 10 years. At present, the town takes roughly 50 per cent of its water from these wells and 50 per cent from the reservoir in the catchment area. The reservoir water is filtered and dosed with chlorine before passing to the service tanks, where it is mixed with the water from the wells, which is so pure as to need no treatment.

Sewage is treated at the disposal works at New Holland, which lies about 1½ miles from the town on the south side of the River Lagan. This works was originally constructed in 1906 and completely reconstructed and modernised in 1934. Refuse is collected regularly every week from all premises in the town and conveyed in covered lorries to a dump where it is disposed of by controlled tipping.

The town is fortunate in the possession of a number of parks and open spaces presented to the inhabitants by benevolent donors. These include the Wallace Park of 26 acres presented in 1884 by Sir Richard Wallace, where a considerable scheme for the development of playing fields has recently been undertaken by the Urban Council. The Castle Gardens is a pleasant little park right in the centre of the town, overlooking the river and close to the Cathedral; this was presented by Sir John Murray Scott. On the County Down side of the town are the extensive John Milne Barbour Junior Memorial Playing Fields, presented to the townspeople by Mrs. Harold Barbour, while adjacent to the Union Bridge is a children's playground presented by the same generous donor. A scheme is under preparation for the construction of further playing fields at the western end of the town where there has been a great development of post-war housing.

Lisburn Street Map, 1952
Street Map of Lisburn, 1952

Two housing estates have been completed by the Council, and another is approaching completion. Development of a fourth is due to start at an early date. The Housing Trust has completed one large estate, is at work on a second and is due to start work on a third, the two last named being undertaken with the financial support of the Council. Two of the Council's estates are noteworthy for the pleasant views they command from elevated sites overlooking the River Lagan. When all these schemes have been completed approximately 1,000 houses will have been built for letting in the town since 1945, apart from private developments, some of which are on an extensive scale.


SINCE the commencement of the 1947 Education Act in Northern Ireland, the educational services of The Urban District of Lisburn (which is within the Area administered by the Antrim County Education Committee) is very well served by Educational Institutions. The primary school system comprises the following schools:--

Principal Teacher Pupils
Lisburn Central Mr. M. Shields  610
Brownlee Mr. A. Thompson, M.A.  350
Wm. Foote Memorial Mr. Jas. Wells  309
Sloan Street Senior Mr. W. J. Morrison  111
Largymore Junior Mr. E. Shaw  212
Tonagh Mr. E. Mayne  177
Lisburn Boys Mr. M. Fitzpatrick, B.A.  228
Lisburn Convent Sr. M. Evangeliste  257

These at present cater for the majority of pupils within the compulsory ages for School Attendance i.e., 6-14 years.

Since the introduction of the Education Act (N.I.), 1947, a comprehensive scheme of re-organisation has been prepared by the Education Committee, which envisages a reduction of the commencing age for primary school pupils to 5 years and the transfer of all pupils of 11 years and over to a system of Intermediate Secondary education which is to be established in two Intermediate Schools, one of which will be for girls and is to be sited at Fort House adjacent to the main Belfast -- Lisburn Road and the other, for boys, to be erected adjacent to the Lurgan Road at Warren Gardens.

Pupils transferring to the Intermediate Secondary Schools will be drawn from the Primary Schools in the surrounding Rural District as well as from the Urban Area. It is estimated that the number of pupils to be enrolled in the Intermediate Schools will be in the region of 1,200.

In conformity with the provision of the Education Act, instruction at primary schools is given free and includes the supply of all books and practice materials. Similarly, pupils transferring to the new Intermediate Schools will be given free education and books.

In the Intermediate School system to be established the curricula will be arranged to suit the aptitudes of the students. Pupils will be expected to follow a general course for the first two years and may then specialise in the subjects of several groups to be arranged according to their requirements.

