Solved – mystery of the 1950s Co Down bakery boys

The picture that sparked Terry Shields, the middle of the three boys, to relive his memories of Grahams Bakery in Dromore
The picture that sparked Terry Shields, the middle of the three boys, to relive his memories of Grahams Bakery in Dromore

The mystery of the three little boys perched on milk cans in a vintage photo of Graham’s Bakery, Dromore, has been solved.

Last month, Timothy Graham – grandson of the firm’s founder, May Graham – shared a photo of the bakery from the 1950s with his local newspaper as he appealed for other old photos to use as part of the bakery’s 60-year celebrations.

Timothy, who is the sales and marketing manager with the family bakery, was able to name the four adults in the doorway – May Graham, Gordon Graham, Joan Johnson and Margaret Hanna – but no-one knew who the little boys were.

No-one that is, until Terry Shields, principal of King’s Park Primary School, Lurgan, realised it was himself along with his brother Colin and pal Wilson Miniss.

Terry, who had no idea the photo had ever been taken or existed, told the Dromore Leader: “It was lovely to see the photo – it’s wonderful what 50-odd years can do.

“I was six or seven at the time and I’m the one sitting in the middle with my arms crossed – which my daughter says is still like me nowadays.

“Sitting on my right is my younger brother Colin and on the other side is Wilson Miniss, who lived just down from Graham’s Bakery.

“We lived up from the bakery, about halfway up Meeting Street in a Georgian house with two pillars at the door.”

Giving a delightful insight into a child’s life in the area at the time, Terry said: “In those days, Meeting Street was our football pitch – every afternoon and every night.

“There was a lane up the side of Graham’s called Brewery Lane which was one of our goals . The other goal was at the far side of our house.

“Brewery Lane was knocked down about 20 years ago to make way for houses, but back then it was busy with Dixon’s factory there and Gibson’s Meal Mill.

“I remember the bakery well and it was a good thing our goals were down from it for we never broke any of their windows – we did break a few other windows though!”

All the football practice paid off – Terry and his brother Tommy went on to play for Linfield and another brother Sandy played for and later managed Larne.

Terry also remembers being sent from the Central Primary School to the bakery every Friday to get sweets for the class prize winners.

“I didn’t get many of those sweets, but at least I got out of classes for a while,” he said.

“I remember the Graham family well, in fact Mrs Graham put the icing on my wedding cake in 1984.

“She made many fancy things but the main source of delight as I recall it was the soda bread – when I was a wee lad I remember queues every morning for the soda bread.”

Terry has been principal at King’s Park for the past 16 years and is in his 40th year of teaching.

He said: “You couldn’t imagine as a wee lad sitting on that milk churn how things will turn out for you.

“It’s funny looking back to think how I spent my youth knocking about the street and talking myself out of trouble – I think I’m still doing that to this day!”