Lodge Life: Wall of fame tribute to pioneers of Orangeism
Orangemen and women prominent in a variety of walks of life have been inducted on to a new wall of fame.
The innovative feature at the Museum of Orange Heritage, Belfast, showcases upwards of 70 individuals who have exceeded in their chosen field since the formation of the institution in 1795.
It includes former prime ministers and statesmen; entrepreneurs; war heroes; missionaries; sports personalities and explorers.
Pronounced figures among the stairwell of portraits are Sir Mackenzie Bowell (prime minister of Canada 1894-96); Rev Dr Rutledge Kane (minister and Gaelic language enthusiast 1841-1898); James Craig (first prime minister of Northern Ireland,1921-40); Dr Thomas J Barnardo (founder of the children’s charity, 1845-1905); Robert Quigg (First World War Victoria Cross recipient) and Alan Campbell (Olympic rower and bronze medallist).
Other sporting personalities to be displayed include football legend George Best and Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey. John Houlding, founder of Liverpool Football Club, is also featured.
Unionist politicians are prevalent on the wall with leading figures such as Sir Edward Carson, Ian Paisley and Jim Molyneaux joining former prime ministers, John Millar Andrews, Viscount Brookeborough, Terence O’Neill, James Chichester-Clark and Brian Faulkner.
The order’s military heritage is also underlined with Kilkeel’s Robert Hill-Hanna, awarded the Victoria Cross in 1917, among seven such recipients and others, along with Eric Glass, the most highly decorated member of the Ulster Defence Regiment.
Bill Greer, who was driving J F Kennedy’s limousine when the former US president was assassinated; celebrated musician Richard Hayward; and one of Northern Ireland’s leading business figures, William Wright, are other notable figures to gain recognition.
They join three ladies – Jean Bates (Queen Elizabeth medal recipient), Nancy Riach (swimmer) and Alicia Dickson-Hamilton (world champion drum major) – on public display at the outreach facility.
Museum curator Jonathan Mattison maintained the wall of fame was an appropriate tribute, serving to recognise members of the institution who have excelled, and continue to do so, in wider society and further afield.
He said: “We are delighted to have installed our much-expanded graphic display of significant Orangemen and women. Down through the centuries, members have been involved in much more than meeting in their Orange halls or taking part in processions. They have been at the forefront of a variety of endeavours serving their respective communities around the world.
“Their lives, actions, and continued achievements, allow us to dispel some of the myths about the Loyal Orange Institution down through the centuries.
“This display will greatly enhance our offering at the Museum of Orange Heritage and, in this particular case, every picture really does tell a story of a thousand words.”
The wall of fame will be fully accessible to the public from next week.
The Cregagh Road museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.