Reflecting on the old family stores at Edenderry, once a hub of activity

Family stores at Edenderry, as depicted by Joe Hynes.
Family stores at Edenderry, as depicted by Joe Hynes.

One of the most familiar sights in Edenderry is the row of shops captured by Joe Hynes for his sketch this week - now derelict, the scene was once a thriving part of the famous district when small, family shops proliferated in the area.

Those were the days when the proprietors lived on the premises, and the most famous shops of the row were Lyske’s stationer’s and confectioner’s, and Gillespie’s the greengrocers.

First Portadown Boys' Brigade (Thomas Street Methodist) soccer team pictured following a 5-1 victory against Second Portadown (Armagh Road Presbyterian) at the Public Park (now the People's Park) in 1961 (with the old pavilion in the background). Back Row, left to right ; Albert McNally, Mervin Haire, Harold Wright, Errol McCrory, Anthony Birkby, Dennis Clarke. Front Row, left to right ; Ronnie Gordon, Kenneth Vennard, Aubrey McCrory, Ronnie McFall, Dennis Browne.

First Portadown Boys' Brigade (Thomas Street Methodist) soccer team pictured following a 5-1 victory against Second Portadown (Armagh Road Presbyterian) at the Public Park (now the People's Park) in 1961 (with the old pavilion in the background). Back Row, left to right ; Albert McNally, Mervin Haire, Harold Wright, Errol McCrory, Anthony Birkby, Dennis Clarke. Front Row, left to right ; Ronnie Gordon, Kenneth Vennard, Aubrey McCrory, Ronnie McFall, Dennis Browne.

In those days, the proprietors had time to serve, time for a chat, time to listen, and the days when - as customers came in through the door - they lifted ‘the usual’ newspapers and magazines off the pile and handed them over with a smile.

That was certainly the case at Lyske’s, where the respected Lily had an air of friendly professionalism, and not only served the public with newspapers, but also the children who thronged for penny chews, penny packets, and sweets of the day like Spangles and Black Jacks.

Her sister Myrtle often helped out and, if the shop didn’t have the fancy decor of the modern era, it certainly had an atmosphere that will never be equalled.

Gillespie’s the greengrocers were the same, where Mr and Mrs Gillespie weighed out the potatoes, apples, carrots and parsnips in the old ‘Avery’ scales, where the goods were counter-balanced with shining brass weighs, and the customers weren’t averse to a spot of haggling - or got a bunch of scallions thrown in free with the main purchases.

Pictured at the presentations of First Aid certificates by the Order of Malta and Open University Certificates in Child Care at the CarnGrove Hotel in 1987 are, from left to right: Colonel James Magee (Order of Malta), Elizabeth McKeown, Irene Hamilton (team leader), Joanna Willis and Jenny Meegan (Open University Community Education Organiser), Kathleen Devlin, Joanne Brownlee, Melanie Pentland and Susan Quinn.

Pictured at the presentations of First Aid certificates by the Order of Malta and Open University Certificates in Child Care at the CarnGrove Hotel in 1987 are, from left to right: Colonel James Magee (Order of Malta), Elizabeth McKeown, Irene Hamilton (team leader), Joanna Willis and Jenny Meegan (Open University Community Education Organiser), Kathleen Devlin, Joanne Brownlee, Melanie Pentland and Susan Quinn.

The Gillespie sons, Stanley and John, often helped out - as did daughter, Sandra.

Nurse Woods also lived in the row in the days when the district nurse travelled around on a bicycle doing all sorts of medical work, delivering babies at home and seeing to the health of the district - she was a legend in her lifetime.

There were several family concerns in Edenderry at the time, the main opposition to Lyske’s in the confectionery end being Aggie Wilson and Dale’s, while McCann’s greengrocers also did a roaring trade. A few doors from Gillespie’s, Calvert’s grocers shop also thrived.

Then there were Moffett’s Studios, where a virtual history of Portadown was captured on film; Vance’s, where ice lollies and pastries augmented the sweetie sales; Eden Pharmacy, which still serves the area; Brown’s car accessories; Hoy’s Butchers; Sweenie’s Wool Shop; Walter Mason’s household goods - the list goes on.

Edenderry was a close-knit business-cum-residential community, and the block in Joe’s sketch has, since the Lyske-Gillespie days, housed a host of other businesses - like a photographer’s, another grocery store, and a fish and chip shop.