Joe Graham, reared in God's Little Acre, Ballymurphy.

Welcome to the Website of "Rushlight The Belfast Magazine"  which was founded by Joe Graham in 1972. From its birth Rushlight to protect its integrity to present history in a truthful , warts and all, way has been kept free of grants and  funding from all and any sources. Some readers will recall that I have not only been involved in the Rushlight but many other local papers. I also edited and published the "Ardoyne Freedom Fighter " during the early troubles, plus "The Vindicator" for Clonard area, plus "Scale" for Ballymurphy.. and in the late 1960's "The Pike" the voice of republican Belfast, and, had a hand in setting up "Republican News" in 1970.  and now after 40 years I still feel there is a need to confront and challenge those who would re-write our history for place, position or even grants and funding from those who would attempt to obliterate the truth ... who says the pen is not at least as mighty as the sword. ?

There are many more photographs and information on this old Belfast district available to media/broadcasters etc in Rushlight Archives, contact Joe Graham 90626631 

40 years of professional historical research at your service.

Rushlight collecting, recording and archiving Ballymurphy history for 40 years now. Plus ancient and old Maps with thousands of local photographs through the years.

With hundreds of articles written by Joe Graham about Ballymurphy through the past 40 years in various issues of the publication. a source which readers will have noticed has been availed of by many budding writers.

from Rushtlight Magazine Established 1972.

Ballymurphy Crescent. 1956

From Ballymurphy Road

to Glenalina Road.

1 West, Robert, Fitter.

3 Graham, James , Labourer.

5 Pauley, William. J. Fireman.

7 Leathem, James, Labourer.

9 Austin, Robert, Labourer.

11 Wylie, James, Labourer.

13 Murphy, Mrs Mary, Storekp,

15 Laughlin, Samuel, Labourer.

17 Bradley, Patrick, Labourer.

19 Bray, William, Driver.

21 Brady, James, Labourer.

23 Smith, Hugh, Labourer.

25 Kennedy, Patrick, Packer.

27 Martin, James, P.O. offl.

29 Thornburrow, V.F. Musicn.

31 Clugston, Edward, Labourer.

33 Hynes, Robert, Labourer.

35 Dowey, Robert, painter.

37 McQuade, H.J. Insur. Agent.

39 Rosbotham, D, Fruit Hwkr.


2 Montgomery, Patk, Bus drv.

4 Harvey, Robert, Coalman.

6 Madden, William, Labourer.

8 Smith, Walter, W. Labr.

10 McCann, Edward, Porter,

12 Connolly, John, Flower Hwk.

14 Daly, Patr, Flower Hawker.

16 Agnew, Robt, Lorry driver.

18 Moilan, George, Labourer.

20 Lowry. David, Gen. Dealer.

22 McDougall, Henry, Labourer.


Ballymurphy Drive

From 6 Ballymurphy Crescent

To Divismore Park.

1 M’Kay, George, labourer.

3 Rosbotham, James, Fitter.

5 Rea, Wm, Plumbers Hlp.

7 Pratt, Thomas.

9 Divine, John. F.

11 MLaughlin, Thos, Barman.

13 Cunningham, John, Labourer

15 Crossett, George, Hacklestr.

17 Brady, Arthur, labourer.

19 Brown, joseph, Labourer.

21 Flynn, Patrick, Lifeguard.

23 Gregg, George, Electrician.

25 MNamee, William, labourer.

27 Doran, Patrick, seaman.

29 Duncan, Stanley, painter.

31 MKernan, Kevin, labourer

33 Watson, James, labourer.

35 MComb, David, porter

(Here is Divismore Park)


2 Boyd, William.

4 Graham, David, Hosp, orderly.

6 Bryans, Richard. Ship Insptr.

8 Gracy, Mrs Elizabeth.

10 Seawright, Thos, labourer.

12 MCartney, David, Fitter.

Vacant Ground.

