Belfast Forum

Belfast Boards => Belfast History and Memories => Topic started by: jamie on August 02, 2008, 11:34:38 PM

Title: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: jamie on August 02, 2008, 11:34:38 PM
My uncle Seamus Brennan from Beechmount r.i.p. used to talk about this guy and his exploits.  I was too young then to remember but he and my dad Charlie McLaughlin of Albert place r.i.p used to have stories to tell.

If anyone knows I would be glad to hear.  Jamie   
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: mousey on August 03, 2008, 01:10:47 AM
im a bit rusty on this one . but there was. wasnt he a bouncer in st teresas at one time. or am i confused
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: bnf on August 03, 2008, 01:28:48 AM
mousey & jamie,
there definitely was a 'silver' & 'stormy', maybe a wee bit larger than life.
but hit the search button of the forum and you'll build up a picture.
bnf.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: bhelena on August 03, 2008, 10:30:47 PM
im a bit rusty on this one . but there was. wasnt he a bouncer in st teresas at one time. or am i confused

are you talking about st Teresas school glen rd
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: andy on August 04, 2008, 08:21:19 PM
 Jammie,

 there certainly was he was a street fighter i remember
 one time he went looking for Stormy weatherall, he was
 going to tear his head off,Stormy came into my dads
 pub [ mayo la arms sandy row] the next night with a few
 bruises and damaged knuckles, my dad told him silver was
 out looking for him. aye bob i know i met up with him and
 two of his cronies bottom of boyne bridge and was forced
 to put them in hospital  [ now stormy was a hard man]
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: twocoats on August 04, 2008, 09:21:04 PM
There certainly was a Silver McKee. He has been discussed thoroughly on the Forum a while ago.
There never will be another one.
Here he is in his later years.
Coats

(http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z83/johnnietwocoats/silver.jpg)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: jamie on August 04, 2008, 11:38:15 PM
mousey & jamie,
there definitely was a 'silver' & 'stormy', maybe a wee bit larger than life.
but hit the search button of the forum and you'll build up a picture.
bnf.
Glad you remembered that I thought perhaps I had the name wrong thk
bnf :) :)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: jamie on August 04, 2008, 11:40:42 PM
Jammie,

 there certainly was he was a street fighter i remember
 one time he went looking for Stormy weatherall, he was
 going to tear his head off,Stormy came into my dads
 pub [ mayo la arms sandy row] the next night with a few
 bruises and damaged knuckles, my dad told him silver was
 out looking for him. aye bob i know i met up with him and
 two of his cronies bottom of boyne bridge and was forced
 to put them in hospital  [ now stormy was a hard man]
Thanks for that Andy, I remember he also spoke about stormy weather but as he was a great man for amusing kids I thought he had made it up.   :) :)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: twocoats on August 05, 2008, 12:04:10 AM

`Hard men of Belfast. Silver McKee and Stormy Weather’ (Rushlight Magazine. No date c. 2002. Please note that I have left the punctuation and spelling as in the original)