The County Education Committee has also undertaken a survey of the Urban Area with a view to modernising primary school premises that have become out-moded and to this end it is intended that the present Tonagh Primary School will be closed and replaced by a new school to provide accommodation for some 300 children. It is also intended to extend and enlarge the present Largymore Primary School and to close the Sloan Street Senior Primary School, which will become obsolete with the opening of the Intermediate Schools.

Additional primary school accommodation will be provided to keep pace with the increasing house building development.


In addition to the present primary school system, two well-equipped and well-staffed Grammar Schools are operated by Voluntary Managers.

These two schools -- Wallace High School, Headmaster Mr. T. C. C. Adams, M.A., and Friends School, Headmaster Mr. J. M. Douglas -- have accommodation for approximately 400 pupils each.

Under the County Education Committee's Scholarship Scheme some 80 per cent of the pupils in the Secondary divisions of these schools attend as Scholarship holders, having passed the necessary qualifying examination conducted each year by the Ministry of Education.

These schools provide secondary grammar school education and prepare candidates for the examinations of the several examining bodies as well as the senior and junior certificates of the Ministry of Education and entrance to the several Universities.

The Friends School, in addition to providing for the usual day pupils, has a boarding establishment with accommodation for some 80 students.


By arrangement with the Ministries of Education and Agriculture free milk is supplied daily to pupils in attendance at all schools in the Urban District.

The County Education Committee has made provision for the erection of three central meals kitchens within the Urban Area, each to be capable of supplying 1,000 meals daily. Two of these kitchens will be erected along with the Intermediate Schools and the third will be sited on the Hillsborough Road adjacent to the Lisburn Central Primary School.

As well as supplying meals to the schools within the Urban District, meals will be transported to schools in the Rural Area.

Technical School and Castle Gardens, Lisburn, 1952
Technical School and Castle Gardens, Lisburn


Thanks to the wisdom of the members of the Lisburn Urban District Council, Technical Education was introduced to Lisburn in the year 1914, and since that year, under the guidance of the Technical Instruction Committee, the work of the school has rapidly progressed.

The opening ceremony was performed on the 7th November, 1914, by the Rt. Hon. Sir Milne Barbour, Bart., D.L., LL.D., M.P., who subsequently became a Member of the Committee and was its Chairman from 1939 to 1951.

The handsome building, ideally situated, and now occupied as the Technical School, was previously known as Castle House, and was originally the property of the late Sir Richard Wallace. It was built at a cost of 20,000 and purchased by the Urban Council for the nominal sum of 3,500. The present day value of the main building without equipment is estimated at over 70,000, and with equipment, at over 100,000.

The growth of Technical Education has been very rapid in this industrial area, and more accommodation is urgently required. To meet this need, adjoining property was purchased by the Local Education Authorities in 1939, but owing to the outbreak of war the extension scheme had to be postponed. It is the hope of the members of the Technical Committee that the development of this scheme will take place in the near future. The number of students registered annually is upwards of 2,000, with 350 of these (the limit of the accommodation) following full-time Day Technical and Day Commercial Courses. To carry out the duties involved, a full-time staff of twenty-four teachers is required, together with an additional twenty part-time specialist teachers. The school now occupies a very prominent position amongst the provincial centres in Northern Ireland and is graded second to Belfast.

The success of the school is chiefly due to the many enthusiastic members who have served faithfully and ungrudgingly over long periods on the Technical Committee, and in no small measure due to the appointment of Mr. Cecil Webb as the first Principal. Mr. Webb's organising ability, coupled with his appreciation of good craftsmanship and remarkable foresight, were outstanding characteristics of his service during his twenty-seven years in office.

The present principal of the School is Mr. W. J. Waring, B.Sc., A.I.Mech.E. Since his appointment the school has continued to develop and progress, and the many distinctions gained by the pupils are a tribute to the efficiency and enthusiasm of Mr. Waring and his staff of teachers.

