Hill Street, Gilford, Co. Down

Nothing remains of old Hill Street in Gilford, Co. Down. During the 19th century, it was home to hundreds of millworkers. Belgian troops visited in 1945.

Hill Street

Gilford

Co. Down

BT63 6HZ

United Kingdom

Nothing remains of the old Hill Street, Gilford, Co. Down. The street was once affectionately known to locals as 'Keady Row' due to the number of millworkers from Co. Armagh who moved there.

The Co. Armagh workers relocated to Gilford, Co. Down in the mid to late-1800s due to the thriving linen industry. Gilford was home to a large spinning mill owned by Messrs. Dunbar, McMaster, and Co. The mill opened in 1841 as reported in newspaper The Northern Whig:

19th November 1841 was a great day in Gilford when one of the most splendid soirees ever held in this part of the country took place at the Works of Messrs. Dunbar, McMaster & Co. in the reading room and library belonging to the establishment.

Gilford Mill Buildings

The old disused mill building still dominates the skyline in Gilford, Co. Down. It was once a thriving spinning mill at the height of Ireland's linen industry. Photo taken on 10th September 2016. Copyright Scott Edgar - WartimeNI.

Over 180 houses stood in the area, around where Dunbarton Street and Dunbarton Bungalows now stand near the old mill. Many of those employed in the linen trade had come from Armagh, Fermanagh, and as far as Monaghan to seek work.

Belgian troops in Gilford

In 1945, Belgian troops arrived in Northern Ireland to regroup, retrain, and reform their army. Units of 4th Infantry Brigade (Steenstraete) found themselves in Gilford Castle and based along Stramore Road by the banks of the River Bann in the Co. Down town.

Belgian soldiers at Keady Row, Gilford, Co. Down

Family archive photo: Belgian soldiers from 4th Belgian infantry (Steenstraete). L-R Bella McConville, Bernadette Fitzpatrick, Sally McConville, Mary McManus and Collins McManus holding baby Wendy McManus. Photo taken at Hill Street (Keady Row), Gilford, Co. Down in 1945. Supplied by Wendy Granville (née McManus).

Residents of Hill Street, Gilford with Belgian soldiers

Family archive photo: Belgian soldiers from 4th Belgian infantry (Steenstraete). L-R Bella McConville, Sally McConville, Bernadette Fitzpatrick holding baby Wendy McManus, and Mary McManus. Photo taken at Hill Street (Keady Row), Gilford, Co. Down in 1945. Supplied by Wendy Granville (née McManus).

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