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 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Read Norman Nevin's unpublished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.
Comber Historical Society have decided not to hold any
meetings until further notice due to the CORONOVIRUS = COVID-19 VIRUS for safety reasons.
The last meeting to be held on the 6th April, has been cancelled. It has also been decided to defer until a later date our annual outing on 23rd May. We will keep our members and guests informed of further dates as they become available.
The Chair-person Mr Robert Bennett and the Committee wish you every Blessing during this crisis and Prays that we will meet again when things are better.
¶ "Don't know where, Don't know when, but I know we'll meet again some sunny day." ¶
1st March 2020
Development of the Linen Industry in Comber
Monday 10th February 2020 was yet another of those chilling evenings associated with winter, thankfully the weather had not deterred the sizeable crowd congregated inside the hall. At 8pm sharp our chairman Mr Robert Bennett welcomed all who had made the effort to support both the Society and our guest speaker Mr Hill Wood. Hill, a member of the Society who works silently in the background had stepped up to the plate on this occasion to address the members with his topic “ the Development of the Linen Industry in Comber”.
This Power Point presentation and its content has from the outset been a one man generated programme completely researched by Hill. The motive for the presentation was put forward by the staff at the North Down Museum in Bangor who have encouraged all Societies in their catchment area to promote an aspect of historical or cultural interest pertaining to their locality. Hill, worked diligently over a short period of time pulling together information and statistics which were expertly illustrated in the Power Point. We learned that the Linen Industry in Ulster was established by the French Huguenot’s who commenced their work at Hilden, Lisburn.
A group of Trustees established guidelines to safeguard those involved in the industry by which time a Beetling Mill was up and running at Drumbeg, the proprietor was a Mr Maxwell. Wellbrook Beetling Mill outside of Cookstown is undoubtly the best remaining example of this process. John Andrews returned to Comber in 1745 having acquired his knowledge in Belfast and established a Bleach Works at Mount Alexander. In Glasgow during the 18th century the Age of Enlightenment produced men of high quality who advanced the Linen Industry from that of intense manual labour to the building of Mills and the installation of powered machinery. This Industrial Revolution unfortunately marked the end for all those weavers who worked endlessly at their looms in small rooms at home to make a living to sustain their families. The manufacture of Linen and it’s various processes’ continued to make advances with Comber becoming one of the best producers of the material.
A short illustration of the Linen process was shown via a video which illustrated working conditions and efficiency of the employees. The Andrews Mill closed in 1997. Here, demonstrated in 60 minutes was an excellent overview of the Linen Industry from its meagre beginnings to world recognition. These few words do not fully justify the programme it was so intense, well done Hill, a wonderful presentation. Following several questions to the speaker suitable thanks on behalf of the Society were given by Des Rainey. Refreshments were available at the conclusion of yet another successful evening.
Friends, we are your Local Society please come and join us. A nominal donation of £4 is payable at the door which covers the cost of refreshments and the ongoing working of the Society. We meet on the second Monday of each month in the Parkway Centre, commencing at 8pm. At our next meeting on Monday 9th March our guest will be Mr Stephen Cameron who will speak on “the Curran Murder”
Billy McCullough, press secretary.
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 (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.
Comber Historical Society |
Programme for 2020
Comber Historical Society meets in the Community Centre, Park Way, off Killinchy Street, Comber BT23 5AR 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
- March 9th "The Curran Murder"
- Stephen Cameron
- April 6th "The history of Belfast Zoo"
- Raymond Robinson.
- SUMMER OUTING
To be arranged, then details will be published here
and in other literature. These outings are very popular
so it is essential to book early.
| Officers for 2019 - 2020.|
|Press Officer||Billy McCullough|
All elected unanimously.
|Web Editor||Adrian Hanna|
|Honorary Life Member||
Mrs Kathleen Coulter ||
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.
The Ulster Scots Agency offers a wide range of activities so why not give them a quick visit.
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.