Tom Sutton


This exhibit displays the stories, images and documents of Tom Sutton. In this display, Tom shares his experiences and insights as he reflects upon his long life and his journey from early childhood in Belfast through to later life in Co. Antrim.

Tom was born and reared in Belfast in the 1930's and 40's. His stories contain happy memories of his childhood including descriptions of his wide family network as well as the games he played with his friends. He married Doreen in 1949 and together they had four children. In his stories Tom reflects upon the ups and downs of his life, including the tragic loss of their first born child, Elsa. His passion for bowling features strongly in Tom's life experiences and it is well documented through the stories, images and documents displayed in this exhibit.


McTiernan, K. & O'Donnell, D. (2012) Life Histories Archive,


Childhood and Early Life

This section of the exhibit displays the images, stories and documents relating to Tom's early life and childhood. He describes his family and remembers the games and antics he got up to with his sisters, neighbours and friends when they were growing up in Belfast.

Marriage and Family

The life stories, images and documents displayed in this section of the exhibit are concerned with Tom's recollections of his marriage and family life. Tom married his wife Doreen in August 1949. He remembers their wedding day and their honeymoon in Scarborough. In his life stories, Tom shares his memories and reflections upon the tragic death of his first child, Elsa, when she was only three months old. He remembers the great sadness this brought to himself and his wife. Together they had three more children, two boys and a girl. The images and documents in this section illustrate their happy family life. Also contained in this section are Tom's stories and memories concerning his enduring love for bowling.

Work and Employment

This section of the exhibit contains the stories, images and documents which describe Tom's working life. Tom, and his wife Doreen, ran a number of shops during their working lives including a book shop and later a post office. In his stories, Tom shares some of his memories of life in the shop.


The images and documents contained in this section of the exhibit describe Tom's retirement years. Of particular note are his close family and his passion for bowling which are evidenced in the displayed material.


In the stories and documents displayed in this section of the exhibit Tom reflects upon his long life. He shares his passion for bowling as well as some of the wisdom and insights he has accumulated on his life's journey.