The Rock Tavern

 

1941 Greetings Card by WW11 soldier

1941 Greetings Card by WW11 soldier

 

Original Rock Tavern sign

Original Rock Tavern sign

 

Rock Tavern building today

Rock Tavern building today

 

Although   the main house is considered to have been built in the late Georgian period   the extension to the right was not built until the early 1900s. This later   extension appears to have been to accommodate a billiards room as part of the   Rock Tavern. The house originally operated as a spirit grocery and hotel run   by John Hyde Cardwell. The cost of a liquor licence in 1844 was almost £10.   An 1836 gunpowder return shows that John Hyde sold 19lb 8oz of gunpowder to   customers for shooting purposes in a two week period. The Cardwells left   Loughgall possibly as a result of their liquor licence being bought up by Mrs   Cope. There are no pubs in the village now thanks to Mrs Cecilia Cope who,   like many ladies in Victorian times, was a fervent advocate of temperance.   She bought up the licences of the publicans in the village and instead   offered an alternative, the Rock Coffee Tavern, which opened in July 1879. A   report of the opening appeared in the Belfast News Letter dated July 1879. It   described the facility as ‘a most comfortable and suitable building. …   There is a good reading room which is amply supplied with daily, weekly, and   temperance newspapers, periodicals, etc. The coffee room is large and airy   and fitted with marble tables and comfortably seated stalls. A commodious   kitchen, with glass doors, opens into the coffee room… refreshments all of   which are sold at prices scarcely sufficient to cover their cost. …   Admission to the reading room is free’ An advert for a manager in the same   publication in 1892 is of interest as it reflects the recruitment policy of   the time. ‘Man and wife wanted to manage a Coffee Tavern in a village   (without children preferred) total abstainers and Protestants’.  Another sign of the times was that the   users of the tavern were predominantly male. The woman’s place was in the   home!! A few of the tokens, inscribed ‘GOOD FOR ONE PENNYWORTH OF   REFRESHMENTS’ at ‘LOUGHGALL COFFEE TAVERN’ are still in existence today.   These would have been given to workers on the estate, in lieu of part of   their wages, to encourage them away from the nearest pub which was   approximately one mile outside the village. Mrs Cope also started a branch of   the ‘Band of Hope’ in the parish where young people were warned of the evils   of intoxicating drink. The membership of this was in the hundreds. During   both World Wars some soldiers were billeted in the Tavern and others   frequented it for entertainment. This is a copy of a greeting card drawn, in   1941, by a soldier from the Fifth Reconnaince Corps. The original hung in the   hall until the early 2000s. Around the mid 1950s the Huey family, purchased   the house. Mr Huey was the principal of Hardy Memorial Primary School,   Richhill. His wife opened an antique business at the rear of the house which   was extremely popular during the 70s and 80s, one of several in the village   at that time. When Mrs Huey retired, her son continued the business here   until 2010 when it was downsized and relocated to the Markethouse.
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