(Site is no longer operational pending a major long overdue overhaul of the entire website. Thank you for your patience. Site should still be visible and searchable for old posts.)
The Lisburn Exiles Forum is dedicated to the memory of James Goddard Collins (The Boss) who single-handedly built LISBURN.COM (with a lot of help from many contributors) from 1996 to 29th November 2012. This website was his passion and helping people with a common interest in the City of Lisburn around the world is his lasting legacy.
I don’t know much about Hilden. I know I walked there and to Tulnacross(spelling?), a few times, and my family had friends, perhaps relatives down that way, but it’s too long ago to remember. Donald, your descriptions beggar belief. My memories, whilst sometimes very clear, are sporadic. I guess you must have still been in or around the town into adulthood, so things seem more recent to you. Having said that, you sometimes write about stuff that I would expect only people as old or older than myself to remember. Charlie Dougherty knocked on our door when I was about eight or nine, which would make you about one or two. I guess he must have moved to Hilden later. I don’t know about the cause of his blindness, but, and you will find this hard to believe as I haven’t seen him for sixty years, I remember EXACTLY what he looked like. His eyes were almost closed, but for a glimpse of blue irises, which suggests to me that his condition was not retinitis pigmentosis related. I say that, having known a couple people with that type of blindness, whose eyes were wide open. Jasus, I’m soundin’ like an expert, amn’t I? As Goldsmith said, “That so much knowledge should fit into a head so small”. Well , not exactly that, but Donald will know the quote.
Guiders! Now there’s another word that sends me back through time. Where did we get all those metal rollers? A gradient anywhere would find a bunch of lads hurtling down, hanging on to a piece of cord.
The Gasworks – my brother suffered from a recurring bronchial cough, so when we went to pick up bags of coke, he was encouraged to breath in the steam. Lucky he didn’t end up with Legionnaire’s Disease.
Guiders ! Either pram wheels or the lucky ones whose relations worked as fitters in the Mills or Foundries had access to ball bearings which made that rolling sound you mention. I remember us scouring the Council Tip at Tullynacross and Barbour,s Tip for such materials, even waiting for the bin lorries arriving just in case. The used drive ropes from Barbour,s Tip served as a steering rope, they were brown, rough and I think made of sisal.
I remember Charlie only as a blind begger. I must have been about 10 when he was knocked down in Belfast, so while you knew him so earlier he must have been blind quite a while, when not since birth.He slept as I said in the covered shelter at the entrance to Hilden mill, only covering of any kind, open to wind and dust.
Me again, Donald,
We had ball bearings. Don’t know where they came from. We called them ball bearings, but isn’t that just the name of the wee iron balls within the rollers?
Does anybody remember JD Martins, opposite the Picture House. Many a wasted hour I spent standing at that corner, listening to the local wags, some of whom were incredibly humorous in the midst of poverty. As one of you recently stated, though we didn’t know it then, those were much happier times for Lisburn than many years to follow.
Dabbler,that must have been a prime peice of real estate,J.D.Martins was popular right up to the mid sixties at least,it was also a favorite spot for T.L.to entertain his friends.
A bearing is as its name suggests, part of a machine bearing friction. the friction can be reduced by decreasing the amount of contact between the two surfaces. This can be achieved by placing balls between the two surfaces if the weight of the top bearing surface is not excessive and allows for more speed , substituting rollers for balls allows more weight on the top surface but has the disadvantage of more bearing surface than balls therefore less speed can be applied. Therefore ball bearings or roller bearings were used according to the requirements Which for our giders didn,t matter a fizz, we were only interested in noise.
I remember JD Martins, particulary on Sunday evenings 45 years ago, like I said earlier we boys used to stand around the Square where ever we found a shop entrance or vacant corner and did a bit of " Talent Spotting ". The girls walked around in pairs to be ogled by us boys and whistled after. Those were the days!
We used to get our guider axles from Beano’s uncle Albert down the Quay. He had a lathe and would turn down the axles to suit the wheels, and then drill a hole in each end so we could put wire through to keep the wheels on. We mainly used pram wheels but a few kids had the ball races.
I forgot to put the bins out last night, so I got up just after six to sort them out.
After eating my muesli, and getting cups of tea for myself and my better half, I arrived, crazy as usual, at the computer to sit and ponder. I read some stuff that I had written, then looked at an old poem that I downloaded ages ago, from lisburn.com stories and poems. – Coming Home. THAT is where I had read about the tinsmith, but not until a couple of nights ago did I remember the name. God, how many times have I used that word – remember? The person who wrote that poem, if writing genuinely from stuff he knows, would know me, and all of the people that I knew. The IOGT Hall. What WAS it? I often played on the small grassy space around it, but never knew what it was. Any answers?