Blue plaque unveiled at former home of Sir Crawford McCullagh

Chris Spurr (left), chairman of the Ulster History Circle, with Mayor John Scott and Alderman Fraser Agnew at the unveiling of the blue plaque. INNT 28-513CON Pics by Maud Hamill
Chris Spurr (left), chairman of the Ulster History Circle, with Mayor John Scott and Alderman Fraser Agnew at the unveiling of the blue plaque. INNT 28-513CON Pics by Maud Hamill

The Ulster History Circle unveiled a blue plaque on Tuesday, July 5 at Abbeydene House, Newtownabbey to Sir Crawford McCullagh, the first person to publicly call for a period of silence for fallen soldiers.

Over the decades the silence of remembrance, first called for by Sir Crawford in July 1916 after hearing about the terrible losses in the early days of the Battle of the Somme, has become a widely used symbol of respect around the world.

The blue plaque erected at Abbeydene House. INNT 28-512CON

The blue plaque erected at Abbeydene House. INNT 28-512CON

Sir Crawford McCullagh (1868 - 1948) was three times Lord Mayor of Belfast. A Unionist politician, he was the director of several businesses in Belfast.

The unveiling of the blue plaque at his former home, Abbeydene House near Hazelbank, was attended by local historians and invited guests, including Mayor John Scott.

Among those who spoke at the event were Alderman Scott, his party colleague Alderman Fraser Agnew, Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, and Susie Cunningham, the great-granddaughter of Sir Crawford McCullagh.

Mr Spurr commented: “The silence of remembrance first called for by Sir Crawford McCullagh in July 1916 has since become a gesture of respect worldwide. One hundred years after this Lord Mayor of Belfast exhorted citizens to remember the fallen of the Somme, the Ulster History Circle is remembering him in turn, by a blue plaque placed on his former home.

Mayor John Scott, Ulster History Circle representatives and guests at the unveiling of the blue plaque at Abbeydene House. Included in the picture are Susie Cunningham, the great-granddaughter of Sir Crawford McCullagh, and the owners Abbeydene House, Tim and Ethy Clifford. INNT 28-511CON

Mayor John Scott, Ulster History Circle representatives and guests at the unveiling of the blue plaque at Abbeydene House. Included in the picture are Susie Cunningham, the great-granddaughter of Sir Crawford McCullagh, and the owners Abbeydene House, Tim and Ethy Clifford. INNT 28-511CON

“The Circle would particularly like to thank Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for their financial support towards the plaque.”

Alderman Scott, who represents the Macedon area, added: “It was an honour for me to unveil a blue plaque in memory of the man who first called for five minutes silence for the soldiers who lost their lives at the Somme.

“It was good to see so many people there and it is great that we can honour people like Sir Crawford McCullagh in this way.”