A NEW BOOK
Remembering Rolo Gillespie
by Desmond Rainey
and Laura Spence
Launch Date Monday
3rd November 2014
Comber Primary School,
The people of Comber, its Industry,
its Characters and people of action
in photographic form.
The sad passing of
Britains greatest Jazz Singer.
Comber Audio Trail
COMBER TOWN SQUARE
as it used to be.
THE TITANIC CONNECTION
New Information and links
Read Norman Nevin's unpublished
history of Comber, prefaced by a
foreword by Erskine Willis.
Jim Gracey's comprehensive
Directory of Comber
is available now as a 30mb PDF file.
A Taste of Old Comber
A good read by Len Ball &
ISBN1 - 870132 - 06 - 08
Author: Desmond Rainey and Laura Spence
Publisher: Ulster Historical Foundation
Publication Date: October 2011
Order online now at:- www.booksireland.org.uk
This book paints an intimate picture of Comber, County Down, home town of Thomas
Andrews Junior, Shipbuilder, during the thirty-nine years of his short but hugely influential life
It provides an outline of Thomas and the Andrews family; and will be gratefully acknowledged
by the many who seek to learn more about this modest man – one of the most iconic, yet
relatively unknown, personalities associated with RMS Titanic.
Thomas Andrews Junior was Chief Engineer in what was then the largest shipyard in the
world, Harland and Wolff. Many of Comber’s inhabitants worked in the shipyard and
celebrated the launch of RMS Titanic on 31st May 1911. A Chronicle of Comber describes
something of the impact on the town and the Andrews family of the tragic events of the
Join the 1912 ‘walking tour’ to see Comber as Thomas himself would have seen it – or peruse
the Ulster Directories of 1870 and 1912 to meet people he knew. Read about the Andrews
family industries, the businesses, schools, churches and organisations in the town. The book
includes a diary of local events, 1873–1912, based on articles in the Newtownards Chronicle –
as well as detailing key world events at the time. These were the subjects that would have been
discussed round the dining table at Ardara, the Andrews family home.
This illustrated book will have an intrinsic appeal for anyone with an interest in Thomas
Andrews and Titanic, and also for those interested in learning more about the historic town of
Comber, County Down.
This sign is an indication of the most recent postings.
EDMUND De WIND V C |
Memorial badges depicting
Edmund De Wind VC are
available from Comber
Historical Society the price
is £3 Sterling plus P&P.
Size is 2cm x 2.6cm or ¾" x
1 inch approximately.
Contact Editor at Sixgolds
COMBER HISTORICAL SOCIETY|
An Ulster Scots Autumn Lecture
9th October 2017 starting at 8.00 pm
In The Community Centre, Parkway, off Killinchy Street, Comber
The speaker will be Dr David Hume
The topic will be
Henry Joy and Mary Ann:
A Belfast Tragedy
Entry is by ticket only. Spaces are limited with free tickets for non-host society members on a fist come basis online from:- visitardsandnorthdown.com or Bangor Visitor Information Centre on: 028 9127 0069 or Ards Visitor Information Centre on: 028 9182 6846
Some tickets may be available on the night but cannot be guaranteed.
Refreshments will be provided
COMBER HISTORICAL SOCIETY (CHS)
Welcome to the Website of Comber Historical Society. The Society was formed in 2000 and aims to preserve and record information relating to Comber and to make it available to all those with an interest in our town. Whether you are interested in the history of the town, its people, places and events - or want to learn more about Comber as it is today, there will be something on the site for everybody. Please do get in touch with any comments and we'd be delighted to receive any old photographs or information you may have about Comber. This site will be regularly updated so please keep visiting.
You may wish to come along to meetings of Comber Historical Society. We meet on the second Monday of the month (September to April). at Comber Learning Centre, 1 Park Way Comber at 8.00 pm.