14 MGann. James, Labourer.

16 Clarke, Martin, Labourer.

18 Purdy, Gerard, labourer.

20 Caulfield, Robert, labourer.

22 ONeill, Henry, carter.

24 Toner, Francis, Corp, offl.

26 Baker, Robert.

28 Hall, Joseph, labourer.

30 McCabe, John. P. Bus Drv.

32 ONeill, Joseph, Labourer.

34 Fitzgerald, Wm, J, Hse. repr.

36 McGuigan, Dom, Watchman.

38 Fox, Joseph, Labourer.

40 Trainor, Mrs Elizabeth.

42 Brownlee, Hugh, Labourer.

44 Occupied.

46 Halloran, Hugh Steel erctr.

Rushlight The Belfast Magazine was founded by Joe Graham in 1972.


Welcome to Ballymurphy


Ballymurphy. 1950‘s, ‘God’s Little Acre’ By Joe Graham

I would have been about six or seven years of age when my family moved into 3 Ballymurphy Crescent, Ballymurphy, being a new Belfast Corporation housing estate into which families began moving in 1950.

My earliest memories of Ballymurphy were the streets, the roads had not yet been prepared, no pavements, just mere mud tracks that reminded me of those in the small towns of the wild west as portrayed in the then popular cowboy films. Fences had not yet been erected around the gardens, so anyone’s garden was everyone’s garden, and appropriately enough a line of then popular song “wide open spaces all around me’ could well describe the environment of the estate back then. Each house had this huge concrete coal shed which, since few could afford to store coal in them, became the ‘dens’ of us kids, where we would huddle and half scare each other to death with ghost stories. Between the estate and Murphy’s Brickyard which later fell into disuse, there was a huge vacant house, “Ballymurphy House”, in last years the home of the Murphy family that owned the Brickyard, which we nicknamed the “Haunted House”. All around the estate were great open spaces, and the Divis Mountains stretched almost down to out door steps.

The Mountain Loney of my childhood, or Upper Whiterock Road, as it is known by today, was a beautiful country lane that led to "Mollys Well",(Photographs Available) a piped Well, long linked to a romantic ghost story of a young peasant girl who is said have drowned herself there having been spurned by her aristocratic lover. People would carry bottles of this water home to give to ill relatives, some would gather the water cress that grew freely around the spreading waters of the well. Just to the right of the well lived old Lizzie Booth, in a white washed thatched cottage, (Photographs Available) the thatch later being removed and replaced with a corrugated iron sheeted roof.(photograph)in front of the cottage Lizzie had a chicken hatchery (photograph) and could be seen feeding the chickens meal from a bucket. The hedges along the lane were abundant with Blackberries and girls and women would pick them and put them in hars to bring home to make Jam.

Halfway up the Loney on the right hand side was the little Church Of Ireland, Lutheran Church, (Six photographs  available) in my childhood the Minister had been a former Padre in the British army who had returned from the second world war shell shocked  which left him making involuntary  movements  with his body, he would suddenly make little skip movements. At the rear of the Church was the church Hall  in which the Boys Brigade would hold their activites, a Ballymurphy boy Jimmy Wylie from 11 Ballymurphy Crescent was an ardent member and section leader in the BB as it was called. It is recorded that during the Famine, or great hunger, people of all denominations would call to the church where they were afforded help. Just a field away from the rear of the church was the Rock Dam. The caretakers of the Church was the Sinclair family from Ballymurphy Parade, a member of which later became known as Lenny The Lion, a famous downtown Belfast character. At the foot of the Mountain Loney was a walled enclosed Cottage, the lodge house to St Kevin's House.

Higher up the Black Mountain the strangely shaped "Hatchet Field" can be seen and to this day, even centuries as having been so named the distinct hatchet shape of the field can be clearly seen by visitors to any part of Belfast. As a child I would often look out from our bedroom window on the field, curious as to the origin of the shape and name. I wondered did that strangely shaped field hold a dark mystery as to its link with an axe. It was when I first started research for articles for my publication "Rushlight The Belfast Magazine", away back in the early 1970'S that I stumbled on an article in an old newspaper report when I first gleaned the vital information on the subject. There in a 1753 issue of the "Belfast Newsletter" an account of a mystery triple murder at a house that once stood beside what we now know as the "Hatchet Field" took place .... the actual wording stated...........

