Author Topic: remembering wee mcdonnell street  (Read 6804 times)

Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #60 on: March 05, 2019, 04:56:55 PM »
As children we very rarely had shop bought clothes Our dresses and pants were made on the,old Singer sewing,machine by,our Mother . She also did alterations and these included  , turning the worn collars of men's shirts ,letting down frayed  turnups on trousers and an,old coat turned inside,out lining removed provided new,material,for another,garment   walk into any charity shop now and the racks,are full of cast off clothing  and there are recycling containers everywhere   but for ordinary people in hard times recycling was a necessary part,of.life  and like many a Belfast girl I'm still a,dab hand at,it

briggs

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #61 on: March 06, 2019, 11:13:57 AM »
My wife's father was a sewing machine mechanic in Belfast and kept the wheels of industry turning quite literally. He once put an electric motor on an old manual singer for his daughter (my wife) when she was a teenager.  Still have said machine although the wiring could do with a refurbishment.  Would love to get it up and running again.  A Project for a rainy day perhaps. On the subject of charity shops they seem to have taken over the high street.  Its a long time since I heard the cry "any owl regs" in return for a balloon etc.   I think I actually gave away something I should'nt for a ballooon and it didnt go down well at home.

Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #62 on: March 07, 2019, 09:44:36 AM »
Sewing machines and mechanics takes me back to the mid 50s when I worked as a machinist in one of the small factories in and a round Belfast city centre Small factories didn't have a resident mechanic and minor adjustments were carried out by the machinist  This included replacing the belts on the machines, The upper belt was easy but the one under the machine was  "run on " without turning off the main power The belts were made of leather and were cut  , holes punched  and joined with a belt clip  then "run on " with a strong metal rod  Watch out if you have long hair !! This was an old building with wooden stairs and floors we were surrounded by the most flammable materials There was also two ancient  gas appliances one for tea making and a strange kind of heater  In the midst of this people were allowed to smoke      and they did  Health and safety were in the future

Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #63 on: March 07, 2019, 10:01:11 AM »
P.S. Hold on to that sewing machine they didn't do fancy stitches but were built to last

briggs

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #64 on: March 07, 2019, 09:21:11 PM »
Yep, the old singers were built to last and seem to fetch a bit of money on the nostalgia / antiques market.  I think I must have sewed my finger several times playing with it by operating the treddle when I shouldnt.  I remember the wooden cover of the machine was used as an extra seat at the dinner table.  It came into play when an old lady called Mrs Wilkinson  from the neighbourhood called for dinner.at Christmas I think. And talking about nostalgia and the dinner table can still taste the vegetable soup and stew which were a major menu item in the house . Off course fish and chips on Friday from Fusco's at the corner were a treat. Can still visualise the old gas cooker in our scullery which to my knowledge never had a safety check.  Which is par for the course in the 1950s. Wonder how we all survived?


Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #65 on: March 08, 2019, 05:43:03 PM »
Mrs Wilkinson was a small gentle old lady who lived beside Sloan's shop   Already suffering from what was then known as senile decay she was a frequent visitor to our house always asking if it,was pension day  My parents,had known her a long time and treated her with patience and respect ,Sometimes I would be sent to see if she was home  , make her a cup of cocoa and even put a new mantle on her gas light !!!(1952)   A round this time my Father at some expense  had purchased new bi focal glasses  which he needed for work as he did a lot,of writing in his job  He only had them a short time when they mysteriously disappeared  The house was searched and the inhabitants interrogated but the glasses didn't turn,up  He was engaged in one,of,these searches one morning when Mrs Wilkinson  arrived she asked him what  he was looking for  and when he told her she opened her handbag to reveal quite a few pairs of glasses  My Father instantly recognized his missing ones among them  but waited untill she said I " If any of,those suit you I'll let you keep them "     

Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #66 on: March 08, 2019, 05:51:51 PM »
P.S. Mrs Wilkinson had quite a lot,of Grandchildren I know of three of them   became a well known boxer  one an actress who appeared in a long running " soap " on R T E, and another  international star,of,musical theatre,       

briggs

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #67 on: March 09, 2019, 08:59:17 PM »
Was one of the grandchildren Jim McCourt. He won bronze as a boxer I think at the Olympics. I have somewhere lots of postcards from him to an Aunt who lived in Leeson Street. She was very proud of the fact that he sent her these from all over the world.  I remember he toured on an open topped lorry around the streets after his performance in the games. In the 90s I worked with a girl called Nualla McCourt who had married into the family and did good work for deprived children. Think they had an electrical repair shop at the end of Leeson Street and Grosvenor Road.

Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #68 on: March 10, 2019, 01:46:55 PM »
No not Jim mc Court  and you are correct his family had a shop bottom of Leeson St which started, out I think doing bicycle repairs and I have a vague memory of a neighbour taking a battery from their radio  to the shop  in late 1940s  I was,living in London 1964  year, of Tokyo Olympics so missed the local celebrations when he ,won a medal   Mc Courts shop was next  to O Neil's butcher's and a few years ago one of the O Neil  family,was,having a clear,out,and came across,a photograph of the lady who received those post cards   It was passed,on,to me,by,an old friend from Mc Donnell St, I seem to remember Some of Jim Mc,Courts family, were staff,in Grosvenor,Rd, Pos    t Office   

briggs

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #69 on: March 10, 2019, 08:51:48 PM »
Somewhere in the family photo archives I have a photo of a Kevin Wilkinson who must be related to the old lady. And yes I remember the McCourt's shop very well, think it was next to or close to a shop owned by a Jack Digby. Opposite was a pub at the corner of Leeson Street and Grosvenor Road.  And round the corner on the Grosvenor Road were several shops e.g.Mrs Curran's fish shop, The Maypole dairy and off course Frank Beattie's haberdashery.  I was a helper at Franks shop and to my shame I remember helping to deliver a roll of linoleum to a house in Albert Street only to run it through the fanlight on the way in. Bit Laurel and Hardy but I was only about 10 or 11. Think my employment terminated after that. Wonder why?

Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #70 on: March 11, 2019, 06:47:28 PM »
I Walked thatstretch of the Grosvenor Rd many times  and when my siblings were small carried them in an effort to get them to "nod off "  Like a lot,of,the old roads there was a bit of "character " about,it and plenty of  characters as,well  ,The pawnshop always had a few interesting items on display, and The Emporium next door ladies and children's wear Kerr's,hall great for,playing  "wee house ",dry cleaners , Beatties hard ware  then the,Post Office Shepherds Dairy Mrs Currans fish shop Albert Corry's shoe shop    Cooks,Undertakers,and Joe Brown's house Danny Farrells,first wee shop  then Davy Bowens pub which went round,into Leeson St where Joe Brown had a yard I think he had cows in during the winter and one of my earliest memories is of my Father milking a goat in it in the mid 19 40s     

briggs

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #71 on: March 11, 2019, 10:20:30 PM »
There was a Maggie Laceyís on the Grosvenor Road as well. She wore a Belted trench coat and a beret and sold womenís wear. Either Mrs Curranís or Johnís fish shop had delicious potted herrings. Remember getting bags of willicks and dulce as well. Willicks required a pin for extraction. Logged in the memory is the old Falls baths rent a tub for a scrub facility which cost a few pence and of course the swimmers itself where a one size fits all pair of swimming trunks could be hired plus a towel etc. And for a glamorous day out there was the coolers outdoor pool at Falls park. Both the towel and the trunks had the Belfast city council emblem on them presumably to prevent theft but canít thin who would want to take them.

Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #72 on: March 12, 2019, 09:22:23 PM »
For people who had only a cold water tap and not,a Belfast sink but a stone trough called a jawbox in the scullery  the Public Baths were a boon   Hot bath small rough towel and a piece of soap for sixpence  Even cheaper were, the bags of willicks and dulse,from Mrs Currans fish shop , crab apples small very hard pears and raw rhubarb dipped,in sugar I don't think these would be considered "treats " by children today   Candy apples and honey comb were sold from people's houses  and an old Lady every child in the district called "Granny " made and sold gingerbread  in her house family life went on as usual during the gingerbread transactions and no fear,of muggings she had big sons and kept the shop money,in a pocket in her petticoat,under a long black skirt which matched her little,black hat and shawl   

briggs

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #73 on: March 12, 2019, 10:27:46 PM »
Bit of a cliche but it was a time when doors where left unlocked and there was a a sense of neighbourly concern that possibly does not exist today. However there is always hope for the future. One of my best memories is my mum giving my breakfast boiled egg to a tramp saying he needed it more than me. And of course another memory is giving pennies to the nuns who called at the door their black and white outfits fairly scary for a small child.  And in school the collections for the now probably politically incorrect black or sometimes white babies at that time.  We had to have a penny and our parents could ill afford it but always gave. My dad always brought home a bar of 5 boys chocolate which seemed to have some orphan like connotation. And talking of chocolate and treats there is a memory of going to the local Kennedy's or Hughes bakery for "smalls" i.e. fresh baked or rejected items just out of the oven.

Maymac

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Re: remembering wee mcdonnell street
« Reply #74 on: March 13, 2019, 08:37:02 PM »
As soon as Lent began the pennies we  brought to school each Friday for babies in far away countries were redirected to babies of a more home grown variety   We were told poor orphans  would benefit from this money   , and I believe that schools in N Ireland were the most generous in giving to this fund   As well as this every week each child,in the class took it in turn to provide something for a raffle,   The prizes were brought from home and it was not unusual for a packet of jelly or block of margarine   to be the lure ? to buy a raffle ticket  A child from a very poor family brought her contribution one Friday and mine was the winning ticket  I accepted my prize and carried it home,to Mc Donnell St where our family cat was the happy recipient of a herring sandwich  which had been in the classroom all afternoon wrapped in a piece of grubby paper