John McCullagh September 13, 2007
clanryeave22.jpg

More on the first homes built in Clanrye Avenue two generations ago ….


The Frontier Sentinel reporter of the time – December 1947 – himself visited one of the new homes in Rooney’s Meadow – as he said, ‘Clanrye Avenue, to be exact’ – to make his personal assessment.

‘They are not spacious houses but palaces in comparison with the majority of houses in Newry at present. Spick and span walls, three fine bedrooms, a small box-room and all with built-in wardrobes, sitting-room, bathroom, with a space beneath the stairs for holding a pram.

I was almost forgetting to mention the modern kitchenette – the pride of the home.’

Your present writer is somewhat confused. It is not my recollection that any of the houses on what is presently termed Clanrye Avenue – stretching from the Monaghan Street roundabout to the ‘phone-box’ [that was!] – were constructed until much later.  Slieve Gullion Road – a straight continuation of this Avenue – may have got its own name immediately after this time.  Yet if the reporter was viewing the Slieve Gullion Road homes, the first to be occupied, he strangely omitted to mention the ‘back-hall’ which in end houses at least was as spacious as the lauded ‘kitchenette’ – and today in most serves as a useful laundry room – and in ‘mid-terrace’ homes permitted access to the rear gardens and became the children’s play-room in the early days!

The housing shortage of the time was dire – there were 650 applicants for these first few homes – and the conditions in which Newry people were rearing large families were Third World. The reporter interviewed some who joined the long queue of applicants. One young woman with five children had married nine years previously and reared her large family in a single room on the second floor of a tenement. A man with eight children all under 20 years of age had lived since his marriage in a small, condemned two-roomed house.

‘One young woman took me to her ‘home’. It was a disused office which she, her husband and six children had occupied for a number of years. In Castle Street I saw a young woman with five children living in a large house which was disintegrating round her head. In North Street I was shown a bedroom in which slept four children. Half the flooring was missing and I looked down through the space to the cellar beneath. The supporting joists had rotten away and the floor swayed perilously beneath me.’

 In December 1947 the position was this. ‘Sixteen of the Trust’s houses have now been occupied and a further twelve will be ready in the New Year. Altogether forty-eight houses are in various degrees of construction but tenders have not yet been accepted for the construction of the other one hundred and forty houses to be erected on the site.

In addition to the one hundred and eighty two houses of the Housing Trust, the Newry Urban Council have already erected twenty-four in Needham Street (James Connolly and Michael Mallin Parks in present-day Patrick Street) and are now putting finishing touches to fifty-six in Canal Street.

During the past year the Council has been pressing for more speed in erection and finishing of houses which are held up for the sake of such things as baths, which are considered by some to be non-essential! With future immediate plans the number of new homes might reach 382 with 650 applicants for them.

The Council debate of that week centred on the allocation of the completed homes on Canal Street, actually Emmett Street and Davis Street, and perhaps a few on Cochran Road.  In open defiance of the harsh Ministry ruling that large families should not be accommodated the Council selected the following – from whom the lucky sixteen would be finally selected.

 

Name

Address of the time

Number in family

Thomas McGuigan

Sinclair Street

12

Owen McKevitt

Chapel Street

11

Michael Kelly

Canal Street

10

John McElroy

North Street

12

Felix Loughran

Queen Street

9

John Fegan

Bell‘s Row

11

Robert McKee

Queen Street

9

Frank Curran

Orchard Gardens

9

John Smith

Pound Street

9

Joseph Ferris

Stream Street

10

John Campbell

John Martin Street

9

James Rooney

John Mitchel Street

9

Joseph Fee

George’s Lane

7

James Fearon

Monaghan Row

7

John Monaghan

Bridge Street

7

John McParland

Chapel Street

8

Mary O’Brien

Water Street

6

W J Donegan

Market Street

4

Hugh Quinn

Edward Street

6

Robert Kane

Kilmorey Street

7

P McAlinden

Chapel Street

6

Patrick Watson

Lindsay Hill

6

D Crilly

River Street

5

John McCann

Bell‘s Row

5

John Johnson

Mill Street

5

William McMahon

Castle Street

7

Mrs Boots

North Street

6

Mr McEvoy

Canal Street

8

B Gribbon

Bell‘s Row

7


Leave a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.