crossexaminer.co.uk

Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

 Commemorative book planned to mark 200 years of Newry Chamber

Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade is to mark its 200th year of business and professional representation of the city of Newry by the publication of a new ledger-style commemorative book entitled ‘The Business of Newry’.

Chamber President Emma Marmion announced details of the ambitious project at its official launch at an event in the Town Hall on Wednesday.

Recently uncovered documents show a very active Chamber operating in the 1820’s deeply involved in canvassing the great infrastructural project of the Newry Sea Canal, a scheme stemming more than twenty years. It included the building of the Albert Basin and the Victoria Locks at a cost of £72,000 (Circa £80m today).

Addressing local business representatives, historians and authors at the launch event, Ms Marmion said: “It is remarkable that our Chamber has played the same role over the past decade in respect of the Southern Relief Road.  This afternoon’s task is somewhat more modest in scale. We are here to lay out our plan for a prestigious commemorative publication that will trace two hundred years of commercial history. We are confident that we have the proper foundation for this but wish to make it as comprehensive as possible.”

The new research confirming the existence of a Chamber of Commerce & Trade in the year 1820 was carried out by a Chamber Past President and publisher of two remarkable Newry histories, Michael McKeown. These well received and admired books are “The Book of Newry” and “The History of Newry Post Office”.

Having uncovered the exciting information from 200 years ago, Mr McKeown told those gathered: “I was very excited to find a series of letters in the National Archives from various Presidents of the Chamber written in the 1820’s to the Chief Secretary’s Office at Dublin Castle. The documents include great detail on the planning and costing of the Sea Canal and most importantly where the vast sum of money to construct was sourced.

President of Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade, Emma Marmion, and Michael McKeown, Past President and Current Treasurer who will oversee the project, launch “The Business of Newry” Book, which will be published later this year.

“When I mentioned the find to my fellow Directors, the die was cast and now I have to manufacture the book to match the ambition.”

Mr McKeown has recruited a formidable team headed by Tony Canavan, author of the acclaimed, “Frontier Town, An Illustrated History” who is contracted to edit the contributions from a group that includes Dr. Mary Goss, Ian Heaney, Francis Gallagher, Chris Cassidy, Peter Makem, Rowan Hand, Maud Hamill, Marjorie Harshaw and Claudine Coyle.

This book will cover so many aspects of manufacture, invention, adaptation, engineering, science, building, transport and education that all relevant contributions are needed to supplement the group of researchers.

Encouraging the public’s participation with “your city needs you!”, Mr McKeown added, “Whist we know what businesses existed in the past one hundred years, very little has been written of their origins, who and what were the drivers. Much research can be done in newspapers and government records.”

Anyone wishing to participate in research for the publication should register their interest by emailing Michael@mattdarcys.com and for further information contact Newry Chamber on admin@newrychamber.com, telephone 028 3025 0303 ext. 2.