Station Master's House Maghera
Joe Mallon LLB
I am a Maghera man.
I grew up in Crewe Drive just down the railway line about one hundred yards from where the Station Master’s House is situated.
As children myself and my 3 brothers as well as all my neighbours would have played on the railway line, went on adventures up to the “big road” on the old path of the railway line. My parents would have encouraged us to go out and explore and have fun.
The Station Master’s House was actually a building I walked past every day going to school round the corner at the local seat of learning Saint Patricks College.
When I left Maghera to go to college in Trinity in Dublin, I never dreamed I would be back one day and to be working in this fantastic building.
Not a lot of detail is known of the history of the Station Master’s House.
The station was opened by the Derry Central Railway on 18 December 1880. It was taken over by the Northern Counties Committee in September 1901. The station closed to passengers on 28 August 1950. The Final Closure of the Station took place on 1 October 1959.
For 79 years the Railway Station served the people of Maghera and surrounding areas. 79 years of stories and history that I hope to start compiling over the years.
The preceding stop to Maghera is Upperlands station and next stop is Knockloughrim Station.
One great old story of the station is contained on the Maghera Historical Society Website:
Belfast Newsletter 10th March 1890. A MAN LEAPS FROM A TRAIN. MAGHERA, SUNDAY.- After the departure of the 5.40 train last evening Acting-Sergeant Dolan and Constable McDonagh, who were on duty at the station heard sounds as of some person moaning along the line a short distance from the station. Constable McDonagh proceeded in the direction, and had only got about 100 yards down the line when he found a young man named James Mellon close to the rails apparently suffering great pain. The station-master, the acting-sergeant, and one of the porters carried the injured man on a door to the waiting-room, where he was examined by Dr. McGowan, who was in attendance. The doctor found that Mellon’s right leg was broken a little above the knee. Questioned as to how the accident occurred, Mellon said he joined the train at Kilrea, intending to get out at Maghera, but he mistook the station, and on finding his mistake he jumped out of the railway carriage, with the result already mentioned. A cart having been procured, he was removed to his father’s residence in the townland of Ternoney.
Somewhat ironic given the now current use of the building some have said!
"It has been, at times, magical to see the local people of Maghera engage with the building in this way and makes all of us who work here feel very privileged"
There were 5 Station Masters who lived and worked in this fine building over that time - Thomas Butler, Followed by Harry Moore, Jack Bradley, Herbie Wilson and finally Herbert Monteith At the opening of the Station Master’s House on Thursday the 3rd December 2015 we were delighted to be joined by Mrs Monteith, her daughter Sandra and her husband Richard. Mrs Monteith, in her 90’s was overjoyed to be back in what was her home for many years. Since then her two sons Keith and Stewart have been to visit the building and recounted many fantastic stories about growing up here.
This has been a recurring theme since we opened for business here on the 1st November 2015 – people calling in and telling us stories of someone they knew who lived here or their vivid memories of the Station. It has been at times magical to see the local people of Maghera engage with the building in this way and makes all of us who work in this building feel very privileged that this fantastic building has been brought back to life in the manner it has. That fellow Maghera people are happy that this work has been carried out and new life breathed into this building is an unexpected bonus. Clients have left in old pictures, brought in books on Railway stations and locals drop in with their yarns. We have all been amazed at the reaction.
The building was purchased in January 2015 and we set about seeking planning permission via my architects McGurk Chartered Architects, Magherafelt – both Colm McGurk, the principal of that practice, and Edelle Henry were instrumental in the design of the building we have today and I am very grateful to them for this. This application was not without its challenges as the building is a Grade B1 listed building.
Planning was granted and local Maghera construction firm P&K McKaigue Limited carried out the complete refurbishment (the building was in very poor repair) in an incredible turn around. Works commenced on my wife’s birthday on the 9th May and we moved in to start business on the 1st November.
Very instrumental in the building we now have is my good friend and graphic designer, Gabriel Muldoon and local joinery firm Specialist Joinery Group who carried out the fit out to the office.
All work was carried out by local tradesmen and craftsmen from Maghera and the surrounding areas and I am very proud that all this was achieved by people from my home area.
This firm was started by Tony McCormick in 1971. I myself joined in 2004 as a solicitor and Mallon & Co started business in September 2008. Tony retired having created his own legacy in Maghera for 45 years at the end of 2015.
We were very honoured for Anthony Tohill, Chairman of Mid Ulster Council to join us for the official opening of the building late last year along with my own family – my wife Caitriona and my four children Cara, Kate, Erin and Luke- our staff, friends and guests.
I hope this building will remain in its present grandeur and for me, our staff and for the public will provide a service to the town of Maghera and beyond.
Now just over one year into occupying this building, I have to say it has been a joy to work here. All our clients who call to the Station Master’s House have given very positive feedback. Our team here at Mallon & Co are all delighted to be working in such a beautiful building and to be part of our local history restored.