In addition to the full-time Day Technical and Day Commercial courses, Senior Part-time Day Courses are conducted for apprentices in all branches of the Engineering and Building Trades, and Teachers' Certificate Courses in Domestic Science. Part-time Evening Courses are also conducted in the following departments -- Building Construction, Cabinet-Making, Carpentry and Joinery, Commerce, Domestic Economy, Electrical, Mechanical and Motor Car Engineering, and Handicrafts (Wood and Metal).

The work carried out in the school prepares young people for careers in industry, commerce and the Civil Service. Many young men and women have testified that it was due to their training in the school that they were able to make good advancement in their chosen careers, which include the following -- Sea-going Engineers, Engineers in charge of Industrial Plants, Managers in Industry, B.B.C. Engineers, Draughtsmen (Architectural and Mechanical), Engineering Representatives at home and overseas, Civil Service and other clerical positions. Quite a few, after gaining valuable experience in industry, have taken up teaching appointments in Technical Institutions.


Divisional Medical Officer: WILLIAM M. BURNS, M.B., D.P.H.

The Public Health Services of Lisburn are centred at the Divisional Health Office, 9 Seymour Street, with its offices and clinics. Here there is co-operation between the Urban and Rural Districts of Lisburn and the Antrim County Health Committee, as different authorities are responsible for different aspects of the work.


The Divisional Sanitary Officer and two District Sanitary Officers carry out their multifarious duties of inspection of houses and shops, etc.,' with particular regard to the Prevention of Food Contamination. The shop-keepers have co-operated well in the effort to achieve a high standard of cleanliness in handling food.


An Assistant Dental Officer carries out the treatment of children, who have been seen at school. Emergency treatment is also given and regular sessions for anaesthetic cases are held.


Medical inspection is carried out once or twice annually at all grant-aided schools, and children found to be requiring treatment are referred to the family doctor.


The two Health Visitors who cover the Urban District share an office with colleagues of the Rural District, and take their part in the Child Welfare Clinics. In their visiting they seek primarily to help and guide the young mother but their services are no longer confined to children under five. The District Nurses carry on their work from their own homes as in the past.


Immunisation was started away back in 1936, with the usual satisfactory results. This work is carried on by General Practitioners and also by a monthly clinic.


Ladies of this Committee render valuable service by helping at the Clinics, and by dealing with cases requiring aid which cannot be given by the Statutory Authority. Several members of the old Nursing Society serve on the Committee, so that continuity is preserved and funds are made available.

Radio Station Blaris, 1952
Radio Station Blaris


In 1949 the Government of Northern Ireland introduced the Welfare Services Act and thereby placed a responsibility on the County Council for the provision of welfare facilities within the administrative area of County Antrim. The County Council in turn appointed the Welfare Committee to discharge their functions under the above-named Act. This Committee is composed of representatives elected by the County Council, Borough, Urban and Rural District Councils, as well as coopted members representing various voluntary organisations. Mr. Albert Stevenson, O.B.E., J.P., Chairman, Lisburn Urban Council, has been a member of this Committee since it was established.

The Welfare Committee has as its main responsibilities the care of aged persons (provision of residential accommodation), the welfare of handicapped persons, and thirdly, the provision of temporary accommodation for those in need.

The Welfare Committee in fulfilling its duty with regard to the first has provided homes for aged persons in various parts of the County, and here first-class accommodation is provided for those who are in need of care and attention. In addition, the Committee has realised that there are many aged persons who do not wish to enter establishments of this kind, but who are unable to care for themselves in their own homes, and to meet this need the Committee has introduced a scheme for the provision of domestic help. This scheme is aimed at assisting aged persons to remain in their own homes as long as is possible. Roughly the idea is that the Welfare Committee provides someone (usually a neighbour) to do the household chores and to cook at least one main meal per day for the old person and generally to devote a certain number of hours daily for the general welfare of the old person concerned.

The Welfare Committee has appointed to the staff six qualified Home Teachers whose main function is to provide for the welfare of handicapped persons (blind, deaf and dumb, crippled). Each of these officers is qualified to teach handicrafts and Braille as well as to converse with deaf persons. In addition, the Welfare Committee is prepared to assist handicapped persons to train for employment in normal occupations.