"On February 13th 1753, a cattle drover, William Cole, his daughter Elizabeth and a woman named Mary Maguire, a visitor at the house, were brutally murdered by an axe"

Who ever carried out the grizzly murders took any valuables that were there and then set fire to the house and made off, no one was ever brought to charge for the three murders but for many years it was said that 'jealousy' or 'scorned love' was the motivation for the brutal slayings. the newspaper gave no account or mention of Cole’s wife or Elizabeth's mother. To this day the murders remain a mystery and indeed for many years it coined a local expression , if a local was perplexed on a subject he would retort,.. "it's as secret as Cole's murder". And just as mysterious is how that field took on the shape of a hatchet but there can be little doubt that its shaping was linked to the murder.

I remember, as a boy, a family living in the little cottage at the Hatchet Field, this would have been the labourers cottage belonging to the big house that was burned down during the terrible murders. The man of the cottage was to be seen in those days, leading a donkey laden with containers of water from Molly's Well up the little pathway, which is recorded on old maps as "Aran’s Pad", up to his cottage. The last family to live in the house were called Ireland and I believe they moved to the Turf Lodge estate when that was built. Below the Hatchet Field, in the white lime cliffs, are two caves in which the famous Ness O'Haughan, the Highwayman, is said to have hidden from the redcoats during his time on the run, before he was captured and hanged at "The Three Sisters", the Gallows Green, near Carrickfergus Castle. Legend has it that much of Ness O’Haughan’s stolen treasure was never retrieved and is hidden there some where on the Divis Mountains. I can see groups rushing for funding or grants to start searching for the hidden treasure, they never let an opportunity pass.

Another victim of the Gallows was United Irishman, Dickey, the Crumlin Attorney, who fled after the Battle Of Antrim, he was hiding out in a Dug Out he had made on the Mountain when he was betrayed by a ‘friend’ and was surrendered to the redcoats, he was hanged at High Street in 1798.

At the back of our house in Ballymurphy we had this big old mangle and when it wasn’t being used by my mother we kids were experimenting with it.. it would surprise you what could be put through the rollers of a mangle.

There was this kid up our street, Jimmy, he always wore a neck tie, a rare thing then for kids to wear. One day we played a dangerous prank on him, we put the ends of his tie in the rollers, whilst he still had it round his neck and began to turn the handle on the big wheel and seconds later the boul Jimmy was imprisoned by his neck tie, his hands not being able to reach the handle to free himself., and off (pretending) we went to play football in the street.

We hid round the corner and sure enough, when Jimmy had considered we were not coming back he started to cry for help., and before long he was really crying but before we could get to him to release him my mother came out and caught us on.. Jimmy had the last laugh as he watched me receiving a scalp on the back of the head and chased into the house by my mother.

Do you know, we put a potato through the mangle. a shoe.. and a hard bap, aye, and we even put a lump of coal through the mangle.. it turned to coal dust!. Do you see that old mangle.. I got murdered over it.. probably the worse was about 1954.. I’d have been about 10 years of age.. and the Guider Season had just begun and here was me with two brilliant big pram wheels for the front, a smashing board and no Ball Bearing for my rear wheel, then I noticed the mangle had a wee iron wheel on each of its four legs.. My ‘Ma’ wouldn’t miss one, especially if I took it from one of the back legs. It was a hard thing to get off.. there was no delicate way of doing it, no matter how much I tried .. anyway a few good clouts with a hammer done the trick. off came the wheel.. along with half of the leg and a part of the stabilising base.. the old mangle couped over and being made of what I later discovered, was “Cast iron” the mangle broke in two or three other parts as it hit the concrete path. What a clout it made and what a clout I got from my mother who was on me like rocket.. she uttered those famous words, “Get up to bed.. wait till your Daddy gets home”. It’s funny how a kid sets his priorities, there I was up to my neck in trouble but still clutching the wee wheel of the mangle under my jumper, and when the new day dawned and the clouds had settled, out I went and fitted the wee wheel to my Guider ... 1 can’t remember what ever became of the old broken mangle.. but I had a great guider that season, every kid in ‘the murph’ envied my wee rear wheel ,I don’t know what ever became of the other three wheels on the mangle. I could have had spare wheels for my guider.!!

