Irish National Foresters Hall

Irish National Foresters Hall

Number 36 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 number 36 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 36 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 36. 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 36 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”.

36 North Street was designated as one of the priority buildings for the Lurgan TH due to the poor condition of many parts of the interior of the building due to damp, which have fallen into an advanced state of decay, putting at risk the property’s continued use and long-term survival.  The fragility of the building has been demonstrated by the collapse of the gable wall, which occurred shortly after the commencement of restoration works in July 2023.

With work now commencing, the ambitious project will result in the repair, reinstatement and restoration of the roofs, windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings and decorative features, as well as the creation of a new conference and meeting facilities to help bring derelict space into productive use for the INF and wider community to enjoy.


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 TH 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 general merchant business in the premises, which later evolved into a funerary and carriage hire business in c.1893. He later moved his operations to the rear of number 5 in the 1930s. Among the many later businesses occupying the shop front of  number 3 were Campbell and McGibbon (Furniture Dealers and Auctioneers), County Reproductions and the audio/visual shop Stereovision; with Frederick C. Watson (Cabinet maker) and the C. & B. Vulcanising and Motor Company (car mechanic and tyre repair business) among those who used the outbuildings at number 3.

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 the hands of new owners, Carey Developments Ltd., and supported by the Lurgan TH, work has begun to reconstruct number 3 to closely replicate the building that formerly stood here, with restoration work undertaken on number 5 to restore it to it’s former glory.  The scheme will result in the creation of two ground floor shop units and five residential apartments, once again allowing both buildings to become a part of day-to-day life of Market Street.