Frank Hall, one-time Newry draper and later RTE radio personality recalled his young days in The Valley, Newry’s Cecil Street.
In my time Number 36 – later the home of Mary McGuigan – just two doors away from our house at Number 40 – was the residence of Mrs Sally Gamble who sold sweets, sugar, Willie’s bread, and buns and cakes from McCann’s Bakery in her front room. She also sold cigarettes, mainly Woodbine that could be purchased singly for a halfpenny.
Mrs Gamble’s husband Billy lost an arm in France during the Great War. He owned a horse that had the field behind our house. He died as a result of fall through the roof of the Queen’s Theatre that was situated in the loft behind the sweet shop of Lisa Garland in the first house of Cecil Street, Number 6. I never did find out where numbers 2 and 4 were.
The family at Number 38 were really a merry lot. Mr and Mrs Mick Magee had Billy, Dermot, Gerry, Imelda and Kathleen. Though unemployment was Newry’s principal occupation at that time, they simply ignored that and made everyone happy.
The sport was mighty on summer evenings on the pavement in front of the houses. The Magee brothers were without equal on the French fiddle (now known as the mouth organ). They were occasionally joined on the flute by Jimmy and Dominick Loughran from Wilson’s Row, an L-shaped addition to our street that formed an open football-friendly area. Then only the music of angels could have exceeded them for sweetness. That’s how I saw it on summer evenings about half-eight, when the dying rays of the sun fell in a certain way across Cecil Street.
1 of 2: memories of Frank Hall