In discharging its duties with regard to the third category, the Welfare Committee has made arrangements with certain voluntary organisations for the provision of temporary accommodation and this accommodation is provided in the main for (a) unmarried mothers and their children; (b) evicted persons; and (c) those who find themselves without accommodation through unforeseen circumstances.

In addition to the above duties the Children and Young Persons Act (N.I.), 1950, requires the Welfare Committee to provide certain services for children within the County of Antrim, and in this direction the Welfare Committee has established a Children's Home, and in addition places many children in normal homes through the County.

All these services are available within the County and any enquiries regarding the work of the Welfare Authority should be directed to the Divisional Officer, whose office is situated at 9 Seymour Street, Lisburn.

Ariel View of Lisburn, 1952
Ariel View of Lisburn, 1952


Lisburn is served by two Hospitals:--
     1. The Lagan Valley Hospital, Hillsborough Road, Lisburn.
     2. The Lisburn Hospital, Seymour Street, Lisburn.

Both these Hospitals were incorporated in the Health Services Act and taken over by the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority on the 5th July, 1948. They are managed by a Committee of Management, which body is responsible to the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority for day to day policy and administration.


The Lagan Valley Hospital is a Hospital of approximately 200 beds and provides the following specialist services:--

Surgery, Medicine, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, X-Ray, Physiotherapy, Out-Patients, Pharmacy and Ambulance.

All the above-mentioned departments are provided with the most modern equipment and appliances.

The Hospital handles approximately 2,000 admissions per annum and the Out-Patients' Department 18,000 cases per annum. Operations average 1,300 per annum. These figures are based on the 1950 statistics and work during the present year is steadily increasing. It is hoped very soon to commence a phase of alterations and additions which will allow more scope for expansion of the medical services.


The Lisburn Hospital is a unit of 60 beds. This Hospital, prior to being taken over by the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority, was a general Hospital serving the Lisburn Urban District. Owing to difficulty experienced in modernisation and expansion it has been found necessary to change the character of the Hospital from that of general to geriatric. As a geriatric unit this Hospital renders a yeoman service to the elderly population in need of hospital accommodation.

Yearly admissions to this hospital average 365; Out-Patients' attendances 2,000.


The Maternity needs of Lisburn and District are met by the Lagan Valley Hospital, which provides ten general beds and eight private ward beds. This is an extremely busy department and at present accommodation is not sufficient to cope adequately with the demands. The Management Committee hope that soon they will be in a position to make available additional accommodation for the expansion of this essential service.

These Hospitals serve not only Lisburn Town, but also the area covered by Lisburn and Hillsborough Rural District Councils. With the expansion of Lisburn and the Rural Districts it is essential that the Medical Services expand, and it is to this end that the Management Committee press for further improvement in accommodation and specialist services.


Honorary Secretary: MISS MARY BRUCE
Medical Officer: LT.-COL. JOSEPH G. JOHNSTON, M.D.

This Ulster Charity was established in the year 1885, and since then has provided a Home for skilled nursing treatment for men and women suffering from incurable disease who cannot be properly cared for in their own homes. There is accommodation in this Institution for 22 men and 45 women. It is outside the scheme of the Health Services Committee and does not receive any Government Grant. The Home is strictly non-sectarian.

The Board of Management meets monthly to deal with applications for admission. The maintenance charge is 35/- each per week, payable quarterly in advance. In order to keep the maintenance fees at this figure it is necessary to raise by public subscriptions and donations a sum of approximately 1,000 per annum.

View from Moores bridge, Lisburn, 1952
View from Moores bridge, Lisburn


Secretary: HEDLEY B. REID, A.C.I.S.

The Headquarters of the Northern Ireland Fire Authority are situated in Castle Street, Lisburn, and the entire Fire Services of Northern Ireland, outside the County Borough of Belfast, are managed and controlled from this centre.

