Street named after retired councillor

Watched by friends and family, Woolsey Smith unveils the disc.
Watched by friends and family, Woolsey Smith unveils the disc.

One of Portadown’s best known thoroughfares now has a double-barrelled name: Edward Street-Woolsey Lane.

The distinguished street which houses Portadown Town Hall – and, at various times the police station, the library, a couple of factories and the Savoy (Catch) Cinema - moved up in the world when Alderman Woolsey Smith (retired) unveiled the special plaque that gave the street that extra touch of class.

Woolsey Lane was the original name in the mid-19th century, called after the family Woolsey (or Wolsey). And with Mr Smith having served Craigavon Borough Council with such distinction over the years, the modern generation of the family named him to unveil the plaque on Monday, which also happened to be his 83rd birthday.

Attending the event at Edward Street-Woolsey Lane were members of his family, members of his political party (DUP), including David Simpson MP, and former Times journalist Brian Courtney, whose skills as a wordsmith were perfect for adorning the blue plaque. It now stands sentinel over the premises of JR McMahon on the High Street corner of the street-lane.

Woolsey thanked the borough council, especially administrative officer Lewis Porter, who did much of the background research.

The lane ran from the town centre to the Annagh River, and both Woolsey and Brian promoted the waterways, noting that the Annagh River flowed into the Bann, into which flows the Newry Canal. They both want to see it restored over time.

And David Simpson also played on that theme, noting that a large section of the canal flowed through the domain of the new ABC council.