Looking around today one can see so many changes on the face of Belfast, gone too are so many of the old characters, the sounds, once familiar sounds , like, the drone of the mill horns, calling the workers to work or telling them it’s time to go home, then there was the hissing noise of rain hitting on the overhead cables of the trolley buses, and before that the clatter of trams on the tracks, not forgetting the clatter of the horse and carts, the grinding noise of the big four wheeled “Wordies” carts had their own distinctive noise. A very familiar sound back then in Ballymurphy on any Saturday morning, and I suppose other areas too, was the “Phut, Phut, Phut” of the Telegram Boy’s motorbike delivering those most welcomed wages from many fathers who were away working in England. Kids would always love to see new wallpapering going up at home for the left over pieces of wallpaper would be eagerly gathered up and we would paper the backs of our school books. There were some snazzy designs on those books when we had finished, beat the old plain brown paper. And speaking of paper, fish and chips were wrapped in newspaper, and of course you all recall the newspaper squares that hung in the toilet, say no more on that. Then there was the hoop and cleek, an old bicycle wheel with the spokes removed and a shaped piece of wire to push it around with, funny I felt I had to describe it!, but younger readers I’m sure would say what the hell is a ‘hoop and cleek?. As kids growing up in Ballymurphy we were quite fortunate, for you see just behind the estate in those days, where Springhill is today, was a huge disused quarry which the Council were filling in by dumping all the city rubbish into it, so we had the choice of the best material to make our “Guiders”, we were never short of bicycle wheels to make hoops. In these hi-tech days in seems hard to imagine now homes without television or even radios, I remember my father had this skill of being able to make “Crystal Sets”, a strange wee instrument with a couple of wires and a piece of crystal to which he had ear phones connected through which he could listen to radio. When television came in, even with its one station and limited time for viewing , it was seen as a wondrous thing and we kids would queue up at Mr Taylor’s house in Ballymurphy Road with our penny in hand to watch “Children’s Hour”, maybe even “Circus Boy”, the long running saga of a young orphaned boy who worked in a circus, a favourite with every lad back then. Mr Taylor done us proud, he even sold ice cream, for you see, he had a tri-cycle ice cream box that he also used to sell ice cream round the street, all he was lacking was an Ushers Uniform, I suppose it would have been too expensive to hire “John The Blackguard” from the “Broadway Cinema” . Funny enough the movies must have had a big influence on our slang back then because we would speak in “Dollars” and “Half Dollars”, five shillings was a “Dollar” and a half a Crown was a “Half Dollar”, we could even be heard to say, “I haven’t a Cent”. Of course we had our own local unique slang words, we’d say a “Tanner”, or a “Sprazzy” for sixpence, a “Make” for a Halfpenny (hap’penny), a “Bob” or “A Barney Dillon” for a shilling, but now, a “Jimmy Riddle” was something different all together. With the advent of T.V, coming into more homes day and daily a new magazine came into working class focus the “Radio Times” could really only have been seen in middle class homes before then, this picture of a 1950’s issue advertising “The Railway Children”, a then very popular series with all the family, as was “The Grove Family“, “Dixon Of Dock Green” .

“The Six Five Special” was for teenagers, and then we had “Teatime With Tommy” which presented a platform for local talent, and of course the very musical “Horner Brother’s” a Ballymurphy family gained local fame when they appeared doing their renowned Everly Brothers song ,“Wake up little Susie”, we kids could always depend on Candy Apples and “Haystacks” made by Mrs Horner which she sold for “A Wing” (Penny) each at her Glenalina Park home., yep the Horner’s were a multi talented family.

Back then there were few cars in Ballymurphy, perhaps the Peelers Sedan would cruise through now and again, the milk man, big Charlie Corry who lived in an ancient old cottage in a yard immediately behind “Kelly’s Bar” at the corner of the Whiterock and Springfield Road drove a pony and trap on which he carried his churns of milk and with a special scoop he would fill peoples empty bottles.

There were some strangely named hit songs in the 50’s, like “Does your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bed post over night”, by Lonnie Donegan, Lonnie introduced “Skiffle groups” to the music scene, and true to form, as kids follow fashion, I and a few other kids in Ballymurphy got our own Skiffle Group , “The Jack Boys” together, We played to huge audiences in our coal shed.

