The Reside Collection

An Invaluable Resource

The Reside Collection forms the nucleus of the local history archive at Newry and Mourne Museum. The c.10,000 rare and important documents in the Collection were compiled by Major Gerald Wilson Reside, an architect and engineer from Newry, and his wife, Margaret (neé Fisher), a solicitor in the town. The material reflects Major Reside's enthusiasm for local history and is an essential part of the written heritage of Newry and the wider south Armagh/south Down area.

Family Background

Major Reside's father, Samuel Wilson Reside, was originally from Carnlough in Co Antrim. He settled in the Newry area in the last years of the 19th century and established an architectural and civil engineering practice. Samuel married Amelia Ferguson, daughter of Mathias Ferguson, a clockmaker in Sugar Island, Newry, and had two children, Gerald and Mildred. Mildred married the writer Sam Hanna Bell and their son, Fergus Hanna Bell, a solicitor in Newry, donated The Reside Collection to Newry and Mourne Museum.

After graduating in engineering, Gerald Wilson Reside joined his father's business. He served with the Royal Artillery in France and Belgium during the Second World War, achieving the rank of Major. In 1947, Major Reside married Margaret Fisher, a prominent Newry solicitor.

Highly regarded and well known in the area, Major and Mrs Reside lived at Killowen Cottage, near Rostrevor. They established an extensive and beautiful garden which was regularly open to the public and twice featured on television. Major Reside served as a Deputy Lieutenant for County Down for many years and was a founder member of the Old Newry Society.

Overview of the Collection

Dating from 1715 to the 1990s, the wide ranging material in The Reside Collection sheds light on many aspects of local history in the Newry area. The Collection includes the following classes of records:

  • Estate Records - rental books, titles deeds, maps and estate surveys in the Collection mainly relate to the estates of the Earls of Kilmorey. Significant material also concerns property in Newry owned by the Marquises of Downshire and to a lesser degree, the estates of the Hall family of Narrow Water and the Ross family of Rostrevor.
  • Newspapers - newspapers collected by Major Reside include early editions of the Newry Reporter and the Newry Telegraph. There are also many cuttings from various 19th-century newspapers, but the bulk of the cuttings date from the 1920s to the 1980s and relate to local history, politics and legal cases.
  • Maps and Architectural Plans - these relate to the broad range of architectural, engineering and surveying projects undertaken by Major Reside, such as private houses, schools, commercial and business premises, factories and industrial installations. The Collection also includes a large number of conveyance maps prepared by Major Reside and his father for local solicitors. They provide an invaluable record of property ownership and urban topography in Newry, Warrenpoint, Rostrevor and Kilkeel.
  • Miscellaneous Items - a considerable quantity of printed ephemera forms an important part of the Collection. Most of this relates to local history and local events, though there are a number of items with no direct link to Newry which Major Reside collected for their historic interest.

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This project is part financed by the European Union through the Interreg IIIA Programme managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the East Border Region Interreg IIIA Partnership.

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