Belfast has always been a rough and tumble kind of town, from its earliest days it has been an important international seaport, with its huge shipyard and the biggest linen and rope industries in the world it was on a par with any other major city of the universe, and of course we had our characters and legends.
   Growing up in 1950s Belfast I can clearly remember the accounts of two famous Belfast characters, two men who made their mark in local folklore through their street fighting abilities, “Stormy” Weather and “Silver” McKee. and you’d think appropriately enough in a city that is known for its religious differences and divides, one was catholic and the other a protestant, not that either of the two men were sectarian in their viewpoints, “Stormy” came from the protestant Shankill and “Silver” from the catholic Market district, but us kids held them in equal esteem…but I have to be honest…when ever these two met to fight, our cheers would have been for our co-religionist, for after all that old orange and green is never too far removed from any of us, dont let anyone kid you that it is.
   But I will always be fair and of “Stormy” I must speak as I have heard of him, a decent man and known for his religious tolerances, and a trade unionist activist as well when he worked at Isaac Andrews Flour Mill. One story I grew up on, about “Stormy”, was that an orange bully was slagging off a fellow worker at the mill, who happened to be a not too robust catholic on hearing the sectarian insults “Stormy” slapped the Orangeman all over the place and said, “keep that crap out of here we are all brothers here”. True or fiction I cant be sure of my next story of “Stormy”, but here it is any way, back in the mid 1950’s, televisions hit the world of working class people and before long a neighbour near you had one and so the push went on to `keep up with the Jones’s, as one would say. “Stormy”, like every other husband, was under pressure from the wife to get a television set and she forever reminded him that Mrs so and so next door has got one. This night “Stormy” sat reading his “Telegraph”, the wife kept on about the television next door until he could take no more, and if anyone knew the old Shankill houses the dividing wall between the houses was only 4 inches and crumbly as well. “Stormy” picked up a lump of 4x2 timber and said “you want a television?….Ill give ya a television”
   And with one mighty clout he knocked a hole in the wall dividing his and the home of the neighbours with the television, through the hole the neighbours and their new television could clearly be seen, “There”, said Stormy, “there is a television for ya...watch that and give my head peace woman”, and at that he sat down and continued to read his newspaper.
   “Silver” McKee, was a cattle drover, or a cow walloper, as they called them in old Belfast years ago. He would have herded the cattle down to Allam’s cattle market ready for shipment to England and elsewhere. A rough man and nobody’s fool which a certain peeler discovered one day. What happened was, this R.U.C. Seargent was walking along May Street pushing his bicycle as they did in those days when “Silver” walked passed him from behind. Now, the seargant would well have known who Silver was, and few locals didn’t know that the peeler, a big countryman, fancied himself as a fighting man. So the peeler called after Silver “Heyboy, why did you kick my bike?” Silver asked him if his head was ok. To which the peeler said he’d break Silver’s jaw. “Maybe you’d like to take that hat and tunic off and try”, said Silver. Now, the old adage is that when a peeler would enter into such an agreement he ceases to be a peeler and so his position would have no advantage or bearing in the fight whatever the outcome.
   The peeler propped his bike against a wall, removed his tunic and cap and set them on the cross bar of the bike and took up a John L. Sullivan pose, but the sad fact is, he posed too long, for Silver landed a big straight right on the peelers chin sending him sprawling on the pavement.
   As you know…peelers can never be trusted…for you see, the peeler later stood in court with his broken jaw and told how Silver attacked him for no apparent reason and Silver got a month in Crumlin Road…as for the peeler?,. well he disappeared off the streets of Belfast probably back to Ballygobackwards where he would have held the locals spellbound with his daring tale of how he broke the jaw of the hardest man in the City of Belfast when he was stationed there.
   “Stormy” and  “Silver” met and fought each other many times through the years “Silver” would have knocked on “Stormy’s” door and “Stormy” on “Silver’s”, to have a “rematch” there and then, much to the delight of any who were nearby. On some occasions Silver won and on others, Stormy, but who ever won the crowd were sure to see a hard clean fought fight by two fighting men.
   Oh there were many capable street fighters in Belfast at that time and sure, some may have been harder but none left their mark in the working class folklore of the place than the boul Stormy Weather and Silver McKee. Of course they may have had their faults and there are those who will line up now that they aren’t around to list those faults but say what they will, true or not, the fact is…Stormy and Silver  have inscribed their names in Belfast folklore.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: twocoats on August 05, 2008, 12:07:14 AM


Check this link. Coats

http://www.belfastforum.co.uk/index.php/topic,1663.msg14305.html#msg14305
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: giannineo on August 05, 2008, 12:19:17 AM
I was the toughest guy in Ballynafeigh Brownies ;)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: twocoats on August 05, 2008, 12:33:33 AM
Silver and his Mum.

(http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z83/johnnietwocoats/silver2.jpg)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: bhelena on August 05, 2008, 01:30:48 AM
I was the toughest guy in Ballynafeigh Brownies ;)
does that mean you were a cookie  :2funny: :D ;D
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: Mageeka on August 05, 2008, 02:35:51 PM
does that mean you were a cookie  :2funny: :D ;D

Exactly Helen
G Man was a bouncer at the old "Belfast Cripples Institute," as it used ro be named
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: Dub on August 05, 2008, 04:13:20 PM
Silver worked in Allams with my Uncle Billy Maynes.  Billy was a foreman there.  Silver and Billy were regular buddies in the pub after work. On one occasion there was a disagreement and Silver asked Billy outside to sort things out.  Billy always carried his favourite blackthorn stick with him, and looking at the large handle on the stick, he said, "Silver you have very hard fists, but this black thorn is just a wee bit harder". To this Silver laughed, forgot the disagreement and continued his drinking along side Billy.  On one occasion  in Allam's yard I saw Billy drop a dangerous runaway bull to its knees with a  single blow from the blackthorn. Billy and Silver remained good friends until Billy died of cancer in 1972. Indeed Silver was M.C. at Billy's  funeral, organising the lifts from Billy's House in Standfield Street to St Malachys.

