Belfast Telegraph

Blue plaque tribute to Newry father and son

By Rebecca Black

A Co Down father and son have become the first to both be honoured by the Ulster History Circle.

A blue plaque will be unveiled to social housing pioneer Charles Blaney at the address of his former home - 65 Bridge Street in Newry.

His son Max Blaney, a bomb disposal officer, was previously honoured in 2013 at the same address for his bravery during the London Blitz in 1940.

He died while disarming a bomb in Romford Road in the East End, and was awarded the George Cross for his work during the Second World War.

His father was born at Rosnakill in Co Donegal, and graduated in Dublin as a civil engineer before going on to work for the Belfast Corporation.

After this he moved to Newry to take up the post of town surveyor in 1902 at the age of 25.

He set out to improve the water and sewage services in the then overcrowded town.

Charles later went on to oversee the conversion of a former military barracks to social housing named Linenhall Square which served Newry until their demolition in 1960. Charles also improved the port, railways, bridges, streets, lighting and was honoured with an MBE.

His former home is now owned by the Habinteg Housing Association which partners with charitable organisations, and jointly manage a number of locations. Their Newry partnership is with the Simon Community.

Charles and Max will be the first father and son to be awarded blue plaques, and on the same building, in Northern Ireland.

The plaque to Charles will be unveiled by his grandson Michael Blaney on Friday at 2pm.

Ulster History Circle chairman Chris Spurr said: "Charles Blaney, as town surveyor for over 50 years, is acknowledged in having changed the face of Newry, where he is acclaimed as a pioneer of social housing.

"In a distinguished double, the Ulster History Circle is delighted to celebrate this exemplary public official with a blue plaque on the same building where his son Max Blaney GC is already commemorated."

Belfast Telegraph

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