Saturday, May 13, 2017

My grandfather, community activist, Portavogie 1938

William Thompson (1901–1957) was a small-time farmer with 3 fields to his name, and a local poet of some renown. He died when my father was just 14. He wasn’t an Orangeman, but here he is in 1938, aged 37, chairing a local protest meeting at Portavogie Orange Hall to redirect road building funds away from where the government wanted to put it to where the community needed it more.

He had married my grandmother, Madge Coffey, the year before on 30 July 1937. My uncle John was their firstborn child, born just the month before the meeting, on 11 November 1938. These articles are from the Belfast News Letter and the Northern Whig, December 1938.

The road upgrade was eventually carried out, around 1955, as shown in the photo below. The wheels of government turn slowly. 

Portavogie Road Protest NWPortavogie Road Protest

Butterlump Road