Articles on Local History
Ellen Elder Ships' figureheads were carved in the form of people, beasts or mythological figures in keeping with the spirit or name of the ship.
Refurbishment of Bangor Abbey
Sandra Millsopp Members visited Bangor Abbey to see the recent refurbishment work to which the society had made a modest financial contribution.
Setting sail to the Copelands
Ian Wilson A boat trip to the Copeland Islands on the Ocean Crest , skippered of course by Brian Meharg MBE.
Bangor Courthouse visit
Sandra Millsopp The courthouse on Quay Street, erected in 1866 by the Belfast Banking Company, was visited as part of the programme of summer visits for members.
Visit to Bangor Castle
Dr Sandra Millsopp The Society resumed on July 1 when Leanne Briggs from North Down Museum gave a guided tour of the exterior of Bangor Castle.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th Century (9)
Dr Sandra Millsopp High Street is still the main home of Bangor’s public houses and another one which existed in the nineteenth century was the International Hotel .
The Betsy Gray Cafe
Ian Wilson Near Six Road Ends there is a cafe named after Betsy Gray who, according to a very strong local legend, followed her boyfriend Willie Boal to the Battle of Ballynahinch in June 1798.
Bangor Boats: Part 3
Patricia Norrington Railway company steamers, the death of Captain Alexander McCorquodale, and the Bangor Boat sails again!
Bangor Boats: Part 2
Patricia Norrington Messrs Moore Brothers, the Belfast, Bangor and Larne Steamboat Company, the Bangor Boats Race, and a steamship company goes bust.
Ellen Elder That there was a County Down Sundial Trail was news to me before I started to research the Mount Stewart sundial for my garden tours.
Bangor Boats: Part 1
Patricia Norrington On Friday 19 April 1816, the wooden paddle steamer, Greenock arrived at Bangor to become first steamer to cross from Scotland to Ireland.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th Century (8)
Dr Sandra Millsopp For well over a century there was a public house at the corner of Main Street and Queen’s Parade where the Red Berry now stands.
Easter Tuesday: Bombs on Bangor
Ian Wilson 15th-16th April is the 80th anniversary of the Easter Tuesday bombing in Bangor when fourteen bombs fell and five people were killed..
Good Egg Hunting
Ellen Elder Thanks to local lad Sir Hans Sloane, the good news is that now Lent is over you can safely eat or drink chocolate without feeling guilty.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th Century (7)
Dr Sandra Millsopp The Harbour Bar stood in Quay Street opposite the harbour and the steamboat pier.
Ellen Elder On Wednesdays Lady Edith Londonderry hosted in her “Ark” of Londonderry House, an eclectic gathering of friends involved in war work such as politicians (of all persuasions), society hostesses, odd relations, king’s messengers, service personnel, artists and writers.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th Century (6)
Dr Sandra Millsopp The first mention of the Star Bar I have found was in July 1890 when Joseph Roache, proprietor, advertised for a barmaid.
Anti-Slavery Meetings in Bangor in 1846 & 1851
Patricia Norrington The famous orator and former slave Frederick Douglass and the African-American abolitionist Reverend Henry Highland Garnet both gave lectures in First Bangor Presbyterian Church.
Here is the News!
Ellen Elder I’ve been musing a bit on how and why we gather and disseminate information. Historically, the sending and receiving of messages was limited by the available technology.
Safe Driving is No Accident
Ellen Elder It’s a long time since Lady Londonderry’s father, Viscount Chaplin, abolished the man with the red flag and raised the speed limit from 4 to 14 miles per hour.
Miss Eliza Johnston (c1820-1906)
Patricia Norrington Eliza Johnston ran various hospitality establishments in Belfast and Bangor from 1866 until her death on 11 August 1906.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th Century (5)
Sandra Millsopp The Ava stands at the junction of Main Street and Catherine Place – now Dufferin Avenue. Its construction dates back to about 1840.
