Lisburn, Co. Antrim, was a unionist town, and had fiercely resisted Home Rule. In 1912, thousands of townspeople had signed the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant and Women’s Declaration, and raised three U.V.F. battalions – the South Antrim Volunteers – to maintain the status quo. After the war, Charles Curtis Craig (1869-1960) was, again, returned as M.P. for South Antrim. He had first won the seat in 1903 with the help of his younger brother James Craig (1871-1940), the future prime minster of Northern Ireland.
In the early 1920s, Lisburn was busy and industrious. It was home to some of the world’s most famous linen manufacturers, from the Linen Thread Co., with headquarters at Hilden, to Coulson’s Damask manufactory, producers of fine table linens. Lisburn Urban District Council (L.U.D.C.) was responsible for the town’s amenities and services, and while over 12,000 people lived within its boundaries, almost 50,000 people lived in the surrounding area, and helped maintain the town’s position as a busy commercial and market centre. The back pages of Lisburn’s two newspapers – the Lisburn Standard and Lisburn Herald – were filled sport fixtures, from boxing to hockey, golf to cycling, hinted at the town’s rich social and cultural life.