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The Corner House hasn't changed much since this picture as taken in 1950, Bow Street however has altered quite a bit — note the through road and the absence of traffic tights. E3229. This old sketch was taken from a magazine. Unfortunately the exact date is not know.
The Modern The Old

J. C. Patterson's going strong in the early part of the century. This old sketch was taken from a magazine. Unfortunately the exact date is not know.

Recollections of days when shops stayed open until ten o'clock

IN the 1920's there were 21 good family grocers' in Lisburn. Today only one remains.

In those days, the streets of Lisburn were thronged each Tuesday as cavalcades of horses and carts made their way to town from the surrounding country areas on a weekly trip to the market.

The butter and egg market was to be found where the Post Office stands today; the pork market was more centrally situated in Smithfield Square and the fowl market took its place where the old Public Service Vehicle inspection centre is.

For the visiting farmers, the day always included a trip to their favourite local pub. Most public bars in the town provided their own stable yard to house the horse and carts belonging to patrons.

Saturday night was late night opening for many shops. Once again many people from the rural areas travelled to town, congregating mainly in Bow Street and Market Square.

The Allen family have been serving the Lisburn public for three generations from J. C. Patterson's hardware shop. Pictured are: front row (left to right) Tony, Raymond, Geoffrey and Richard Allen and back row (left to right) Brian, Fred and Jack Allen. E 3238.

The town was thronged with crowds until after 10 p.m., when shops, which had perhaps already overstretched their opening hours, closed up for the night.

One such shop was 'The Corner House', J. C. Patterson's, which is the oldest remaining large family business in Lisburn.

It was founded in the early part of the century by Mr. John Clark Patterson where McMahon's shop in Bow Street used to be.

In 1922 it moved to it's present location. Today it is a limited company, owned entirely by the Allen and Gibson families. Mr. Fred Allen and Mr. William Gibson have been working in the shop since the twenties.

The changes recorded in this article are only a fraction of those remembered by the two men during their years of working in the heart of Lisburn.

In those days the country pubs closed at 9 p.m. and this attracted many from the rural areas to Lisburn were bars stayed open until 10 p.m.

A bottle of beer cost only two old pennies.

Before the building of the motorway and the pedestrianisation of Bow Street, traffic travelling from the west to Belfast had to pass through the town centre.

Fortunately, traffic was much lighter then to now and the change was one welcomed by both men.


In it not only locals who have shopped in J. C. Patterson's over the years but the old horse and van delivery service has been taken over by a more modern service to supply customers across the six counties.

Such customers have included past Governors of Northern Ireland - The Vice Admiral Earl Granville purchased his hardware from the local shop as did Lord Erskine of Rerrick.

The third generation of Mr. Allen's family has just been introduced to "J.C's" with the aim of carrying on the family-run business tradition.

Although now 81 years old, Mr. Fred Allen has no plans to retire. His partner, Mr. Gibson is likewise, at 71 years old, still hoping to spend his days in the shop where both men have served and worked since they were boys.