The Plaza Ballroom, Portadown, Co. Armagh

The old Plaza Ballroom building on Bridge Street, Portadown has had many uses; in recent times a funeral parlour but in the 1940s, it was full of life.

The Plaza Ballroom

Bridge Street


Co. Armagh

BT63 5AP

United Kingdom

The Plaza Ballroom on Bridge Street, Portadown, Co. Armagh was a social hub for the young people of the Edenderry area and beyond in the 1940s and 1950s.

Young people came to dance the night away and socialise to the sounds of the band. On Monday nights, George Bothwell taught ballroom dancing. Other nights saw Jack Millen teach old-time and sequence dancing.

During 1943 and 1944, while American GIs were in the area, The Plaza Ballroom doubled as The American Red Cross Club in the town. In the 1940s, Mosey Ellis owned The Plaza and the pub next door. The US Army had a base nearby in Watson Street.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the house band was known as The Blue Shadows. Lead by Billy Gallery, who leased The Plaza, the band featured J Higginson on trumpet, B Hamilton on clarinet and saxophone, T Gallery on accordion, Ralph McNally on drums, and Harry McCusker on piano.

In later years, the maple ballroom floor suffered as rollerskating became popular in Co. Armagh. Within a short time, the owners banned skates from the dancefloor, restoring it to its original state.

When not in use as a dance hall, the Government made use of the building as an office for the Ministry of Food. Distribution of orange juice, baby food, and other rationed items took place in the later years of the war and early 1950s.

Since World War Two, the building has been Smith’s Fish and Chip shop, McClure’s Upholstery, Herbie Killops’ and Ivan Abraham shoe menders, and McNabb’s Funeral Parlour.

Newsletter Signup

If you'd like to hear more from WartimeNI, you can sign up for regular free updates to your inbox. Just enter your email address below.