Shrigley Tannery Founders Families Contact Down News

Relations from the Shrigley Tannery from England and Australia contact Down News after reading feature on the planned commemoration

Relations of the founders of the Shrigley tannery who now live in northern Australia and the south of England have came across an article published by Down News this week on the upcoming commemoration event about Shrigley and the role of the Jewish families who founded the tannery in the 1930s.

Linda Daniel, who is the grand-daughter of Harold (Harry) Andrew Daniel, who was hired to oversee the conversion of the old mill in Shrigley into the tannery, chatted about some of her early memories.

Linda said: “I just decided to do a check on my phone the other day on Shrigley and I came across the Down News article and I was really excited to hear that there was going to be a commemoration to remember the Shrigley tannery and the Jewish families on the 200th anniversary of the village.

“I am still in contact with Kathy and Helen McAleer who now live in the south of England. They are the grand-daughters of one of the founders of the tannery, ERIC and FRITZI BISS.

“Grand-dad Harry became good friends with Eric Biss and both families would get together on a Saturday night to play cards, mostly whist. And I think Canasta. They were all card mad.

“They lived in a few places but rented a house on Strangford Loch with 5 acres and has access to Strangford Lough for £25 per year!

Linda Daniel, who lives in northern Australia, grand-daughter of Harry Andrew Daniel who was responsible for setting out the tannery at the old mill in Shrigley.

“Harold (Harry) Andrew Daniel, my grandfather, was hired to oversee the conversion from the old mill into the tannery.

“I would love to contribute to the book. Dad would be tickled pink. I have lots of his anecdotes on life in Killyleagh from the Tannery to funny stories and to ghostly encounters! 

“He apprenticed at Harland & Wolfe and ended up designing the support structure of the Grand staircase of the Sydney Opera House. 

“Once my family came out to Australia they all kept in touch with the Biss family. Then my dad and their daughter Hedy kept in touch and then I kept in touch with her until Hedy’s passing this year. I am now chatting with Katherine their grand-daughter.

“I met Eric Biss when I went to England in 1988. It was such a delight.

“Unfortunately I can’t make it to the commemoration ceremony but I wish everyone a very happy and memorable time.

“I’m looking forward to the up-dated version of the book when it is released.”

Katherine McAleer, grand-daughter of Eric and Fritzi Biss who helped found the Shirigley Tannery, pictured with the original kitty box and pack of cards they played with. The photo taken just before they left Vienna bound for Shrigley is of Eric and Fritzi with their daughter Hedy, who passed away recently at 90.

Katherine McAleer, grand-daughter of Eric Biss, said: “I would be interested in being involved and keeping up with any future events.

“We will certainly visit the plaque as soon as we can. Sadly we can’t travel on short notice but wish everyone to have a memorable time at the commemoration event.

“I am delighted that the role of the Jewish refugees is being commemorated. They went through dark times before they left to come to Northern Ireland. Many of their Jewish family members who remained died later at the hands of the Nazis.

“Back in those days there was little way of keeping in contact with family members following the upheaval in central Europe – there was no social media like there is today. The fate of many family members remained unknown, for years in some cases.

“It is such a shame that our mother, HEDY, Eric’s only daughter, who arrived in Shrigley aged 6 in 1938, only died last year aged 90, as she had so many tales to tell.

“It is great that the the history of Shrigley is being remembered and I would love to be part of this wonderful initiative.”

  • The photo held by Katherine McAleer above shows her grand-parents ERIC BISS (1907-98) and FRITZI BISS (1906-77) and their only daughter, HEDY McALEER (nee BISS) (1932-2023).

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