McIlroy dynasty who went on to own chain of shops

Lively Lady amid the  welcome-home flotilla of 400 small vessels off Southsea.'All pictures: Graham Stevens

NOSTALGIA: Home to Portsmouth and a hero’s welcome

Have your say

Sheila Evans got in touch with Remember When hoping readers might be able to help her contact members of a famous shop-owning family in the area – the McIlroys.

She is particularly keen to find out more about her great aunt, Martha McIlroy (nee Nichols).

Sheila, from Gloucestershire, knows that Martha was born near Llandrindod Wells in Radnorshire, and had at least two brothers and five sisters. Her father, Evan, was a farmer married to Elizabeth.

She adds: ‘I don’t know how Martha met Tom (?) McIlroy, but in the earliest photographs I have he looked very similar to the actor who played Mr Selfridge in the recent TV series.’

However, she does know that in 1938 they were living at a house called Tunbridge at Langstone Road, Havant.

Sheila says: ‘The Portsmouth store was bombed during the Second World War and after rebuilding it was reopened by Martha.’

The picture on the right shows Martha with her three sons and their wives at the re-opening.’

Sheila, who says she is ‘nearing 70’, remembers Martha staying with her family on their farm in Montgomery as her sister Polly was her father’s mother who lived with them until she died in 1954 aged 92.

If you can help please get in touch and I’ll pass on any information.

n How many of you sailors remember the yacht Inisheer (pictured below)?

I featured her recently when she was ice-bound in Langstone Harbour during the winter of 1963.

Babs Hutchens sent me the two further pictures of ‘our dear old yacht’ which was raced out of Eastney Cruising Association by her husband, Southsea garage owner Maurie Hutchens.

She was a 21ft Dublin Bay class boat, built in 1899 at Malahide, near the island of Inisheer.

Babs says: ‘She gave us many happy holidays, weekends and Cowes Weeks for 22 years. I would like to think she is still going strong, but I doubt it as she was built in Ireland and being of wooden construction needed a lot of TLC.’