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Crawford McCullagh

Sir Crawford McCullagh, 1st Baronet (1868 - 13 April 1948) was a Unionist politician in Northern Ireland.

McCullagh was the director of several businesses in Belfast, including Maguire and Patterson, a dry goods firm (Vespa matches), and the Classic Cinema at Castle Place, as well as owning McCullagh and Co., a silk mercers, milliners and fancy drapery store taken over by Styles and Mantles in 1927.

He was elected to Belfast City Council for the Irish Unionist Party. In 1911, he was the High Sheriff of Belfast, and from 1914 to 1917 Lord Mayor of Belfast.

McCullagh was not the originator of the 'Two Minutes Silence' to honour the fallen of the Battle of the Somme, as the Newtownabbey historian Bob Armstrong famously claimed in his publication 'Through The Ages To Newtownabbey' in 1979. According to the Belfast Telegraph 1916 report stated that Sir Crawford actually called for a 'Five Minutes Silence' on 1 July 1916 following news of the slaughter of thousands of soldiers from the 36th (Ulster) Division. However, significantly, he was the first recorded person to publicly call for a 'silent' tribute for fallen soldiers regardless of the duration of the tribute being a One, Two or Five Minutes Silence.

McCullagh was knighted in 1915, and created a baronet on 1 July 1935. At the Northern Ireland general election, 1921, he was elected for Belfast South for the Ulster Unionist Party. He lost his seat at the 1925 general election, when he took only 4% of the first preference votes.

From 1931 until 1942, McCullagh was again Lord Mayor of Belfast, which now entitled him to a seat in the Senate of Northern Ireland. He was Deputy Speaker from 1939-41. In 1938 he negotiated with Lord Shaftesbury a donation to the city of Belfast Castle and its demesne of 200 acres (0.81 km2) bordering on Hazelwood and Bellevue pleasure grounds. He also opened the Floral Hall. In 1941, he was appointed to the Privy Council of Northern Ireland. From 1943 until 1946, he served a final term as Lord Mayor.

Sir Crawford's elegant mansion, Lismarra, at Whitehouse, north of Belfast, was designed by Abbeydene following his death. It is currently being utilised as an exclusive guest house.

McCullagh’s son, Sir Joseph Crawford McCullagh (2nd Baronet of Lismara) (1907-1974), was probably the foremost authority on ornithology in Northern Ireland in the years preceding his death. He was Patron of the Northern Ireland Ornithologists' Club. He later built a house adjacent to his family home in the townland of White Abbey and took the 'Lismarra' name. The house still remains today.

References

  • Biographies of Members of the Northern Ireland House of Commons
Political offices
Preceded by
George Doran
High Sheriff of Belfast
1911–1912
Succeeded by
James Johnston
Preceded by
Robert James McMordie
Lord Mayor of Belfast
1915–1917
Succeeded by
James Johnston
Preceded by
William Frederick Coates
Lord Mayor of Belfast
1931–1942
Succeeded by
George Ruddell Black
Preceded by
George Ruddell Black
Lord Mayor of Belfast
1943–1946
Succeeded by
William Frederick Neill
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