At the rear of the Headquarters premises the Authority has erected a Hose-Drying and Training Tower, the second to be completed in Northern Ireland, and this Tower will be used for washing, drying and repairing the hose lines used by the Fire Force of the Authority and, in addition, the Tower -- which rises to a height of over sixty feet -- will be utilised in connection with the training of members of the Fire Force in fire-fighting and life-saving duties.

The actual fire-fighting facilities available to the Town of Lisburn and immediately adjoining areas comprise a modern three-bay Fire Station, which was completed in October, 1950, at a cost of 6,000 and was built on a valuable site in Antrim Street, Lisburn, kindly placed at the disposal of the Fire Authority at a nominal rental by the Board of Directors of Messrs. Robert Stewart & Sons Limited. This building houses two modern Dual Purpose Life-Saving Appliances, together with a standard County Fire-Fighting Unit.


Chairman of the Committee, 1945/1951: H. C. B. McNALLY

The introduction of gas to Lisburn in the year 1839 was by an Englishman named Howell, and the original capital outlay 2,486 0s. 10d.

Howell got into difficulties, and Mr. John Millar of the firm of Millar & Stevenson took over and formed the Lisburn Gas Company Ltd. Mr. Millar was Chairman of Directors until his death on the 6th December, 1881. The list of the Board of the Lisburn Gas Co., and the Share Register contain the names of some very old families connected with the trade and professional life of the town.

In those far-off days gas was used as a means of illumination only. Today it is indispensable for a remarkable variety of purposes in every home, school, institution, factory and business establishment. From very modest beginnings has emerged the present Gas Works, with a net-work of about 25 miles of mains, supplying gas to the Urban District and part of the Lisburn and Hillsborough Rural Districts.

Almost seventy years after its inception the Company was acquired on the 1st December, 1910, by the Lisburn Urban District Council under the Chairmanship of the late Mr. H. A. M. Barbour for the sum of 44,531. Extensive re-building was carried out, new plant was installed and the present fine Offices and Showrooms provided. During the 40 years of Municipal ownership the gross capital expenditure till 1951 (including purchase price) was 84,661 Is. 8d. In the year 1909 -- 43,109,000 cubic feet of gas was made. In 1950/51 -- 107,214,000 cubic feet. The number of consumers using gas in 1909 was 918, and up to the 31st March, 1951 -- 3,902.

The turnover at the time of purchase (1910) was 8,627 Is. 10d., against 51,001 4s. lid. last year when 7,100 tons of coal was carbonised, and the sales included 2,980 tons of coke, 83,036 gallons of tar and 23 tons of spent oxide.

Figures, however impressive, do not tell the whole story of the undertaking's progress -- there is its record of service to the community down the years.

During 1950 the Council accepted tenders for the supply and erection of an additional Gas Holder with a storage capacity of 250,000 cubic feet and a Carburetted Water Gas Plant, capacity 300,000 cubic feet per day. Work has commenced on these two items of plant at a cost of 50,000, and when completed will put the undertaking in a position to meet the ever-growing demand for gas.


