Magharee: A New Chapter

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View of Thomas Street c.1900

A new chapter is starting in a history already over 130 years old: Magharee welcomes its new occupants, ABC Community Network and their clients, with good wishes for all who come here.

Magharee was built in 1878 to be a home and office for a local solicitor, E.D.Atkinson, who in 1896 moved to Tandragee as land agent for the Duke of Manchester. The next owner was a young doctor newly arrived from County Cork.

  

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Dr. W.E. Hadden (1858-1949)

Dr William Edward Hadden (1858-1949) was the youngest of five medical sons of a Methodist doctor in Skibbereen; he came to Portadown in 1886 as the first Methodist doctor here. He soon married Rachel Robb (1866–1922), youngest daughter of Hamilton Robb, a Methodist linen manufacturer of old Edenderry House (later the first home of Portadown College). Magharee became both surgery and home for their four children, who all trained as doctors.

 

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Dr. Robert Hadden (1902-1978) and his sister Dr. Winifred Hadden (1896-1960)

After ‘Old’ Dr W.E.Hadden retired in 1928 the medical practice was run by his daughter Dr Winifred (1894-1960) and his youngest son Dr Robert (1902-1978). Dr Winifred lived all her life in Magharee, playing an active part also in local social services and the Portadown Festival. Dr Robert served in the R.A.M.C. during World War II; on his return he lived in Edenderry with his wife Marianne Johnston (1908-95) from Lurgan and their three children: Dr David Hadden (1936-2014) became a consultant in metabolics at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, the younger son Tom was an academic lawyer, and a daughter Rosalind worked in London with John Lewis Partnership.

Dr Robert continued the medical practice at Magharee with his partners Dr William Ramsay, and later Dr John Adams, until the town’s new Health Centre opened in the 1970s when he returned to live here again. Dr Robert was particularly concerned about the problems of alcoholism and left a legacy in his will for a proposed night shelter, which eventually opened after his death as the Edward Street Hostel.

 

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Magharee House c.1920s

Rosalind Hadden lived here until 2008 when the house was bought by the Thornton Trust, a charity set up by two elderly Hadden cousins for the people of Portadown, which unfortunately went bankrupt in the following financial crash.

Finally in 2011 the Magharee Trust, established by the Hadden family, had the opportunity to buy the house back and plan to develop it for public benefit. After many setbacks the building works began in 2014, with welcome co-operation from the Masonic Hall next door, and Phase One was completed in September 2015.

So begins a new chapter at Magharee: a fresh start, and new opportunities for the community to share.