Commuters


Whitehead was different from Doagh and Toome in that most of those in work there were not employed in the town, but elsewhere, usually Belfast. John Milliken’s impression of Whitehead when he was a child was that it was a ‘dormitory-type town for business people’.

Brian McKenna also described Whitehead as a ‘dormitory town’ where the inhabitants tended to work in Belfast unless they had a shop or other small business. Brian himself worked for a time in Watson’s furniture business in Belfast, while his wife Kathleen worked as a typist for the Ulster Transport Authority in Linenhall Street, Belfast. Eithne McKendry’s father, Samuel Moore, was in the civil service and worked at Stormont. Trevor Monteith began work in 1952 in the Belfast Bank (later the Northern Bank and now the Danske Bank). As Eithne points out, the departure of so many workers left Whitehead a rather quiet place during the day.



Brian McKenna also described Whitehead as a ‘dormitory town’ where the inhabitants tended to work in Belfast unless they had a shop or other small business. Brian himself worked for a time in Watson’s furniture business in Belfast, while his wife Kathleen worked as a typist for the Ulster Transport Authority in Linenhall Street, Belfast. Eithne McKendry’s father, Samuel Moore, was in the civil service and worked at Stormont. Trevor Monteith began work in 1952 in the Belfast Bank (later the Northern Bank and now the Danske Bank). As Eithne points out, the departure of so many workers left Whitehead a rather quiet place during the day.

What facilitated easy access to Belfast was of course the railway which made it possible to be in the city less than half an hour after leaving Whitehead. According to Brian McKenna, the trains leaving Whitehead ‘were solid, you couldn’t have got on to them hardly’. Furthermore, ‘everything went by train, cows, chickens, people’. Brian recalls farmers driving cattle down Cable Road to have them loaded on to the trains at the excursion platform. Kathleen McKenna’s father, Patrick O’Neill, worked as a signalman at Whitehead station. Others she remembers working at the station in Whitehead included porters and clerical workers who dealt with the delivery of freight and parcels.

South Antrim Living Memories Project wishes to acknowledge the assistance of: