LARNE in 1888.
CHURCHES, TOWN HALL, LIBRARY, M'GAREL BUILDINGS, GRAMMAR SCHOOL, SOCIETIES, ETC.
The Parish Church (C. I.) stands near the river
side. A great change was made in
the structure in 1819, and since then there have been additions and alterations,
the most recent being the reseating in pitch pine. Several large yews grow in
the churchyard, where they divide notice with many curiously interesting monuments.
In Bridge Street the 1st Presbyterian Church, bearing date 1627, arrests the
attention of the stranger. Down to about 100 years ago it was thatched. It was
rebuilt about the year 1837, and in 1877 there was an addition which increased
the seating capacity from 800 to 900. The 2nd, or Gardenmore Presbyterian Church,
Pound Street, was rebuilt some 20 years ago at a cost of £1,500, and £500 has been
expended upon it since for reseating, etc.; and between £200 and £300 lately for
renovation. It is said that the congregation of the Unitarian (Presbyterian) Church,
Meeting House Street, was first organized over 240 years ago. The present church
stands in handsomely-planted grounds. Some time ago Mr. John Crawford presented
an organ which cost £300, and. gallery was erected for it by subscription at an expense
of £200. There are two Presbyterian Mission Houses. A handsome cruciform Methodist
Church was erected in Curran Street, corner of Glenarm Road, in 1884, at a total cost
of between £3,000 and £4,000. Mr. John A. Bowman, Dunard, subscribed £300 and
superintended the building operations, and the cost of a beautiful stained chancel window
was borne by the Rev. James Boyd Brady, a native of Larne, resident in theUnited States.
The old Methodist Church is in Pound Street. The Congregationalists have
an iron church on the Glenarm Road, and the Roman Catholics a small neat edifice in
Agnew Street. In the M'Garel Town Hall, corner of Cross and Main Streets, there is a
news room and a library having about 2,000 books. Half of these are used for reference
purposes, and the other half' for circulation. The Town Hall was built in 1869, at a
cost of from £5,000 to £6,000, provided by the late Mr. Charles McGarel, of Magheramorne.
It is invested in trustees, for the use of the people for ever. The Town Commissioners
have free rooms in it, and there is a Hall capable of seating 450 persons, for entertainments,
no charge being made to charitable and church societies. A subscription of 5s. a year pays
for the right to participate in the advantages of the reading room ; 7s. 6d. for reading room
and library. A large room on the second floor contains the nucleus of a museum. The Rev. Canon
Grainger presented a case of 23 fossils, found in the County Antrim ; a case of 6o fossils
, found in the lias, Island Magee, was presented by Mr. William Swanson, Belfast ; the cast
of a large ammonite, found in one of the Bank Heads, Larne, was presented by the late Mr. Samuel
Ferres, and a section of mammoth tooth, found in Kilwaughter limestone quarry, came from
Mr. Hugh Bailie. The McGarel Buildings were also erected by the late Mr. Charles McGarel.
They cost about £8,000, and have an endowment of £310 a year. The intention of the
founder was to provide a home for families having already a small income. Ten such are
at present in occupation. Their houses are partly furnished, and each receives an allowance
of £20 a year. A superintendent, at a salary of £50 a year, manages under trustees.
A public burial place, called the McGarel Cemetery, was also laid out by the late
Mr. Charles McGarel. It contains 2 acres and a rood, and about £800 was expended upon it.
Half an acre was given for the separate use of Roman Catholics, and is managed by the
Parish Priest. The rest was handed over to the care of the guardians of the poor.
The beautiful Grammar School, finished at the end of last year, was built at a cost of
£4,000. The late Sir Edward Coey, owner of the town, gave the site, and £1,000, and
Mr. John Crawford gave £3,000. In recognition of this service to the town, portraits
in oil of Sir E. Coey and Mr. Crawford were paid for by public subscription, and now
occupy a prominent position in the Grammar School. .
At the close of last year, the Larne Horticultural Society was organized. Sailing and
rowing races were held on the 25th of August, 1887, under the auspices of the Larne
Harbour Corinthian Sailing Club. Messrs. Paul Picken and Mr. William Rankin, a summer
resident, were the promoters. The intention is to repeat the programme annually. A cricket
club, in existence for about 4 years, has 35 members, and a gymnasium, established in 1882,
55 members. Funds for supplying the poor with fuel and clothing are maintained with praiseworty
zeal. About a dozen men, in small boats, fish for pollen, congereels, lythe, blockan, bream,
pollock and lobsters. The Union workhouse at Larne is one of the few in Ireland with a whitewashed
front. It has a farm of six acres, two of which are devoted to the cultivation of vegetables.
extracted from Bassett's Book of Antrim 1888
reprinted by Books Ulster, Bangor
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