Lonnie Donegan also had a No.1 hit with,, “My Old Man’s A Dustman” There was “Davy Crockett” and then, “The Man From Laramie” by Jimmy Young, Bill Haley came to Belfast back then and sang “Rock Around the Clock”, there were riots outside the Ritz Picture house where his film was opening when teenagers surged forward to get close to their idol, Haley, was a far cry from the usual “idol” he was near balding and sported a well placed “Kiss Curl” on his head, which became his trade mark. poor old Jimmy Lismore was on his way home from work that night and happened to intervene when an R.U.C Inspector was wailing into some girls with his Black Thorn stick,. Jimmy took the stick off him and gave him a dig, and ended up getting three months, I’m sure Jimmy always remembers Bill Haley. In the ’50’s and 60’s we had a wealth of local musical talent, we had the “Witness’s Showband“, “The Grenadier Showband” “The Freshmen, “The Velvet Tones”, “Dave Glover Showband”, “The Martells”, “The Oceans Showband”, “The Melotones”, to mention just a few and from these bands came artists like Bo Birch, Gerry McCrudden, Toni Morelli, Joe Clarke, Liam and Danny Burns, Sean McVicker, Trixie Hamilton, and of course later we had Van Morrison and his group, “Them” who had two songs in the Hit Parade, their first song hit No.10 and was nine weeks in the charts, their second hit No.2 and was 12 weeks in the charts. The female singer with the Dave Glover band was quite unique in so far as she had THREE names, Dave apparently married twice, a rare thing in those days which brings me to a funny conversation between him and a fellow musician from another band. Dave met the fellow musician on the street some weeks before he was due to marry for the second time and asked him if he was coming to the wedding. The other musician on learning the date, answered, “Ah, sorry Dave, we have a Gig on that date... Sure maybe next time”, apparently even Dave chuckled. This subject, Belfast and musical talents, I covered more extensively in my little book, “Belfast Music City Ireland”. And in the 1960's we even had a visit to the local Alverno Hotel  which was where the Garage is today on the Upper Springfield Road  by the famous Beatles.

When Elvis Presley’s film “Loving You”, or was it “Love Me Tender”, opened at the Broadway, poor old “John The Blackguard”, the usher, couldn’t cope with the teenagers jiving in the aisles and on the seats, the Peelers had to be called in and a whole melee broke out, things were certainly drifting away from the easy going, laid back style of Bing Crosby, the idol of parents back in those days, There was never as much excitement in the Broadway picture House since the night the patriot Jimmy Steele , after having escaped from Crumlin Road prison with three other patriots, appeared on the stage and read a republican statement to the picture goers. All this while the R.U.C in their hundreds were combing the Catholic area’s searching for them, a great act of defiance which was applauded by the audience. The patriot finished by reading the 1916 Proclamation much to the cheers of the audience, and yet strangely, One ‘historian ’ later wrote in a book, that the audience were terrified … on the Falls Road,? ..Some times I wonder, can readers or television viewers sort out truth from fiction in all those historical reports.

History is a funny thing, I am forever trying to define it, just what is history? I have written much on the 1920 troubles, the ready involvement of the police and “Specials” in so many brutal sectarian murders, while some historians see them as pillars of society, decent and upright, and then a “police” source, P.S.N.I ?, today on the internet uses the following to paint a picture of how life was in 1920’s Belfast..

“The historian R.B. McDowell recalls childhood memories of these years in his most recent book, Crisis and Decline (1997) "...

“one bright evening I stood at a window, looking out on an eerily deserted and silent [Belfast] street - curfew was in force. Suddenly I heard footsteps and saw a patrol of B Specials, decent, middle-aged men with police caps and armlets, carrying themselves with solemn determination. I felt reassured"

Well.. That seems to give credence to the “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter“ .. but the Specials were no ‘Freedom Fighters’ of the Catholic people, for I’m sure many a Catholic child, indeed family, trembled with fear and dared not go near the window when these ‘decent middle aged men with police caps’, came along. I suppose what Mr McDowell writes is “History” and the establishment and their followers would call what I and people like me write “Propaganda”, so one is truth and one is lies!.. which one?. some times one doesn’t have to actually lie to propagate, like when ever historians talk of the endearing and quaint character of their childhood, Mr Buck Alec Robinson, and his toothless lion and omit the fact that he was a notorious loyalist gunman of the 20’s and the 1930’s’s surely is colouring history or folklore one way, To omit facts of history surely is the same as denying them but I suppose they would be denied grants or funding or indeed advertising revenue if they sailed too near the truth, which would only put people out off work, so you can’t win. And on the point of the lion some don’t even get that right, I read recently he had a toothless TIGER !, The fact is “Buck Alec had two lions, which he named “Shelia” and “Roger”.