                                                                                                  All the best, Dub.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: Dolly on August 07, 2008, 12:48:36 AM
MAYBE YOU CAN READ THIS
YES THERE WAS A SILVER  AND WE ALL LOVED HIM VERY MUCH
(http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee123/Dolly737_2007/softsilver.jpg)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: Sparty on June 04, 2018, 01:24:08 PM
There was indeed a Silver McKee. My great uncle Dinger McGrath used to tell me about him, worked with him on the door of Barnett's back in the day. Apparently he was a wee bit too fond of his grog and one night made the mistake of stepping to Dinger. A few seconds later and it was all over - 3-4 punches and a sickening kick to the face was all it took. They remained great friends after that though.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: danso on June 04, 2018, 11:04:07 PM
Pigeon Lowe was the hard man of the market .he sorted silver out  :D
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: Jack The Kipper on June 05, 2018, 07:43:47 AM


How on earth did 'Silver' ever get his name of being a 'hard man' ?  reading the posts on here he appears to have got his pan knocked in every time he set foot outside his door.  :)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: Sparty on June 05, 2018, 10:09:44 AM

How on earth did 'Silver' ever get his name of being a 'hard man' ?  reading the posts on here he appears to have got his pan knocked in every time he set foot outside his door.  :)

 :D
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: HarryHippo on June 05, 2018, 11:30:38 AM

How on earth did 'Silver' ever get his name of being a 'hard man' ?  reading the posts on here he appears to have got his pan knocked in every time he set foot outside his door.  :)
Sounds like they were queing up outside his door to give him a slap  ;)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: jjmack on June 05, 2018, 06:18:52 PM
Blair 'Paddy' Mayne gave Silver a slapping in Queens Square.  :)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: harrydunn on June 05, 2018, 09:41:25 PM
I was only a kid late 40s and used to get my hair cut in barber shop in Snugville Street right next to the Bakery, Stormy was a regular and always played a game of draughts with Victor the Barbour, I can say Stormy loved us kids and would always offer to pay for your haircut if you could beat him at a game, needless to say I never did but he still paid for my haircut.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: derdrei on June 06, 2018, 12:46:17 AM
I was only a kid late 40s and used to get my hair cut in barber shop in Snugville Street right next to the Bakery, Stormy was a regular and always played a game of draughts with Victor the Barbour, I can say Stormy loved us kids and would always offer to pay for your haircut if you could beat him at a game, needless to say I never did but he still paid for my haircut.
Stormy must have been a kindly man being good to kids. I think Silver was to fond of the drink.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: Jack The Kipper on June 06, 2018, 07:32:47 AM

Blair 'Paddy' Mayne gave Silver a slapping in Queens Square.  :)

Sorry jj but it never happened, its just urban myth, Blair never fought either Silver or Stormy, he wouldn't soil his knuckles on them, he travelled with a different class of people.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: Sparty on June 06, 2018, 09:55:37 AM
Mayne would have destroyed them at the same time.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: jjmack on June 06, 2018, 07:29:15 PM
Sorry jj but it never happened, its just urban myth, Blair never fought either Silver or Stormy, he wouldn't soil his knuckles on them, he travelled with a different class of people.

Sorry, I beg to differ.  ;)
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: jjmack on June 07, 2018, 07:58:55 PM
I was only a kid late 40s and used to get my hair cut in barber shop in Snugville Street right next to the Bakery, Stormy was a regular and always played a game of draughts with Victor the Barbour, I can say Stormy loved us kids and would always offer to pay for your haircut if you could beat him at a game, needless to say I never did but he still paid for my haircut.

I rember Stormy quite well. Had many a chat with him on the Shankill on a Saturday morning. He was always quite pleasant as we chatted about dog and horse racing, boxing and where the toss would be that weekend. Strange although he was well known as a hardman  he was always quite pleasant and the oul dolls would never pass him without saying hello to him. He helped a lot of people in Browns Square and the Shankill area. I also remember Pinky Beckett who was as strong as a bull and had fists like shovels. Wee Joker Andrews could also handle himself. He would saunter up the Shankill singing to himself and repeating 'I'm the champ, I'm the champ'. Harmless as he was he would later be murdered by cowards in the Four Step Inn.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: mollyritarooney on May 13, 2019, 10:16:43 AM
Hello Jamie My late Mother Molly Rooney and her late sister Rita lived in Iveagh Street Falls Road and were great childhood pals with your late uncle Seamus Brennan. I heard about your uncle and Harry Spence etc all my life.
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: James James on May 13, 2019, 12:29:27 PM
"Belfast Hardmen"     http://www.belfastforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=95.0 (http://www.belfastforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=95.0)

Remember the term "Hardman" (Street Fighters)
Well there were quite a few in Belfast and here are just a few who I recall
Silver Mc Kee, Stormy Weatherall, Frankie Drain, Seamus Doyle, who had one eye and wore a black patch
 Buck Alec and Bo Bradley
Anyone know these legends, or others and do you have any stories on them ? 

