One of the most iconic buildings in Portadown, Carleton Street Orange Hall, is to be the subject of a major research project.
Carleton Street Community Development Association has been successful in obtaining a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £48,600 to carry out the 18-month-long project.
A number of volunteers will be trained on skills relating to research, tours, health and safety, and IT, after which they will carry out research work on the hall’s heritage and the impact of Orange Order members on the development of Portadown.
In the final months, the volunteers will develop presentations, web content, a mobile phone app, leaflets and walking tours of the hall and of Portadown.
Lastly, the association will host a month-long exhibition of project findings in Carleton Street Orange Hall in the summer of 2017 when it will be open six days per week to the general public, groups and schools.
The research will concentrate on the history of Orangeism, Carleton Street Orange Hall, (including USA Army billeted there during WW2), the lodges that sit in the hall, the Orangemen who contributed so much to the development of the town – names like Magowan, Shillington, Blacker, Rock, Gracey, Whitten, Locke, Wright and Dougan (lodge meetings were held in his premises during WW2).
Businesses, churches, streets, buildings and places in the town with an Orange influence will also be researched, including Portadown Gasworks, Portadown Foundry, the town’s railway station, inland waterways, the linen factories, the Bann Bridge and Colonel Saunderson’s Statue.
There are also plans to link up with the envisaged Co Armagh Orange Trail in a bid to attract tourists to the county and to Portadown in particular.