John McCullagh May 7, 2005
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Guest Teas: These were the big thing in the 50’s, organised by ladies of Newry in support of various charities. No alcoholic drink, mind you! Just teas and a plate of sandwiches and sweet things, prepared earlier by the same women. They were great places to exchange all the gossip! The relative popularity of one before another depended on the reputation of the hostesses either for their culinary skills or the breadth of their gossipy connections!

Newry Bachelors Ball: A group of eligible bachelors of the town formed themselves into a Committee for the organising of this popular annual event. It possibly worked too well for these well-placed young men were quickly snapped up and by the late 50’s -early 60’s the Bachelors Ball was in decline.

The Wee Entries: Many of the older streets of the town of Newry – such as Water Street, Castle Street and North Street – had ‘wee entries’ off them where many people lived in close proximity in a densely packed area. Community closeness thrived.

Cooking the Turkey: Many people could stretch their resources to a turkey at Christmas but many had not the means to cook it, having only open fires for cooking purposes. The local bakeries came to the rescue and for a small payment, would cook the Christmas chicken, goose or turkey and bake the Christmas Cake into the bargain.

 The Golden Teapot: Though re-instated, it hasn’t the significance of old as a rendezvous spot or a symbol of Newry Town Centre. In its heyday it graced the premises of Kelly & Calvert, a big grocery store in Margaret Square.

The Big Clock (or Blaney’s Watch): Fondly remembered by all the older folk of Newry, The Big Clock got the latter nickname from a former Town Clerk. It stood in the centre of Margaret Square.

The Three Golden Balls:  These were hung over the pawn-shop of ‘Uncle Joe’ McConville in Hill Street. In former times family valuables (or just the father’s only suit!) would have temporary custody there, left against the loan of a few shillings until pay day and redeemed then in time for Sunday Mass. A plethora of bric-a-brac (acquired in the same way) was offered for sale there.

Eve and Brunitex: These were sachets of powdered soap which had to be dissolved in warm water before application – for blonds and brunettes respectively! A fore-runner of today’s shampoos they left hair soft and sheeny.

Rinso and Glee: They did the same job for clothes. They were the soap powders of the day. 

 We had a little song in infant’s class ,the first line of which was

‘bunny rabbit full of Glee’.

 I used to spend ages wondering how the soap powder got into the rabbit!

Sunlight Soap: This was a large bar of hard, yellow soap used for everything from baths to laundry. There was a red, carbolic soap too.

 Dolly Blue bag and Washboards:  These were used on wash days. The latter also was the only ‘musical instrument’ I could play!

Robin Starch: It was used for shirts and bed linen.

… Nan Rice? …

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