John divided his talk and beautifully illustrated slideshow, into various aspects of Portrush, starting with the hotels it was so famous for. 1838 saw the opening of the original 'Northern Counties' (now replaced by the Ramada), which became THE place to stay, especially after it's lavish renovation in 1890.
The establishment of the 'Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Portrush Railway' in 1855 brought increasing numbers of holidaymakers to the town. The 'New Station' was opened in 1893, and gave exclusive front door usage to the carriages and porters taking visitors to the Northern Counties Hotel. A photograph of station in 1906 boasted it had 'the largest grandfather clock in the world' (its face plate shows it was made in Belfast in 1892, but that, and it's world beating size can't be confirmed - WebEd).
The towns' small port was especially busy in the late 1800s and beyond. The SS Hazel, for instance, worked all season through ferrying passengers from Scotland and around the North coast to the town. A photo from the early 1900s showed it ready to disembark it's 1250 or so passengers and board returning holidaymakers (as you can see, it looks very small and very crowded, a truly scary prospect! - WebEd).
John went on to talk about, and show a series of original photographs and post cards, of the development to the shops in main street; different churches; the 'big houses' on Lansdowne Crescent; the changing fortunes of the 'Arcadia'; the 'courtesy visits' paid by various warships; a brief mention of Golf and a compressive history of 'Barrys'.
With time being limited, and John having talked for over an hour with a sore throat, club member Cecil Leitch proposed the vote of thanks for this highly enjoyable and greatly appreciated trip down memory lane. What a day out everyone had!
For more information about Portrush and its heritage, why not join the heritage group? (just 'click' here)
All photos above (and lots more) are on the PHG web site,
with thanks to John Moore.