Singing in the Streets

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

Home entertainment was limited so street artists were always appreciated. The most popular was a man called Fisher who hailed from Lurgan. He played an accordion and had us dancing in the street. Underneath a shabby raincoat he always wore a black shirt with pearl buttons all over the collar.

Annie Dunwoody lived somewhere in Corcrain. She was only three feet six inches high and was disabled. In spite of this she walked on two small crutches into town to her pitch outside Woolworths. The manager, Mr. Houston, allowed her to keep a stool in the shop. Seated on this she entertained the passing public with a large two-sided mouth organ. She had great difficulty getting up and down off the footpath so she always said she was suing the council for building the footpath too near her ass!

Tommy Farr, nicknamed after the famous heavyweight boxer of the time, sang a few songs and did a bit of shadow boxing. Whistlers were two a penny as were banjo and saxophone players. I used to admire men who played the saw with a violin's bow. Now and again we would have visits from strong men who had stones broken on their chests with sledgehammers, or men who escaped from chains secured with heavy padlocks.

Our house was the only one in the street with a wireless so it was always packed for cup finals and the big fights. I recall one time, Joe Louis, "The Brown Bomber", was boxing and the fight from America was timed for 2.30 a.m. People were knocked up out of their beds, some arriving only half-dressed. The house was packed with people sitting on the stairs. Unfortunately, before they were all settled, the fight was over. That night Joe Louis was renamed "The Brown B******".
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.

The Gas Man Cometh.

In tune with the band.

Clubs and tickmen.

Donald Campbell Had nothing on us.

The Obinsville Cowboys.

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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