Wall of Fame unveiled at Belfast museum

Orangemen and women prominent in a variety of walks of life have been inducted onto a new wall of fame.

The innovative feature at the Museum of Orange Heritage, Belfast, showcases upwards of 70 individuals who have exceeded in their chosen field since the formation of the Institution in 1795.

It includes former prime ministers and statesmen; entrepreneurs; war heroes; missionaries; sports personalities and explorers.

Pronounced figures among the stairwell of portraits are Sir Mackenzie Bowell (prime minister of Canada 1894-96); Rev Dr Rutledge Kane (minister and Gaelic language enthusiast 1841-1898); James Craig (first prime minister of Northern Ireland (1921-40); Dr Thomas J. Barnardo (founder of the children’s charity (1845-1905); Robert Quigg (First World War Victoria Cross recipient) and Alan Campbell (Olympic rower and bronze medallist).

Other sporting personalities to be displayed include football legend George Best and Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey. John Houlding, founder of Liverpool Football Club, is also featured.

Unionist politicians are prevalent on the wall with leading figures such as Sir Edward Carson, Ian Paisley and Jim Molyneaux joining former prime ministers, John Millar Andrews, Viscount Brookeborough, Terence O’Neill, James Chichester-Clark and Brian Faulkner.

The Order’s military heritage is also underlined with Kilkeel’s Robert Hill-Hanna, awarded the Victoria Cross in 1917, among seven such recipients and others, along with Eric Glass, the most highly decorated member of the Ulster Defence Regiment.

Bill Greer, who was driving J.F Kennedy’s limousine when the former US president was assassinated; celebrated musician Richard Hayward; and one of Northern Ireland’s leading business figures, William Wright, are other notable figures to gain recognition.

They join three ladies – Jean Bates (Queen Elizabeth medal recipient), Nancy Riach (swimmer) and Alicia Dickson-Hamilton (world champion drum major) – on public display at the outreach facility.

Museum curator Jonathan Mattison maintained the wall of fame was an appropriate tribute, serving to recognise members of the Institution who have excelled, and continue to do so, in wider society and further afield.

He said: “We are delighted to have installed our much-expanded graphic display of significant Orangemen and women. Down through the centuries, members have been involved in much more than meeting in their Orange halls or taking part in processions. They have been at the forefront of a variety of endeavours serving their respective communities around the world.

“Their lives, actions, and continued achievements, allow us to dispel some of the myths about the Loyal Orange Institution down through the centuries.

“This display will greatly enhance our offering at the Museum of Orange Heritage and, in this particular case, every picture really does tell a story of a thousand words.”

The Cregagh Road museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.


Café at the Museum brewing up for business

A new coffee shop has opened at the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast, creating three jobs.

Café at the Museum, an independently run establishment, offers a wide-ranging menu, incorporating hot food, sandwiches and beverages.

The stylish Cregagh Road restaurant is an expansion of the existing catering business of Gillian Harper, who manages a separate eatery, WhereYaBean, on the city’s Saintfield Road. It employs six staff.

Miss Harper said: “We are delighted to offer a new social hub in east Belfast where visitors to the museum at Schomberg House, local residents and the wider public, can take a break and unwind.

“Customers are assured of high quality food with our varied and appetising menu; and just as importantly, a warm welcome. As well as complimentary wi-fi, we also provide outside catering for meetings and events.”

Café at the Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 4pm.


The sash a former prime minister wore

A collarette once worn by a former prime minister of Northern Ireland has gone on display at the Museum of Orange Heritage, Belfast.

The Orange sash, belonging to John M. Andrews, was purchased in a recent public auction and donated to the outreach facility.

Mr Andrews was the province’s second prime minister following partition, serving as premier between 1940 and 1943.

The Comber native, who succeeded James Craig in the role, was also the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Throughout his life, the former MP was deeply involved in the Orange Order; serving as Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland from 1948 to 1954. He previously held the position of County Down Grand Master and was appointed as Imperial Grand Master of the Grand Orange Council of the World.

Mr Andrews’ younger brother, Thomas, died in the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, and was managing director of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

The collarette was acquired by the trustees of the Orange heritage centre in Limavady. It will now be showcased alongside other Loyal Order regalia, including collarettes belonging to another former Northern Ireland prime minister, Terence O’Neill, and local football legend, George Best, among others.

Trustee Aaron Callan said they were delighted to loan the artefact to the Belfast museum.

He said: “We believe that promoting and protecting our heritage is an important part of the Orange Order’s work. With the centenary of Northern Ireland coming in 2021 we wanted to make sure items of great historical importance relating to the anniversary are displayed as part of the celebrations.”

Museum curator Jonathan Mattison said: “This has been a very significant purchase for the Orange family. J.M. Andrews was the second prime minister of Northern Ireland and would go on to become Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. We are extremely grateful to the trustees of Limavady Orange heritage centre for placing this item with us on display.

“As Northern Ireland moves towards celebrating its first 100 years this will be a very interesting item to have on display in the museum, alongside other items associated with the political history of Northern Ireland.”

Belfast’s Museum of Orange Heritage displays a wealth of items and artefacts relating to the history of Orangeism across the world.

The Cregagh Road museum is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.