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Back then: Wallace Park stroll can give food for thought

Eatery celebrating birth of MP who donated Wallace Park to Lisburn

Princess Elizabeth on a royal visit in 1945, is welcomed by scouts at Wallace Park
Princess Elizabeth on a royal visit in 1945, is welcomed by scouts at Wallace Park
Sir Richard Wallace

By Eddie McIlwaine

There's no nicer place for a summer stroll than Wallace Park in Lisburn, especially when you can reflect as you dander on how the park got its name.

You see, Wallace Park, with its rolling lawns and winding lanes, was a gift to Lisburn from Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890), who was Conservative MP for the district from 1873 until 1885 when he endeared himself to the townsfolk.

Now, during Lisburn Restaurant Week, running until June 22, manager Ray Maguire is holding a birthday party at his Wallace Eatery in the town at 88 Bridge Street, on Saturday in honour of Sir Richard who was born on this, the longest day, in 1818.

He was the illegitimate son of Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, for whom he worked as secretary, and inherited his father's estates and collection of European art in 1871. Wallace expanded the collection himself, and in 1897, after his death, the Wallace Collection was donated to the nation and is now located in what was his London home, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London.

His bequests to the people of Lisburn as well as Wallace Park included Wallace High School which is now used as offices by the South Eastern Regional College.

Sir Richard achieved fame during the Siege of Paris for his charitable acts. He organised two full scale ambulances to operate during the siege to serve French wounded and sick and down on their luck Britons caught up in the trouble.

Wallace is estimated to have privately contributed as much as 2.5m francs to the needy of Paris. This is equivalent to £3.8m today. He was awarded the Legion d'Honneur. It also explains why Mr Maguire will be having a few French dishes on his birthday menu.

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By the way, Sir Richard donated 50 drinking fountains, known as Wallace fountains, to the City of Paris and to Lisburn. Some can still be seen today. Upon his death in 1890, he was interred in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. But never mind all his awards and achievements. One thing of which he was exceptionally proud happened at Smithfield Show in 1883 when he received a Silver Medal for breeding the Best Single Pig.


A timely day to make a return journey to snaps of Arthur Campbell

You never saw Arthur Campbell without his camera. He took atmospheric pictures of ships and trains and motor vehicles as well as turning his focus on some of the great sights of Northern Ireland. I mention Arthur today because he has been in my thoughts as the 20th anniversary of his death is commemorated. He was a special kind of man.

The legacy he left behind is his book Return Journey which is packed with his pictures. That is if you can pick up a copy to peruse. Return Journey copies are scarce although I know there is one in the Linen Hall Library which has staged Campbell exhibitions.

Arthur, who died in 1994, was Belfast born and bred but had to sacrifice a grammar school education at Methodist College when his Royal Irish Rifles soldier father died when Arthur was 15.

He worked first for W&G Baird, founders of the Belfast Telegraph and attended night classes at Belfast College of Art where he discovered his talent for photography and painting.

He retired from Charles Hurst in 1979 and producing two bestselling books in the 80s and was the subject of a David Hammond television documentary for BBC.

Belfast Telegraph


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