A Tour of Newtownards, September 2020
Patricia Norrington Patricia went on a tour organised by Ards & North Down U3A and led by Brian McDonald, Chair of Newtownards Historical Society.
Old Photos and Postcards appear in Bangor
Ian Wilson With no Seaside Revival Day this year, efforts have gone in other directions, including placing blow-ups of old photos and postcards on hoardings round the major works being undertaken by NI Water.
Life is short - smile while you still have teeth
Ellen Elder Seeing a tee shirt in a souvenir shop in Thailand put me in mind of an article about local dentists in an old edition of the County Down Spectator
The Spanish influenza 1918-1919
Patricia Norrington Patricia Norrington looks at the effect of the three waves of the Spanish Flu epidemic in North Down.
Pastimes in Times Past
Ellen Elder These days when we are all missing our organisations, clubs, societies I thought about other times when Bangorians may have had their activites curtailed.
The Curious Case of Tom McMahon, the Bangor Rower
Ian Wilson Recently there has been publicity locally for the intrepid Donegal man Henry O’Donnell, who is attempting to swim round Ireland for charity.
Ellen Elder I considered buying a turnip this week. It was very round and quite big and conjured up memories of my childhood Hallowe’ens in North Belfast.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th century (4)
Sandra Millsopp Today a public house stands in Quay Street next to the Tower House. It dates back to about 1860 when it housed the Abercorn Hotel .
Make Presidents Great Again
Ellen Elder The Democrats' donkey appellation originated with our own Irish-rooted 7th President and founder of the Democratic Party, Andrew Jackson, dubbed a 'Jackass' by his 1828 campaign opponents.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th century (3)
Sandra Millsopp The Stag's Head stood at the bottom of High Street at the corner with Bridge Street.
The Long Hole (or Big Hole)
Ian Wilson A very recent planning application seeks to make the biggest change to this Bangor feature in its history.
Do I look Irish in This?
Ellen Elder I discovered recently that men sporting a soup strainer were persona non grata in 15th century Dublin.
Ballyholme Showgrounds circa 1928
Ian Wilson Perhaps the most striking thing about this wonderful aerial view of Ballyholme is that relatively little has changed in almost 100 years!
The Temple as a banqueting house
Ellen Elder In the 18th century, Mount Stewart gained its own socially distant banqueting house, about 15 minutes’ stroll from the mansion house.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th century (2)
Sandra Millsopp The Beehive Hotel stood at the corner of Main Street and Mill Row.
North Down Museum's Heritage Project: the work of Bangor Heritage Group
Adrianne Brown North Down Museum has a fascinating exhibition of panels and a film illustrating some of the rich commercial and industrial heritage of the North Down and Ards Council area.
Bangor Hotels of the late 19th century (1)
Sandra Millsopp The Steamboat Hotel stood on the seaside of Quay Street in an area then known as The Parade.
Bangor Harbour: alive with marine wildlife
Betty Armstrong Harbours by their nature attract a myriad of marine wildlife and Bangor is no exception.
Conlig and Whitespots Lead Mines
Ian Wilson Enthusiasts for local history will be interested to know that this fascinating location is to become much more accessible.
HMT Lancastria (and other connections)
Andrew Jaggers The 80th anniversary of the sinking of the Cunard liner, HMT Lancastria , reckoned to be Britain's worst ever maritime disaster, falls on the 17th June 2020.
Ahoy the Beagle!
Ellen Elder HMS Beagle has been located in the Essex mudflats. What's the local historical connection with this ship?
Bangor Memories in the Northern Ireland War Memorial
Michael Burns (Project Co-ordinator of Oral History Projects at NIWM) The Northern Ireland War Memorial's oral history projects seek to capture the memories and stories of those local people who fought and lived through the Second World War in Northern Ireland and include a number of stories local to Bangor.