"Belfast City Characters"          http://buckalecrobinson.rushlightmagazine.com/char.html (http://buckalecrobinson.rushlightmagazine.com/char.html)


"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man’s lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times.”  .. Cicero"

"Silver McKee & Stormy Weather - By Joe Graham"

"Belfast has always been a rough and tumble kind of town, and we were never short of colourful characters and legends, and perhaps in the tradition of a Seanachie, the stories were slightly exaggerated and maybe even tinted but sure aren’t all heroes said to be “seven foot in height with some inches to spare.”"

"Growing up in 1950'S Belfast I can clearly remember the accounts of two famous Belfast characters, two men who made their mark in local folklore through their street fighting abilities, "Stormy" Weather and "Silver" McKee. One a Protestant, one a Catholic, and you may think that their many fights were over religion, if both had been Protestant, or both Catholic they still would have fought, the title ‘hardest man in Belfast’ was at stake."

"Stormy" came from the protestant Shankill and "Silver" from the Catholic Market district, and us kids held them in equal esteem ..but I have to be honest ..when ever these two met to fight, our cheers would have been for our co-religionist, for after all that old Orange and Green is never too far removed from any of us, don’t let anyone try to fool you on that, Scratch deep enough and the Orange or Green blood will flow."  etcetera,...

http://www.irishnews.com/notices/livesremembered/2015/02/07/news/compassionate-hard-man-had-fists-of-stone-115197/ (http://www.irishnews.com/notices/livesremembered/2015/02/07/news/compassionate-hard-man-had-fists-of-stone-115197/)

"Compassionate 'hard man' had fists of stone"

"PATRICK 'COCO' MCAULEY"

"HE HAD fists of stone and the arms of a circus strongman. Patrick 'Coco' McAuley belonged to an era when every area had its hard men, fearsome characters whose courage and fighting strength were renowned. However, Patsy was also a man of compassion and his death marked the passing of a north Belfast legend whose exploits became known far and wide."

"Born in Ardoyne's Brompton Park in 1943, he was one of six children of Harry McAuley, a former professional boxer, and Sarah Monaghan, a sister of the legendary 'Rinty' Monaghan."

"It was a local man, Patsy Gillespie, who christened him 'Coco' after he had been discovered in the back of an upturned van covered from head to toe in cocoa powder. Boxing was in Patsy's blood and he won many Ulster and Irish titles during his career in the ring." etcetera,...
Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: GandT on May 13, 2019, 10:33:14 PM
[/color][/font][/size]
How on earth did 'Silver' ever get his name of being a 'hard man' ?  reading the posts on here he appears to have got his pan knocked in every time he set foot outside his door. [/color][/font][/size]
:)
[/quote]

 :D Brilliant and totally accurate if we were to listen to every story told about McKee told from certain perspectives. Certainly here - at least so far - Silver sounds like an actual and prospective punch-bag for every so-called hard man or over-blown hero. Whenever I hear the stories I am mystified as to how and why such guys become latter-day heroes in the vein of Jesse James and others. Mind you, depends on who was telling them and what folk-lore abounded in the community at the time and if we were to listen to all of them Silver's friends, acquaintances and would-be historians must number in the tens of thousands.  Usually the stories were a case of 'our hard man's better than your hard man' or somebody claims that their great-uncle Seamus or Sammy or some super-hero figment of imagination or exaggeration 'bate' them.

Title: Re: Was there really a "Silver" McKee
Post by: James James on May 13, 2019, 11:12:28 PM
For those very few who might never have already heard of him,... the great Joe Graham is widely regarded as being Mr. Belfast History.

http://buckalecrobinson.rushlightmagazine.com/char.html (http://buckalecrobinson.rushlightmagazine.com/char.html)

"Belfast City Characters"

"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man’s lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times.”  .. Cicero"

"Silver McKee & Stormy Weather - By Joe Graham"

Quote,...

Belfast has always been a rough and tumble kind of town, and we were never short of colourful characters and legends, and perhaps in the tradition of a Seanachie, the stories were slightly exaggerated and maybe even tinted but sure aren’t all heroes said to be “seven foot in height with some inches to spare.”

