There is no better place to learn the traditional skills of blacksmithing than the beautiful, historic location of Moneypenny’s Lock, on the Newry Canal outside Portadown. You can make sparks fly in our forge, where there is a range of classes to suit everyone from beginners to the more advanced metalworker. Or you can visit our canal-themed museum next door in the Lockhouse, named after the Moneypenny family who looked after the lock from the early 1800s until its closure in the mid 20th century.
Walk/Cycle Newry Canal Way
Restored 18th Century lock-keeper’s house, stables and bothy located on the Newry Canal. The stables contain a ‘Life on the Canal’ exhibition, which explores the history of the Newry Canal; the oldest summit level canal in the British Isles. Part of the lock-keeper’s house, containing a typical early 1900s interior, is also open to the public (please note that the rest of the house is a private residence).
The gable end of Moneypenny’s Lockhouse includes a display of how the Lighterman would have lived at the time when Lighters were the only means of transporting goods. Take a seat in The Bothy and watch a film on the history of the Newry Canal. There are lots of activities for young children to do in both exhibitions. Another recent addition to Moneypenny’s Lockhouse is the beautiful Bee Garden, where you can sit on the bench and enjoy the relaxing surroundings.
The stables formerly housed the horses that were used to tow boats along the Newry Canal. They are now home to the Moneypenny’s Blacksmith Workshop, which provides metalworking classes and demonstrations to the public on selected days. Their basic aim is to celebrate the ancient craft of blacksmithing and place it alongside modern metal fabrication techniques in a creative and inclusive way. The stone lock chamber was built to lift and lower boats from one level of the Newry Canal to another.
Moneypenny’s Lock is situated in a tranquil area that is home to a wonderful variety of plant and wildlife. The elusive kingfisher that makes its home along the Canal attracts birdwatchers from far and wide.
Moneypenny’s lock can be reached via the Newry Canal pathway consisting of a two-mile walk along the towpath from Shillington’s Quay car park in Castle Street, Portadown. Alternatively, cars can be parked at Knock Bridge on the Mullahead Road, where Moneypenny’s can be reached via a 10-minute walk along the towpath. To access the towpath from Knock Bridge, follow the signs for Moneypenny’s Lockhouse.
The Newry Canal Way is a 20-mile-long distance route running from Portadown to Newry along the restored towpath of the former Newry Canal. This linear walk/cycle route provides a flat, level surface suitable for all.
Craigavon Museum Services also have a Local History Library, located on the top floor of the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre on Oxford Island, with a wide variety of hard to find books, journals, maps and photographs of the local area available for reference.
• Over 2000 books and journals on local and Irish history.
• A Quaker library containing 700 volumes relating to the Quakers in Ireland.
• A Methodist library with over 1,500 volumes relating to the history of the Methodist Church in Ireland.
• Ordnance Survey maps of the area dating from the 1800s.
• Extensive photographic collections of the local area.
Free Admission on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, April to September 2pm-5pm
Please note there is no parking available at Moneypenny’s Lockhouse. Access via the Newry Canal towpath from Portadown or Knock Bridge.
Local History Library at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre on Oxford Island
Free Admission Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, Saturday 11am to 3.30pm, all year round.
Other times by arrangement
Guided tours of the Moneypenny’s Lockhouse can be provided all year round by Craigavon Museum staff and themes covered include: Construction of the canal • Transport in the past • Life on the canal and its role in the growth of Portadown
Please note that there is a charge for guided tours.
Criagavon Museum Services also have a variety of themed loan boxes available for hire for a two-week period. Each box contains original and replica objects from the Museum’s handling collection and a folder of suggested activities. They are ideal for hands-on classroom learning, reminiscence projects, residential homes and community groups. Loan Boxes available include: School and Childhood Toys and Games World War 1: A Soldier’s Life World War 2: 1940s Homes in the Past At Work High days and Holidays In Style In Good Health Smells
Craigavon Museum Services also delivers a range of outreach programmes in the classroom. Programmes currently available include:
World War 1: A Soldier’s Life KS2
An eye-opening lesson which provides an insight into the life of a soldier during World War 1. Through artefact handling and role play, children will experience the recruitment test soldiers had to pass to join the army, the training they underwent and the horrific conditions of trench warfare. The importance of nurses and medicine are also examined. A ‘World War 1’ loan box is available for hire to support this lesson.
World War 2: Life On The Home Front KS2
In this interactive lesson children are brought back in time to experience life on the Home Front during World War 2. Through the use of objects and role play, children will learn about life in the local area during the war, with air raids, evacuation, rationing and civil defence all covered. A ‘1940s’ loan box is available for hire to support this lesson.
Toys And Games Foundation/KS1
In this hands-on lesson children are allowed to handle and play with a range of vintage wooden, tin and clockwork toys. Throughout the lesson children are encouraged to think about the differences between old and modern toys. This lesson finishes with an old fashioned magic lantern show. A ‘Toys and Games’ loan box is available for hire to support this lesson.
The Archaeology Of Early Settlers KS2
How do we know about the past? In this lesson we reconstruct the life of the early settlers of the stone-age from the remains they have left behind. Through a series of practical workshops children will find out about archaeology, the lives of the hunter gatherers of the Mesolithic and the introduction of farming during the Neolithic. The Museum continually adds to its outreach programme. Currently an outreach lesson on the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852 in the local area is being developed. Please note a charge applies for all outreach sessions.
Craigavon Museum Services
For further information on the Moneypenny’s Lockhouse Blacksmith Workshop contact firstname.lastname@example.org