The Glen Yard
Ian Wilson Walk past the foot of Strickland’s Glen towards Carnalea and you will clearly see the remains of a slipway beside which Arthur Clapham carried on boat-building from the 1930s till about 1960.
Shipbuilding at Ballyholme
Betty Armstrong Betty looks at the history of boatbuilding ventures in Ballyholme.
Captain STS Lecky, Master Mariner, Commander RNR, FRAS, FRGS
Andrew Jaggers The life and times of an Ulsterman whose name became extremely well known among seafarers, both naval and merchant, around the world.
Sounds of a Belfast Childhood
Ellen Elder John Betjeman once said "Childhood is measured out by sounds, smells and sights before the dark age of reason grows" .
The unlikely event
Ronnie McClements A remarkable chain of coincidences.
Ian Wilson The random thoughts of a walker.
Remembrance Day Reminiscences
Ellen Elder As the 75th anniversary of VE Day approaches, I thought I would tell you about attending Remembrance Day services in two very different places.
Ellen Elder Certain wartime habits are in my genes, like saving bits of string and brown paper bags, and thinking that half an ounce of butter is much too extravagant to put on two slices of toast.
Captain William Brown of Bangor and a Mystery of the Sea
Ian Wilson Prompted by the news in The Times of 30 August 2019, that the wreck of the paddle steamer Lelia has been found off North Wales and granted protected status on the advice of Historic England …
Sir Thomas Wilson: Pillar of Ulster Society - and Bootlegger!
Ian Wilson Sir Thomas Wilson (1863-1930) was the first Mayor of Bangor after it was created a Borough in 1927, and the first Freeman of the Borough.
Visit to Pogue's Entry, Antrim
Ellen Elder Donated by author Dr Alexander Irvine in memory of his mother, the little Irish two room cottage enabled the town to celebrate his own life and times as well as that of his poverty stricken mixed marriage family.
Cockle Row, Groomsport - beachcomber's delight!
Ian Wilson The little beach in front of these ancient cottages seems at first glance like any other shingly patch of sand. But closer inspection reveals a curious thing.
Killymoon and the Stone Circles
Ellen Elder Ellen Elder reports on the Spring Outing to Kilymoon and Beaghmore.
Northern Ireland and Tierra del Fuego
Ellen Elder Captain Mahood of Portavogie and the crew of the River Lagan were shipwrecked on uninhabited Staten Island for six weeks; and then there is Captain Robert Fitzroy of the Beagle.
How First Bangor nearly lost its tree …
Ellen Elder Perhaps the best known landmark in Bangor Town Centre, for visitors and residents alike, is “the church with the big tree” on Main Street. The tree was planted around 1843 by First Presbyterian Church Bangor’s longest serving minister, Rev Hugh Woods.
Ulster Sayings that mean something to me - so they do!
Ellen Elder Ellen Elder takes a look back at some of the more amusing Ulster Sayings from her youth.
Bangor Christian Heritage Trail and Mobile App
Ards and North Down Borough Council Ards and North Down Borough Council, with support and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, are promoting the recently established “Bangor Christian Heritage Walking Trail and Mobile App”.
9th Century Bells Exhibition
North Down Musueum An exhibition in North Down Museum from 20 May to 28 June is bringing together three important early Christian bells - the Bangor Bell (above), the Lough Lene Bell and the Cashel Bell - for first time since they were cast over 1,200 years ago!
What can you tell us?
Don Patterson Can you tell us more about this mystery photograph supplied by Nick Wolsey?
An idea whose time had come …
Ellen Elder The introduction of British Summer Time in 1916 seemed simple enough - however it proved slightly more complicated in Bangor!
Local Heroes of the Great War
Ellen Elder During the Great War, the civilian population, in the absence of home radio, was receiving the bulk of its information about the conflict from local daily and weekly papers.
A History of Bangor
Ian Wilson A timeline of the town's history since 500 BC, when Bronze age settlers were living in the area, up until the present day