Street gangs and fogging orchards
From Harry Foy's Book 'Growing up in Portadown in the Thirties and Forties'
|Street gangs and fogging orchards
In the mid Thirties the sale of penny and tuppenny "Dreadfuls" with their fanciful stories led to the formation of street gangs. In the movies there was "Our Gang", the "Dead-end Kids" and the "Eastside Kids".
In the Marley Street complex, which comprised Marley Street, Francis Street and Bridge Street, there were two gangs - the "White Needles" and the "Crimson Daggers". Most of the boys who formed the gangs were altar boys, so at night they donned their black soutanes and the black clutch bag (which they used to carry their altar clothes) became a hood with slits for their eyes. They resembled a black clothed version of the Klu Klux Klan. They crept around in the dark, frightening girls and playing pranks on people.
A favourite game was to fix a button with a safety pin to someone's window. Then a black thread was tied to the pin. We stood in a concealed place and tugged on the thread to make a tapping sound on the window. Front doors in the street were never closed so a firework thrown in an empty hall caused an enormous bang.
September was always the month when the gang "fogged" orchards. Cordner's Orchard in Mill Avenue was very handy but the Minister's orchard at Drumcree Rectory was the best. The risk of being chased by the Minister's dog sweetened the adventure. Sundays in summer were spent in Selshion Moss running and jumping off "Hill 60" in our bare feet.
Our gang meetings were held in tents we built in Davidson's field, which was later the site of the Regal Cinema.
Market Day in
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