Newry.ie – James McGeorge – Newry Businessman, Politician and Philanthropist

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Born in Scotland in 1814, James McGeorge had settled in Newry by the age of 24 when he is recorded as proudly owning the “Newry Mart”, a haberdashery store in North Road. In a limited time he seemingly redeveloped two dilapidated homes and transformed them into a quite thriving organization.

19th-century plaster bust of James McGeorge which is on display in Newry and Mourne Museum. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
A 19th-century plaster bust of James McGeorge which is on display in Newry and Mourne Museum. Newry and Mourne Museum Selection

McGeorge’s professional enterprises furnished him with a system to build himself as a major citizen in Newry and the encompassing area. He grew to become a Law enforcement Commissioner for Newry and afterwards, a Town Commissioner, a place which he held right until his death in 1870. McGeorge was also involved in the Newry and Warrenpoint Fuel Firms, and in the establishment of the Newry and Warrenpoint Railway and the Newry and Enniskillen Railway. His other major business enterprise in the space was a scutch mill at his farm at Carnmeen, around Newry.

Newry Intermediate School which opened in the 1890s. The introduction of intermediate education in Ireland and subsequently, Newry, was one of the legacies of James McGeorge. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
Newry Intermediate Faculty which opened in the 1890s. The introduction of intermediate schooling in Ireland and subsequently, Newry, was a person of the legacies of James McGeorge. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

James McGeorge also took element in parliamentary politics at a nearby stage. As a young guy in Scotland he experienced been a Liberal and had supported Catholic Emancipation. He continued and made this same political pondering in Newry and was a staunch supporter of William Kirk who was elected as the Liberal MP for Newry in 1852. McGeorge experienced performed a major function in Kirk’s campaign, making a quantity of memorable speeches, together with a number of at the Discounts Financial institution in Newry, in aid of the long term MP.

Absent from business and politics, James McGeorge was a keen philanthropist and most of his charitable operate relevant to training and the advertising of literacy. He recognized the Younger Men’s Improvement Modern society in Newry for younger operating adult men and turned President of this organisation which experienced over a hundred customers. Joined to this undertaking was the advancement of a library in the town which was largely established up with McGeorge’s own cash. James McGeorge was also fascinated in the establishment of intermediate education and learning in Ireland and was component of a deputation from the north of Ireland which went to Dublin in December 1859 to petition the Lord Lieutenant for the introduction of these a program. The Intermediate Instruction (Ireland) Monthly bill was passed immediately after James McGeorge’s death in 1878. An intermediate school ultimately opened in Newry in the 1890s.

The 19th - century seal of the Newry Town Commissioners featuring the mitred abbot flanked by the yew trees traditionally associated with St. Patrick.  Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
The 19th – century seal of the Newry City Commissioners featuring the mitred abbot flanked by the yew trees customarily connected with St. Patrick. Newry and Mourne Museum Selection

To the close of his daily life, James McGeorge retired to his farm at Carnmeen and was appointed a Justice of the Peace for counties Armagh and Down. He died on 12th April 1870 at the age of 56. The pall-bearers at his funeral to St. Patrick’s Church of Eire graveyard in Newry integrated William Kirk, Denis Brady, Hill Irvine and F.W. McBlain. Many other popular folks from the environment of nearby politics, company and training attended his funeral reflecting McGeorge’s highly substantial contribution to the development of the city in the middle a long time of the 19th century.

Newry and Mourne Museum is open up Tuesday – Saturday 10.00 am – 4.30 pm. Make sure you phone 0330 137 4422 for further more info.

by Ken Abraham