Smuggling knew no borders

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

During the war, a new pastime developed. It was smuggling. Every Friday, buses left for towns down south, Dundalk, Castleblaney, Monaghan and Carrickmacross. People saved for one of these trips for weeks. They smuggled everything from Hafner's skinless sausages to wallpaper. The main topic of conversation in factories and shops was what had been smuggled, how it was smuggled and what would be smuggled next time round.

The big attraction for housewives was sugar and meat. For girls there was the luxury of nylons instead of leg tan. People put distemper on their walls and stippled it with a sponge to make a design. If you could smuggle a few rolls of wallpaper, it was an extra comfort for the home. Girls got off the bus thin and then a few hours later boarded again, this time mysteriously "pregnant". When the bus arrived at the customs on the way home there was a last minute scurry to hide goods. Talk about slimming, once out of sight of the customs point, people lost weight immediately. Some people left the bus before it reached the customs and then crossed fields, joining the bus further down the road.

On the trains goods were hidden under the seats or hung on cords on the outside door handles. As the train left the station, the window was lowered and the goods recovered. Coats were fashioned with additional pockets and children were made to sit on top of smuggled goods. Cars were fitted with false boots and no opportunity was missed to get the additional comforts of life.

Then the professionals appeared on the scene. Cars, vans and lorries travelled in the dead of night along back roads, carrying alcohol, cigarettes, sugar and wallpaper. Farmers drove cattle and pigs across the border. Successful smugglers made a fortune but those who were caught had the goods and their vehicles confiscated. All in all it was an exciting time which added a bit of spice to people's lives.
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.

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.

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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