But there were good days., particularly in the 1950’s, everyone’s childhood days are good ones. They were, no doubt, good times, and the people seemed gentler and more easy going. Belfast was full of characters back then and often enough they were diversions at times away from the harshness of those days. There was the “Duke Of Millfield”, an eccentric homeless man who would swagger round Smithfield in a top hat and frock coat, with an air of grandeur. Once he passed the corner of King Street and there was a peeler standing there, the ‘Duke’ stopped right in front of him, eyed him from head to toe, and in a loud masterly voice declared, “The devil finds work for idle hands.. why are you loitering around this corner my good man, have you nothing better to do.” The embarrassed peeler slung off towards Smithfield. Some characters were so colourful, “The Green Lady” or “Fenian Mary” as some called her, lived at a lodging house at 8 North Queen Street she dressed in all green clothing. “Corky” was a big woman who had an artificial leg, supposedly made of cork, hence her nickname, she carried a stick and for some reason hated men and often enough would lash out at any man just walking past her in the street. it was said she had been wounded while serving as a nurse in the war.

Then “Paddy Me Arse“, another peeler from Springfield Road Barracks so named because of his over use of the expression , “aye in me arse” meaning “No Way”, Paddy was shot dead in the 1940’s during a payroll robbery at a Falls Road Mill. ”Johnny Blue Bum” was a wee Blue Meth’s drinker, (Blue Mentholated Spirit) who when teased by kids calling him “Johnny Blue Bum” would clap his bum and shout, “My bum is not blue”, much to the disgust of passing women. ”Holy Mary” was a wee street lady who sold religious booklets around Smithfield, if someone bought one she bestowed a hundred blessings on them, if they refused she cursed them a thousand times in the most foul language you could imagine. ”Holy Joe” was a similar character, he sold “another wee homeless lady in the most brutal fashion."Hands Up Boyle", loved to tell a wee lie or stretch the truth a bit and when ever he was caught out, as he was many times, he would simply, "Ok, Ok, I put my hands up. maybe I was wrong" .Old Moores Almanacs” downtown, who ended up murdering his friend,

“Housey“ or “Bingo” as it is called today, was a great past time back then for mothers, they had ‘Housey’ sessions just about everywhere, even in the streets. At Ballymurphy a huge “Housey” Session was held in the field between Westrock and Ballymurphy Road, where the Chapel is today. Women would bring their own chairs or cushions to sit on while they played. We kids could not get a look in, there were always men there to chase you off. Even if you tried to remonstrate by saying , “But I want to speak to my mummy, that’s her there,” You would be told, “I don’t give a shit who yer ma is, go away and give her peace”. In earlier years in fields down the Grosvenor Road where the road into the R.V.H is today, there was a huge field known as the “Looney Park” due to it being behind the “Belfast Lunatic Asylum”, which was where the R.V.H is today. Anyway, every Sunday afternoon a massive “Housey” session was held there and women came from all over Belfast to play. There were also sessions held on summer evenings.

