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Irish National Foresters Hall

Irish National Foresters Hall

Number 38 North Street was constructed in c.1854 and originally consisted of a two storey, three bay detached dwelling, with outbuildings and a formal garden. The property was built as a residence for William Macoun, a linen manufacturer who later built (in 1866) a cambric weaving and handkerchief factory in neighbouring Ulster Street. This factory would be taken over in 1881 by the Lurgan Weaving Company (known locally as The Limited).

In 1899 the lease for 38 North Street passed into the hands of James Jordan, a linen manufacturer who co-owned Thomas Jordan and Sons, a handkerchief and hemstitching factory based in Edward Street.

By 1930 the Jordan family had vacated 38 North Street, with the property now occupied by the Sir Charles Russell Lurgan Branch (240) of the Irish National Foresters Benefit Society (INF). The INF movement began in 1877 as a strongly nationalist fraternal Society which at its peak counted over 1,000 branches and 250,000 subscribing members worldwide. In the days before the welfare state INF branches performed an important social function by providing members with health insurance, saving policies and other welfare benefits. The Lurgan Branch of the INF was established in 1892 and in its early days met in various venues, including St Peters School and a disused factory in North Street, before finding a permanent home at number 38. Today the Lurgan branch of the INF is one of a few remaining active branches in Ireland and operates primarily as a charitable and social club.

Although over the years the INF have made alterations to the property, much of the original 19th century layout of number 38 and its outbuildings has remained relatively unchanged; whilst inside, though in poor condition, a substantial amount of the original joinery and decorative features remain intact. As a result on the 8th April 2019 the Department of Communities: Historic Environment Division listed (reference number: HB14/20/014) 38 North Street as a Grade B1 building noting that the “house makes a strong architectural and historical contribution to the town of Lurgan and significantly enhances the nineteenth-century streetscape”.

38 North Street was designated as one of the priority buildings for the Lurgan THI due to the poor condition of many parts of the interior of the building, which have fallen into an advanced state of decay, putting at risk the property’s continued use and long-term survival.

Currently in design, the ambitious plans for number 38 include the repair and restoration of the roofs, windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings and decorative features, as well as the creation of a new bar and seating area, conference facilities and a museum room to help bring derelict space into productive use.

Market street numbers 3 and 5

3-5 Market Street

Numbers 3 to 5 Market Street were identified as high priority projects for the Lurgan THI as both the presence of a gap site, which was created by the demolition of number 3, and the dereliction of number 5 were detracting significantly from Lurgan’s streetscape.

The buildings were originally constructed in the early 1800s, forming a mid-terrace three storey, six bay block. The ground floor level was designated for commercial use with two shop fronts, between which was an arched opening that provided access to the extensive rears and yards of the properties. The upper storeys were for residential use.

Among the listed commercial occupiers of the shop front of 3 Market Street between 1864 -1881 were John Rooney (Grocer and Spirit Merchant); Peter Duffy (Grocer, Provision Dealer and Spirit Merchant) and Samuel Thompson (Haberdashery and Millinery Dressmaker). In 1881 John Malcomson established a funerary, auctioneer and carriage hire business at number 3, before re-locating his business to the rear of number 5 in the 1930s. Among the many later businesses occupying number 3 were Frederick C. Watson (Cabinet maker), the C. & B. Vulcanising and Motor Company (car mechanic and tyre repair business), Campbell and McGibbon (Furniture Dealers and Auctioneers), County Reproductions and the audio/visual shop Stereovision.

Among the listed business occupants of the shop front of number 5 during the years 1864 to 1959 are: James Taylor (Wholesale and Retail Grocer and Wine and Spirit Merchant); Peter Duffy (Grocer, Provision Dealer and Spirit Retailer); John G. O’Reilly (Solicitor); Thomas G. Menary (Solicitor); Walter Clarke (Victualler), George Ruddell (butcher) and William Seyton (Butcher). In the 1960s Malcomsons funeral business took over the shop front.

In 2008 numbers 3 and 5 Market Street were purchased by Tesco Stores Ltd.. The purchase resulted in the departure of Malcomsons Funeral Service Ltd. from number 5, ending a 127 year association with the terrace, although not with Lurgan as the firm chose to relocate their business to Robert Street. In 2009 number 3, derelict and in poor structural repair due to damage sustained during a 1992 bomb attack in Lurgan town centre, was demolished with David Patton & Sons Limited the contractors.

Now in hands of new owners, and designated as a priority building within the Lurgan THI, plans are currently in design which will result in the reconstruction of number 3 and regeneration of number 5; allowing both buildings to once again become part of day to day life on Market Street.

43 High Street

43 High Street

Number 43 High Street was constructed in the early 1800s as a four bay, three storey dwelling house. In recognition of its architectural character the property was listed (reference number: HB14/23/033) as a Grade B building on 14th August 1981 by the Historic Environment Division.

For most of its history 43 High Street acted as a residence for the professional and business classes. From 1864 to 1887 the occupants included Alfred Armstrong (General Merchant); John Black (Town Commissioner); James Monroe (Linen and Cotton Yarn Merchant) and James M.J. Scott (Doctor of Medicine).  From 1887 James Johnston, co-founder of the Johnston, Allen and Co. handkerchief manufacturing company of Victoria Street, is listed as the occupant  of the house. Members of the Johnston family would remain here until the late 1970s.

Following the departure of the Johnston family, the building was converted into a commercial premises with the Lurgan Fobel Centre and DIY Hardware shop the first such tenant. Since the closure of House 2 Home Property Agents in 2013 the property has lay derelict.

Number 43 High Street has been identified as one of the Lurgan THI’s priority buildings. The plans for this fine but currently derelict property are currently in the design stage.