Parkgate thresher highlight of museum’s new exhibition

A threshing machine from a Parkgate family’s farm is a key highlight of a new exhibition at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.

The Museum has refreshed its popular Land, Sea and Sky galleries to include two new exhibitions entitled On the Hoof and Taken for a Ride.

On the Hoof explores the origins and development of early horse-drawn vehicles, from slipes and slide cars to trottle cars and Scotch cart and a real highlight of the display is a threshing machine which dates from 1916 and came from the Cunningham family farm in Parkgate, Antrim.

The Taken for a Ride exhibition features a complete collection of carriages owned by an entrepreneur from Larne, James Chaine, who was instrumental in developing the Larne Stranraer cross-channel link and played a key role in building and developing Larne’s Port and Harbour. He also financed the railroad lines from Larne to Ballyclare and from Larne to Ballymena. The collection includes six carriages which Chaine used according to the occasion. The carriages are in themselves a statement of Chaine’s success. Chaine’s carriage collection was donated to the Ulster Museum in 1937 and came to the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum in the 1990s.

The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum’s Road and Rail Transport Curator Mark Kennedy said, “It is very rare to get a complete collection of carriages together. Chaine’s collection of carriages would be the modern day equivalent of owning a fleet of Ferraris, Aston Martins and Jaguars. Mr Chaine made a major contribution to Larne both economically and in terms of infrastructure and we are delighted to have his fleet of fine carriages on display.

Mr Kennedy added, “While the carriages and carts are superb objects in themselves, what is more fascinating is the aspects of Ulster history which they reflect and the personal stories connected with them.”