Jimmy Duffin was a great character, he would stand and talk to his own reflection in peoples living room windows, the people inside sitting watching him as though they were watching a television screen. His favourite expression when wanting to sound impressed was, “Hmm.. very intanjulietrical”, I don’t think the word can be found in any dictionary. “Bendy” McErlean was a wee bow legged man who played the accordion around the picture house queues, but perhaps the most famous busker was “Doctor McNab” from the old Pound Loney. His favourite song was “St. Teresa Of The Roses”, but due to his lisp the song came out, “St. Twesa of the Woses“. We also had “Jimmy Touch Metal” a shell shocked soldier from the war he would walk round downtown Belfast touching anything metal with a stick he carried, poor man thought he was mine detecting. And “Tommy Juke The Bullets”, another shell shock victim, he would be walking along Royal Avenue and suddenly pull who ever was passing nearby him to the pavement and shout, “Keep your head down they’re shooting”, It was quite funny to watch, but hilarious when who ever he would pull down believed him and covered their heads with their arms. Maggie Marley from Sultan Street was a fish trader, she coined the phrase, “Ach to hell with poverty, throw on another herring”, she was the salt of the earth and many a free supper she put on a poor family’s table, she was also the mother of Mickey Marley the Hobby Horse man, or as the media called him ‘The Roundabout Man’, where do those people come from?, sadly people parrot them!. I heard a cracker on Radio Ulster the other day, one of those newscasters trying so hard to sound English and attempting to pronounce her “ ing’s” reported that there was a lorry BROOKING down on the Westway, not BROKEN down? There were familiar street chants from the various hawkers,.. "Ardglass Herrings, "Delph for Regs", ..."Coal Breek.. Coal Breek" ,(it seems “Breek“ was the plural for Brick“). In Ballymurphy in the early 1950'S I used to laugh at how the fish man who would call round the streets with his cart, would chop the heads and tails off the fish and let them fall from his cart onto the street where the cats would snatch them and run off in every direction to feast. “Bunny” Rice, was a wee alcoholic man, much loved by Falls Road children, he would be seen with out stretched arms and a wide smile on his face, declaring, “Here comes Bunny”, and the kids would dance and echo, “Here comes Bunny”. Ach there were hundreds of characters and thousands of stories, were told on the “Corners”. Street corners were popular places where men, usually unemployed, would idle and joke for hours, perhaps even burst into song, many a full scale concert was to be seen on a street corner. These men were known as “Corner Boys”, and more often than not most of the stories originated from the boys on the corners, whether they be true or not one will never know, but does it matter?.

Copyright Joe Graham

Ballymurphy Parade

Off Glenalina Road.

1 Johnston, Andrew.

3 Haighton, Thomas, Lab.

5 Vallely, Patrick, Labourer.

7 Reid, William, Fitter

9 Whelan, Timothy, Labr.

11 Irvine, Mrs Rose.

13 Skelly, John, Patrolman.

15 Cahoon, Joseph, salesman.

17 Williams, John, Driver.

19 Stewart, Robert,

21 McCrea, James, Gravedigger.

23 Reid, William, Labourer.


2 Alsopp, Joseph, Labourer.

4 Ross, Charles, labourer.

6 Nolan, john, Labourer.

8 Green, William, News vend.

10 Caldwell, William, Joiner.

12 Allen, Mrs Mary. A.

14 Weir, John, Thomas.

16 Kelly, Francis , Labourer.

18 Lewis, Mrs Evelyn.

20 Bennett, William, Labr.

22 O’Neill, Henry, carter.

24 Crosby, William, Bus contr.

26 McKee, Thomas, Labourer.

28 McShane, Joseph, Butcher.

30 Hughes, Patk, Labourer.

32 McReynolds, Frank, Driver.


Westview Pass

From Whiterock Road

To Glenalina Crescent.

2 Sloane, Henry, Labourer.

4 Stone, William, Waiter.

6 McNiece, Alfred, Electrician

8 Crowe, Herbert, Labourer.

10 Silvey, Alfred, Fitter.


Whitecliff Drive

From Whiterock Road

To Ballymurphy Road.

1 McAreavey, Martin, Plasterer.

3 O’Hara, Patrick, Labourer.

5 McManus, Daniel, Red Leader.

7 Deighan, Thomas, Seaman.

9 Trainor, Joseph, Labourer.

11 McAlorum, James, M.N.

13 McHugh, Terence, Labourer.


2 Johnston, Robert, Labourer.

4 McNaughton, John, Bus Drvr.

6 Ward, Francis. M. Seaman.

8 Mullan, Henry, Slater.

10 Walsh, Philip, Slater.

12 Murphy, Joseph, Carter.

14 Rodgers, Michael.

16 McCormick. James, Labourer.


Whitecliff Parade

From Ballymurphy Road

To Ballymurphy Road.