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Chairman: Albert Stevenson, O.B.E., J.P.
Vice-Chairman: Hugh Bruce.
       Arthur Bowman, Joseph Clarke, Mrs. Sarah Crothers, M.B.E.,William Dick, Barkley H. Greer, James Howard,
       James A. McKeown, William J. McMullen, H. C. B. McNally, George S. Moore, Henry Munn, James Ward.
Town Clerk: T. H. MacDonald, M.B.E.
Assistant Town Clerk: Robert C. Newell.
Town Solicitor: T. C. B. Henderson, M.C.
Town Surveyor: Anthony Webb, B.Sc., A.M.I.C.E.
Architect and Town Planning Officer: Roger H. Bell, A.R.T.B.A., A.M.P.T.I.
Divisional Medical Officer: Wm. M. Burns, M.B., D.P.H.
Divisional Sanitary Officer: Frederick Kee.
Clerk of Markets: Edward McNeice.
Gas Manager: George McNeice.
Accountant, Gas Department: Walter Tyler.
Accountant, Town Hall: Harold A. Duff, A.C.A.
Rate and Rent Collector: Thomas Waring.
Treasurer: Northern Bank Limited.
Registrar of Marriages: James Sloan, Conway Street.
Superintendent Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths: J. M. Shirley, Lisburn Rural Council Offices.
Royal Ulster Constabulary Headquarters (Antrim) --
       County Inspector: Capt. R. T. Hamilton, M.C.
       District Inspector: John Briggs.
Northern Ireland Fire Authority Headquarters, Castle Street --
       Chairman: Major D. J. Christie.
       Secretary: Hedley B. Reid, A.C.I.S.
       Commander: George Murphy.
Thompson Memorial Home for Incurables --
       Chairman: Michael R. Bruce.
       Hon. Secretary: Miss Mary Bruce.
       Assistant Hon. Secretary: T. H. MacDonald, M.B.E.
       Medical Officer: Joseph G. Johnston, M.D.
       Lady Superintendent: Miss S. Duffield, S.R.N.
Manor House Home: Manor Drive.
Masonic Halls: Castle Street and Railway Street.
British Legion Headquarters: Sackville Street.
Lisburn Catholic Club: Chapel Hill.
Newsroom, Assembly Rooms: R. C. Newell, Hon. Secretary.
Lisburn Merchants' Association: S. Watt, Hon. Secretary.
Lisburn Golf Club -- nine hole course -- Secretary: W. Greenaway.
Lisburn Temperance Silver Band: Secretary: G. Leslie Corkin.
Pioneer Club, Temperance Institute: Chairman: Andrew McAneney. Secretary: T. Archer.

For Hotel accommodation convenient to Lisburn -- apply to the Secretary, Ulster Tourist Development Association, Royal Avenue, Belfast.


Church of Ireland:
       The Cathedral, Rev. Canon S. P. Kerr, M.A.
       Christ Church, Rev. C. J. McLeod.
Presbyterian Churches:
       1st Lisburn, Rev. Wm. Boyd, B.A.
       Railway Street, Rev. J. K. Elliott, B.A.
       Sloan Street, Rev. James McAllister, B.A. Methodist Church: Rev. R. W. McVeigh.
Congregational Church: Rev. Pastor Keery.
Baptist Church: Pastor C. F. Blayney.
Roman Catholic Chapel: Very Rev. T. H. McAuley, P.P., V.F. Friends' Meeting House: Railway Street.
Salvation Army Hall: Dublin Road.
Central Hall: Bow Street.
Gospel Hall: Wallace Avenue.
Elim Hall: Wallace Avenue.
Lisburn Y.W.C.A.: Wallace Avenue.
Advent Hall: 16 Castle Street.
Welcome and Christian Workers' Union Mission Hall: Market Street.


Northern Bank Limited, Market Square. Manager: John Brown.
Ulster Bank Limited, Bow Street. Manager: C. D. S. Cochrane.
Belfast Banking Company Limited. Manager: Joseph Palmer.
Belfast Savings Bank. Manager: Wm. L. Dunlop.


From time to time the Lisburn Standard has published articles of much interest, written by local historians.

There are two newspapers published in Lisburn, The Lisburn Standard and The Lisburn Herald. In Lisburn, too, is published, by The Lisnagarvey Press, Rann, an Ulster quarterly of verse and comment.


Detailed knowledge of old Lisburn can be obtained from the following books:--

Lisburn Cathedral and its past Rectors, by the Very Rev. W. P. Carmody, published by R. Carswell & Son Ltd., Belfast, 1926.

The Lagan Valley (1800-1850), by E. E. R. Green, published by Faber and Faber Ltd., London, 1949.

A Concise History of Lisburn and Neighbourhood, published by T. H. Jordan, Belfast, 1906.

Map of Lisburn District, 1952
Map of Lisburn District


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