Growing up in 1950'S Belfast I can clearly remember the accounts of two famous Belfast characters, two men who made their mark in local folklore through their street fighting abilities, "Stormy" Weather and "Silver" McKee. One a Protestant, one a Catholic, and you may think that their many fights were over religion, if both had been Protestant, or both Catholic they still would have fought, the title ‘hardest man in Belfast’ was at stake.

"Stormy" came from the Protestant Shankill and "Silver" from the Catholic Market district, and us kids held them in equal esteem ..but I have to be honest ..when ever these two met to fight, our cheers would have been for our co-religionist, for after all that old Orange and Green is never too far removed from any of us, don’t let anyone try to fool you on that, Scratch deep enough and the Orange or Green blood will flow.

But I will always try to be fair and of "Stormy" I must speak as I have heard of him, a decent man and known for his religious tolerances, and a trade unionist activist when he worked at Isaac Andrews Flour Mill.

One story I grew up with, about "Stormy", was that an Orange bully was slagging off a not too robust Catholic fellow worker at the mill, on hearing the sectarian insults "Stormy" slapped the Orangeman all over the place and said, "keep that crap out of here ,we are all brothers in here".

True or fiction I cant be sure of my next story of "Stormy", but here it is any way, back in the mid 1950'S, televisions hit the world of working class people and before long a neighbour near you had one and so the push went on to 'keep up with the Jones’s, as one would say.

"Stormy", like every other husband, was under pressure from the wife to get a television set and she forever reminded him that Mrs so and so next door has got one.

This night as "Stormy" sat reading his "Telegraph ", the wife kept on about the television next door until he could take it no more, and if anyone knew the old Shankill houses the dividing wall between the houses was only 4 inches and crumbly as well.

"Stormy" picked up a lump of 4x2 timber and said, "you want to a television ?... I'll give you a television"

And with one mighty clout he knocked a hole in the wall dividing his and the home of the neighbours with the television, through the hole the neighbours and their new television could clearly be seen, "There", said Stormy, "there is a television for you.. watch that and give my head peace woman", and at that he sat down and continued to read his newspaper.

"Silver" Paddy McKee, was a cattle drover, ‘or a Cow Walloper‘, as they better known as.

He would have herded the cattle down to Allam's cattle market ready for shipment to England and elsewhere.

A rough man and nobody's fool which a certain peeler discovered one day.

What happened was, this R.U.C Sergeant was walking along May Street pushing his bicycle as they did in those days when "Silver" walked passed him from behind.

Now, the sergeant, a big countryman, would have well known who Silver was, called after him, "Hey boy, why did you kick my bike "?.

Silver turned and look quizzically, “What’s wrong with you.. I didn’t kick your bike ”?.

The peeler was obviously spoiling for a fight , placing his bike against the wall, he said to Silver, “Don’t give me any of yer oul lip or I’ll break your jaw”.

Well he was going to have his fight, for Silver answered, "Maybe you'd like to take that hat and tunic off and try".

Now, the old adage is that when a peeler would enter into such an agreement he ceases to be a peeler and so his position would have no advantage or bearing on the fight whatever the outcome.

The peeler removed his tunic and cap and set them on the cross bar of the bike and took up a John. L Sullivan pose, but the sad fact is, he posed too long and Silver landed a big straight right on the peelers chin sending him sprawling on the pavement.

As you might suspect.. peelers can never be trusted ..for you see, the peeler later stood in court with his sore jaw and told how Silver attacked him for no apparent reason and Silver got a month in Crumlin Road...as for the peeler ?, well he disappeared off the streets of Belfast probably back to Ballygobackwards where he would have held the locals spellbound with his daring tale of how he broke the jaw of the hardest man in the City of Belfast when he was stationed there.

"Stormy" and "Silver" met and fought each other many times through the years "Silver" would have knocked on "Stormy's" door and "Stormy" on "Silver's", to have a "rematch" there and then , much to the delight of any who were nearby.

On some occasions Silver won and on others, Stormy, but who ever won the crowd would sure to see a hard clean fought fight by two fighting men.

Oh there were many capable street fighters in Belfast at that time and sure, some may have been harder, but none left their mark in the working class folklore of the place than the bold Stormy Weather and Silver McKee.

“Silver” died a few years ago and the last I heard “Stormy” had moved to Southampton in the early days of the troubles.

Funnily the same town where lives a Market man who once defeated “Silver” in a toe to toe fight in Castle Street many years ago.

Of course they may have had their faults and there are those who will line up, now that they aren't around, to list those faults but say what they will, true or not, the fact is.... Stormy and Silver have inscribed their names in Belfast folklore.