1 McDermott, Patrick, labourer.

3 Mageee, Alex, Labourer.

5 Evans, Frederick. A. Baker.

7 Murphy, James, Labourer.

9 Duffy, Michael, Rly Porter.

11 Connor, Robert Red Leader.

13 Goldthorpe. Wm. Messenger.

15 Campbell, Charles, labourer.

17 Hamilton, Mrs Robina.

19 Cunningham, Philip, Labourer.

21 Lynas, James, labourer.

23 Mullen, Andrew, Labourer.

25 McGrillen, Henry, Driver.

27 Lean, George, Labourer.

29 Killen, Joseph, Labourer.

31 Walters, .F.H. Bus Driver.

33 Loughran, Patrick, Docker

35 Notarantonio, Francis, Labr.

37 Tyrie, Matthew, Linenlapper.

39 Cooke, Mrs. Sarah


2 Creighton, James, dealer.

4 Irwin, James, Boilerman.

6 Crowe, Mrs. A. L

8 Dowie, Alex, Labourer.

10 Best, Joseph, Labourer.

12 Skelly, Wm. E. Labourer.

14 Glass Mrs Dorothy.

16 Webster, Thos, W. Labr.

18 Phillips, Robert, Labourer.

20 McCourt, Sgt, Denis, R.U.C.

22 McQuitty, Joseph, Labourer.

24 Flood, Thomas, Labourer.

26 Donnelly, Wm, G, Bus Dvr.

28 Williamson, John, Furnacer.


Whitecliff Crescent

118 Ballymurphy Road

To 96 Ballymurphy Road.

1 Dragonetti, Mrs Margaret.

3 McCann, Kevin, labourer.

5 Harper, Patrick, Labourer.

7 Holden, Herbert, Cleaner.

9 Molloy, Thomas, Steel erctr.

11 McQuade, James, Bricklayer.

13 Butler, Mrs Bridget.

15 Marley, H.B. Labourer.

17 Loughran, James, Labourer.

19 McShane, Thomas, Plasterer.

21 M’CAuley, Michael, Labourer.

23 M’Quillan, Alfred, labourer.

25 Mooney Francis.

27 Maguinness, T. J. Condct.

29 Duffy, James, Fitter.

31 Donaghy, Frank, Steel erect.

33 McPhee, David, Labourer.

35 M’Dermott, Francis.

37 Gorman, S, Mattress Maker.

39 Hughes, Hugh, labourer.

41 Bolton, John, Messenger.

43 Connolly, Patrick, Labourer.

45 M’Knight, Geo, Labourer.

47 Toolan, Mrs M.

49 Cromie, Patrick, Labourer.

51 Burns, William, Tiler.


2 Walsh, John, Skin Dresser.

4 Lynas, Arthur, labourer.

6 McManus, William, Salesman.

8 Blake. B. Bus Conductor.

10 Parker, Mrs Annie.

12 Kearney, Thomas, Storeman.

14 Clinton, William, Butcher.

16 Martin, Robert, Fitter.

18 M’Carthy, Thomas, Driver.

20 Walsh, P. J. Labourer.

22 Occupied.

24 Taggart, Mrs.

26 Barkley, Charles, Labourer.

28 M’Carron, David, labourer.

30 M’Mullan, Peter. R.A.F.

32 Collins, John. Manager.

34 Canavan, Mrs.

36 O’Neill, Patrick, Porter.

38 M’Nally, J. Hairdresser.

40 Hamill, Thomas, Dealer.

42 Maguire, John , Joiner.

44 Lavery, Patrick, Labourer.

46 Breen, Patrick, Bus Driver.

48 M’Menamin, Andrew, labr.

50 Doherty, Mrs Margaret.

52 Goodall, Sam, Steel erctr.


Ballymurphy 1861
Off Ballygomartin Road

Sinclair, David, farmer and dairy keeper
Wharry, William, dairy keeper
Murphy, Thomas (Ballymurphy House)
Ballymurphy Brickworks - Thos. Murphy, Proprietor
Glen Villas
Harkley, Thos., fireman
Shaw, Thos., manager Ballymurphy Brickworks
Harkley, Wm., labourer
Slieve View Villas
1. McKibbin, Hugh, builder
2. Kennedy, J. A., grocer
3. Philips, John, manager
New Barnsley
Fleming, Abraham, fireman
McCartney, William, carter
Bill, John, fireman
Harkness, Robert
Fleming, William
Martin, Thomas, foreman (Whiterock House)
Clonard Brick and Estate Company Ltd. - Manager, James Mackle

History, Maps, photographs and film in Rushlight Magazine Archives,

Contact Joe Graham 78 Andersonstown Park. Belfast.  BT11 8FH.

Tel 90 626631