A donation of £4.00 per meeting is sought to help with costs
Some of the images to the left are clickable.
| Officers for the ensuing year.|
|Press Officer||Billy McCullough|
All elected unanimously.
|Web Editor||Adrian Hanna|
The first meeting (September) of the Comber Historical Society, the Community Centre, Parkway, to open our 2017 – 18 programme. We began by conducting business relating to the election of officers which was conducted swiftly, easily and expertly by Mr James McCullough to whom we extend our sincere appreciation. Some other minor business was dealt with and upon completion our re-instated and popular chairman Mr Robert Bennett cordially welcomed both members and visitors who had attended in pleasing numbers. That was no surprise since our guest was Laura Spence a popular and well respected speaker on the circuit. Laura always attracts a large crowd who know in advance that sound research and presentation combine for a memorable evening. Her programme this evening was entitled “Hidden Histories” a Power Point presentation completed in conjunction with Dr Eamon Phoenix detailing aspects of Belfast unknown, overlooked, perhaps forgotten, yet when projected and explained left one wondering how are these things ignored. Laura began at Saint George’s COI in High Street and proceeded through an array of buildings complimented with excellent information whilst at every opportunity encouraging audience participation. A selection of places included Rosemary Street, Bank Place, Donegal Street and several of the old alleys associated with the McCracken and Joy families. Other properties included, Danesfort, Stranmillis House, the Orange Grove, Knockbreda Parish, Friars Bush, Fernhill House, Drumbo Parish, the Kemp Stones and concluding in Dundonald with the Motte and Cleland Memorial. So glad that it was not a walking tour although many of the properties could be visited on foot now that we have been given a sound reason to visit them. Laura was warmly applauded and thanked by Mr Des Rainey on behalf of the Society. Thereafter, everyone enjoyed refreshments and tea / coffee plus the opportunity to meet with Laura and discuss her presentation. Visitors are always welcome, we start at 8 pm and suggest a £4 donation to assist with running costs.
Comber Historical Society |
Programme 2017 / 2018
Comber Historical Society meets in the Learning Centre, Park Way, Killinchy Street, Comber at 8 pm on the 2nd Monday in the month from September to May.
A £4 contribution includes Tea / Biscuits.
For further details contact:
Elizabeth McCullough (Hon., Secretary) (028) 97521014
- Sept 11. AGM and ‘Hidden Histories’
– Laura Spence
- Oct 9. Ulster Scots Autumn Talks
‘Henry Joy & Mary Ann - a Belfast Tragedy’
-Dr David Hume
- Nov 13. ‘Charles McKimm a Victorian Gardener’
- Dec 11. ‘Gillespie & his Companions’ --Monty Alexander
- Jan 8. ‘The Murder at Flush Hall’
- Brian McDonald
- Feb 12. ‘Comber at War 1914-1918’
– Desi Rainey
- Mar 12. ‘De Wind VC’
-- Lester Morrow
- April 9. ‘The Men who built Titanic Ships’
- Summer Outing to be Arranged
Comar, meeting place of the waters, that was the name given by the ancients to a settlement at the northwest corner of Strangford Lough at the confluence of the Enler and Glen Rivers. Today we call it Comber, famous for its spuds.
Nomadic hunter gatherers arrived here around 10,000 years ago. St Patrick followed in their footsteps and founded a monastery, but its fame was eclipsed by the medieval Cistercian Abbey. Today that has vanished, and St Mary's Parish Church occupies the site. 1606 saw an influx of Scots under James Hamilton and Hugh Montgomery. Among the newcomers were the ancestors of the Andrews family who brought much prosperity to Comber. By the late 18th century John, known as "the great", had established a linen bleach green, corn mills and a flour mill. In 1864 his grandson erected a flax spinning mill. Later members of the family include Thomas of Titanic fame and his elder brother John Miller, wartime prime minister.
Old Comber whiskey was produced at two distilleries in the town. Last distilling was in 1952, although the odd bottle is still available, at a price! Comber was also a railway junction, with steam trains chugging their way through for exactly 100 years from 1850. Today the long-awaited bypass runs along the route of the old track.
No visitor can fail to notice a tall monument in Comber's Georgian Square. This commemorates Sir Robert Rollo Gillespie, who fought against the French and was killed while attempting to storm the fortress of Kalunga in Nepal in 1814. His reputed last words were "One shot more for the honour of Down" Another valiant soldier who made the supreme sacrifice was Edmund de Wind, awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918.
HOW YOU MAY CONTRIBUTE
One of the aims of Comber Historical Society is to preserve and record the history of Comber by noting all historical documents, artefacts, photographs and audio-video material relating to the town. We would be delighted if anyone who has any records or memories of Comber would get in touch.
Contact Desmond Rainey on 028 9187 8482 or email :-
NOTE FROM THE WEB EDITOR
The web editor is Adrian Hanna. I can be contacted at the address shown in the box below.
Should you wish to reproduce any material from this site, please credit Comber Historical Society.
New recruits always welcome.