Loughaghery Presbyterian Church
There is little evidence of much social life last century. It looks like a matter of “All work and no play”. The first evidence in this line:- Minutes 13th January 1878.“The committee and session met to-day when it was resolved that a Service of Song be given in the Church to meet an account due and that everyone who had the welfare of the congregation at heart should be asked to dispose of the tickets.
In the report of 1881 £5 was realised as profit from a Service of Song. There are other reports of cinematographs from time to time in those far away days.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s it was customary to hold an annual social or soiree. These were very lively nights and the Church was packed – the night of the year. I remember Mr. Moorhead goading the young fellows on in the gallery, and the quick witty reposte between them. When his back was turned, pieces of fruit loaf dipped in tea were thrown at him. If this missile went off target one was liable to get a slap of sodden fruit loaf anywhere. The ladies didn’t like it. Understandably, it had a detrimental effect on a pretty hat or dress and a soggy jolt on the face wasn’t the most pleasant.
At these socials there seemed to be some competition among the ladies as to who could set up the most attractive table. It was who could bring the prettiest china, lace cloths, and silver teapots and of course every hostess had flowers on her table. This all had to be carried. I still remember the basket in which my mother packed ours to carry to the social.
The tables were flat tops put across the little seats and lots were drawn as to where each lady worked. The back seats were not so popular, nor the gallery, because of the very lively element there.
Entertainment was provided by guest artists. I can remember Florrie Coulter and Hugh and Greta Greer from Ballynahinch singing, Berry Street Choir on one occasion and Crescent Choir twice came by bus to sing.
Interesting is the amount of food used. In 1930 ninety “two-shilling” fruit loaves, five dozen pastry (for visiting artists) three pounds tea and two stones sugar (everybody must have taken sugar in those days) were ordered.
In 1931 Tom Reynolds (Majorie Rea’s Father) and a few others were asked to come. There seems to have been much deliberation about this and a divided committee. Some thought this wasn’t the ‘proper’ entertainment to be held in the Church, but those for, seemed to win the day and Tom and his party came along. After Mr. Moorhead’s day these types of socials disappeared from the scene, and the congregational social took the form as we know it to-day, sober, peaceful events.
At present we have an active and flourishing Bowling Club. This was formed in 1971. A mat was donated by Messrs S. & R. Bell and within three weeks a second mat was bought. Twelve bowls were also bought from Boardmills for £20. A membership fee of £2 was set. Our first year’s office bearers were:
President, Rev. A. Crooks; Vice-President, Mr. S. Bell; Joint Captains Miss M. Irvine and Mrs. Magowan; Secretary, Mrs. T. Gourley, Treasurer, Mrs. R. Irvine.
In 1972 the first bowling dinner was held and in 1976 the first Service. Since inception the Club has operated most successfully now with three mats, and last year we managed to get to the semi-final of the J.C. Patterson Shield. The club plays for various trophies, the first of these being presented by Mr. & Mrs. W. Stewart in 1973. With the building of the new Hall it is hoped that the Club will become stronger and it is a possibility that the Club will take the ambitious step of running a Tournament open to all Bowlers throughout the North of Ireland. The present captain is Raymond Gourley.
A ticket for a bygone social.