Author Topic: "The Shankill Gold Rush"  (Read 18678 times)

harrydunn

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5209
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2008, 05:49:31 PM »
just home from hol's found this thread it was indeed Christopher st they were found hidden in a brick wall if i remember right there was a big write up about them in the tele at the time i think the early sixties.
just thinking back it must have late sixties

Hendy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1890
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2008, 05:41:40 PM »
It was the early 60s, I have a photo of people scrambling over the rubble, I will have to go on a search for it.

RabRow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6532
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2008, 08:28:25 PM »
just home from hol's found this thread it was indeed Christopher st they were found hidden in a brick wall if i remember right there was a big write up about them in the tele at the time i think the early sixties.
just thinking back it must have late sixties

Yeah would say thats the right time 'zone' harrydunn. I mentioned earlier, I worked with a fella who lived around there. I didn't start in that place to 1965. So it was a few years after that when this happened.

glenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2008, 09:59:58 PM »
Confirmed that it was the early 60's. There's a book with an actual photograph of the scene. A digger driver knocked down a wall and a box and a half of sovereigns fell out. Stories lean towards a "Jewish Money Lender" to people that didn't trust the bank. There's an old book with a photo of the scene somewhere

GaryO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2008, 04:42:33 PM »
Can I throw in some wild unsubstantiated possibilities on this story.

My ancestor was Israel Milliken (is this where the Jewish bit comes in) he was a Presbyterian who was involved in the run up to the 1798 rebellion but was safely tucked up in Kilmainham Jail when it actually took place.

In 1805 he founded the Peters Hill Private Baths which was his main business (it is ironic that Rattler joked about that institution).  He was a popular local figure until his death in 1857 aged 86.  He lived in the Browns Square area.

During his life he was renowned as a benefactor and friend to former revolutionaries and supported them with his money.  He also helped organise various monuments to the fallen heroes.  Orr's memorial at Ballycarry for example.

I have also found a story where he purchased a house in 1833 (Cloney at Knocknacarry) for £1,020 in trust for a guy called Michael McCormick who was coachman to Dr James McDonnell.  McDonnell was the founder of the Belfast Medical School and was renowned as an expert in resuscitation.  He (McDonnell) was a supporter of the rebellion and was “on stand-by” to try and revive Henry Joy McCracken after his hanging but refused to attend.  Did Israel perform other money lending activiites in his time?

My Aunt informed me that her Mother inherited a box of gold coins from Israel which she dipped into from time to time.  Thus heresay evidence of a stash of gold.

After Isreal died his property was inherited by John Milliken who was shot dead in the 1864 Orange riots near his home in Browns Square.  Could this sudden death explain the forgotten hoard of gold coins?

So there you go, lots of conjecture but they are told in good faith, if this ties in with anything that Moochin finds out I would be delighted to hear about it.

Gary

PS Now did I ever tell you about those fairies at the bottom of my garden.... ;)

glenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2008, 05:14:37 PM »
Well if they moved those coins into Christopher st where they where found maybe not so far fetched

As for Peter's Hill Baths, I had a swim there quite a few times, that was actually the closest baths to Ardoyne at the time. Diving board was a plank if I remember right...

harrydunn

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5209
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2008, 05:34:32 PM »
Peters hill baths our school Glenwood inter went there once a week for swimming lessons as a teenager i went once a week to the baths for a bath you got a bar of soap and a towel, i think for 0ne shilling (five new pence)

GaryO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2008, 09:35:30 PM »
I believe that Peter's Hill Baths were converted from private to public ownership in 1879 and the conversion cost was £28,507 of which £7,160 was to purchase the site.

