The fourth child of James and Mary Ferguson, Henry George (Harry) Ferguson was born in Growell, Dromara on November 4th 1884. Growing up in these tranquil surroundings, with its wonderful views of the beautiful Mourne countryside, it is hardly surprising that Harry would remain attached to the area for the rest of his life.

Like his siblings, Harry was expected to do his fair share of work around his parents 100–acre farm. However, farming in those days was much harder physically than today, and, being slightly built, Harry found the work onerous. As he grew older he looked to other ways of earning of a living.

Initially Harry was sent to Ballykeel Public Elementary School but, after informing the headmaster that he had unjustly punished a fellow pupil, was compelled to transfer to the school at nearby Drumlough!


Harry's dislike of farming increased after he left school and he even began to make plans to emigrate to escape the drudgery of farm life. He was dissuaded from this course of action by his elder brother Joe, who offered him an apprenticeship in the small repair workshop he ran on the Shankill Road in Belfast.

Harry enjoyed working with engines, not least in modifying and improving them, and his ability quickly boosted the reputation of the workshop. He also became keen on motorcar and motorcycle racing. He clearly had some way to go to develop his skills though. It is said that on his first attempt to drive a car he drove straight through the showroom window, with the customer inside!