Market Day in Portadown

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

During the Thirties, market day in Portadown was a day of activity and colour. The long line of stalls which stretched from Bridge Street South to the Bann Bridge sold fruit, clothes and groceries. Oranges came in crates, grapes in barrels and all imported apples were sold as "lovely Yankee apples". Most of the traders came from Belfast and stored their wares in the basements of the houses in Bridge Street. Children collected the empty wooden crates for firewood.

Lard and cheese were sold in large whacks and milk by the canful. Butchers had huge sides of fresh beef hanging along the side of their shops and sawdust was scattered over the floor to soak up the dripping blood.

On both sides of Market Street, the upturned farmer's carts showed off fruit and vegetables. In the market in Mandeville Street, the farmers' wives sold butter and eggs. They were all free range - brown, white, banty, blue duck eggs and even cracked eggs. Pens filled with squealing pigs covered the Woodhouse Street area. Most of the town's eating houses were here too. You could fill up with hot soup with plenty of spuds in it and then have cooked pigs trotters.

High Street was given over to crockery, rope and tin wares. One trader used to throw large handfuls of crockery into the air and catch them shouting "Not a chip, not a mark nor blemish on one of them. If I don't sell them I'll give them away" I often waited till the last but nothing was ever given away.

I used to make my way to the Fair Green armed with an enamel bucket. The farmers wouldn't milk the cows before trying to sell them as a full udder helped a sale. But after the sale the cow was milked and if you timed it right you could go home with a free bucket of milk.

On summer days men in white coasts pushed their ice cream carts selling sliders for 1d or 2d. Treats in those days were broken biscuits or broken buns sold by the Carlton Bakers. Fruit traders also sold damaged fruit. One local wag said to a trader, "Give me tuppence worth of damaged fruit but don't put too many melons in it". Times might have been poor, but they could be happy too.

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.

The Gas Man Cometh.

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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