Gary

GaryO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2008, 09:43:55 AM »
I checked with a local historian friend who is almost sure that it was indeed Christopher Street that was the location of the gold find.  Unfortunately, that doesn't disprove my wild theory because Christopher Street was nearby to Israel Street which was named after Israel Milliken (you guessed it).  As it happens there was also a Milliken Street on the Falls Road as well which is a measure of his cross town respect.
As it happens Israel's mother was called Jane Sayers and her family leased out extensive properties throughout the Peters Hill area thus it would not be a surprise to believe that Israel had properties in that area.
It has been discussed elsewhere that much of the building development was instigated by spectulators who would build a row of houses then name them themselves.  Was this group of houses developed by Israel and his associates?

GaryO

PS There is absolutely no connection between Israel Milliken and "the Brown Square Millionaire" that is another story altogether.  Apart from the coincidence that the "BS MIllionaires" son was killed at the Peter Hill Baths which had been owned by Israel in his time.

glenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2008, 04:51:51 PM »
No need to check about Christopher street, it was Christopher st, there's a book with a photograph of the digger that knocked the wall down amid the demolition.

jemmy hope

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 778
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2008, 06:41:06 PM »
GaryO, it sounds like your relative would make the subject of a good book.
Two silly oul monarchs in battle did join, each wanting his head on the back of a coin, if the irish had sense they would throw both in the boyne.

GaryO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2008, 11:05:17 PM »
Hi Jemmy and what inspired you to choose that name?

The more I dig the more interesting that Israel becomes, every now and then I find something new but I am always looking for new sources of information so I am always happy to compare notes on those interested in those times.

Interesting name you have because Israel Milliken, Mary Ann McCracken and Jemmy Hope were close friends from the days of the 1798 rebellion right through to their death.  When Jemmy died in 1853 it was Israel and Mary Ann who arranged for the monument to Jemmy at the Mallusk graveyard and for Dr Madden to write the inscription.

When Dr Maddens definitive book about the rebellion was written, the interviews were held in Millikens house in Brown Square.

If you are interested I have a great book called "The Pikemen of '98" written by Con O'Leary in 1869.  It tells the story of some of the events leading up to the rebellion and describes young Israels exploits as a sort of Green Pimpernell character.  It is based on historic fact but written like fiction which was the style in those days.  It runs to 7.5kb as a pdf.

I also have a copy of a  lovely handwritten letter from Israel's father pleading for his son to be released from Kilmainham in 1799.  Isreal was arrested in the run up to the rebellion and was thus safely tucked up in jail when the big event kicked off.

I am also keen to lern more about Thomas Milliken who was Israel's Uncle he was Chairman of the Belfast Committee of United Irishmen when they put together their proclamation in 1792.  He died about 1800.

GaryO

jemmy hope

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 778
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2008, 12:17:31 AM »
GaryO, my father's family hailed from the Templepatrick area, and in my youth he said we were distantly related to Jemee. I wish I had of paid more attention to what he told us. They were fascinating times. I plan to return to Ireland in September, and I'm going to visit the gravesites and monument of the men of "98".
Two silly oul monarchs in battle did join, each wanting his head on the back of a coin, if the irish had sense they would throw both in the boyne.

GaryO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2008, 12:59:28 PM »
Hello Glenb

Thanks for the confirmation that the coins were actually found at Christopher Street but I did suggest that Isreal probably had many properties in the general area thus could have had a property there (as it is very close to Israel Street).  I have since found a story in the Belfast Newsletter dated 18th August 1864 when researching the death of John Milliken (his father inherited Israel's properties) who was killed in the 1864 Orange Riots.

"At a quarter to three o'clock this morning William Phenix, Christopher Street, William Milliken, Christopher Street, William Campbell, Birch Street, and Archibald Mulholland, Peters Hill, were arrested for wrecking the house of a man called Gordon O'Neill in Boyd Street."

So we have a Milliken living at Christopher Street after all so the possibility of Israel being the source of the Shankill Gold Rush is still there.  O0

Gary

PS What has happened to Moochin who started this thread off?


vinnym

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 136
Re: "The Shankill Gold Rush"
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2008, 04:22:14 PM »
I remember it well, it was sometime around the mid 60s and am certain  it was during the school summer holidays, it made the front page of the Belfast Telegraph.