The Gas Man Cometh...

From Harry Foy's Book  'Growing up in Portadown in the Thirties and Forties'

The provision of gas was a very welcome innovation for the people of the area. The oil lamp was replaced by the mantle, attached to a burner above the mantelpiece. You had to set fire to the mantle before it became useable. One had to be careful as the mantle was a very delicate piece of fabric and could be easily broken. It gave off a wonderful bright light. On the hob there would be a gas ring so that a cup of tea could be made quickly. Later, as people got "on their feet", the gas cooker was bought. Now mothers had three gas burners, a toaster and an oven to bake bread or cook meals. At the bottom of the street there were street lamps and we had to be careful when kicking football in case the mantle got broken.

Our lamplighter was a man called Harry Kane. He would cycle round the street on his bicycle with a short ladder attached. In his hand he carried a long pole with a wire on the end. The pole was inserted into the lamp to turn on the supply and then the area would be flooded with light. Harry was a loveable character who talked all the time about racing pigeons. The houses in the street had gas meters which took pennies and often a bent penny got stuck in the mechanism and you had to wait for the gasman before your light was restored. People sometimes used them as money boxes. An odd bob was put in and then when the man called to empty the meter, additional cash was paid back. In this way the housewives hid cash from their husbands, especially if he was on a drinking spree.
Market Day in Portadown.

Street gangs and fogging orchards.

The wee shops.

Colourful vendors.

The Canon's trip.

The Butterfly.

Greenaway's ghost.

Summer on the Bann.

The Great Lemonade Robbery.

My first day at school.

The packman.

Even the dog understood the language.


Our House.

A long throw since skittles game was born.

In tune with the band.

Clubs and tickmen.

Donald Campbell Had nothing on us.

The Obinsville Cowboys.

Singing in the streets.

Such good sports.

The days of the sand quays.

The magic of Christmas.

Bombs - not sandwiches.

Skipping, football and cigarette cards.

Escape to the movies.

My first taste of plays.

Smuggling knew no borders.

The tale of the pigs.

Three brass balls.

Thanks for the memories.

First class show!.

Who could forget Mary Ann!.

Health remedies.

Fondly Remembered.

Going To The Dogs.


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