Summer on the Bann

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

The banks of the River Bann was our playground when we were young. Behind the pumping station, close to the Bann Bridge, the reed grass was five foot high - a wonderland of jungle. Here we played and chased water hens. It was here too that we learned about boats. Joe Grimason ran a boat hire business beside the bridge and he taught us how to row a boat.

During the Scottish holiday week, the town was invaded by exiles visiting friends and family. A row on the the Bann was a great attraction. There was always a couple of bob to be earned rowing visitors to the Point of Whitecote and back.

The Bann was also our swimming pool. Marley Street gangs swam on one side of the river while the Edenderry boys swam on the other. We undressed high up in the girders and then climbed down a big thick rope given to us by one of the tug men. The nearby stream which ran from Corcrain through the park and past Francis Street was where we sailed homemade boats or threw in tin cans and then tried to sink them by hitting them with stones. There were a lot of rats in the river and we used to shine torches along the banks at night to spot their beady eyes as they scurried around.

I can recall the River Bann being frozen over twice. On one occasion Ned McIlkenny, a coalman, drove his horse and cart across the Bann from Sand Quay to Foundry Street. On another occasion, Shillington's Coal yard caught fire and burning coals fell into the water. That night some lads from Edenderry took to the water for a midnight dip.
Market Day in Portadown.

Street gangs and fogging orchards.

The wee shops.

Colourful vendors.

The Canon's trip.

The Butterfly.

Greenaway's ghost.

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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