Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Finaghy man follows in family footsteps with business venture

FINAGHY man Jonathan McMurray, who has opened a furniture shop in the village's smart new Tivoli Place development, is the third generation of his family to
trade on the site.

The apartment and retail complex is named after The Tivoli', one of the South Belfast area's most popular cinemas of the late 1950's and 1960's.

The building which could accommodate more than 1000 moviegoers opened in 1955. Its doors closed for the last time just two decades later in 1975 and it is regarded by many as an unrecorded victim of Northern Ireland's 'troubles'.

Saddened Members of Jonathan's family had watched many films in the cinema and were saddened to see the building lie empty and neglected for a number of years.

However, at the start of the 1980's his grandfather Austin had a brainwave, as Jonathan, who grew up in Orpen Park explained.

"My grandfather bought the old cinema which was lying derelict because he thought it would make a very good car showroom," he said.

"He replaced its silver screen, gilt and velvet with windscreens, chrome and leather and the showroom operated on the site for many years."

The premises which eventually were passed to Jonathan's father closed before construction of the apartments and shops began.

Meanwhile, Jonathan, who was educated at Friends School in Lisburn, became a Psychology student.

During his career he has worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau, been a Childline Counsellor and has even been involved in some paranormal investigations

This is quite appropriate as the site of the old cinema is reputedly haunted.

However, he now intends to 'combine art and comfort' in his new shop by stocking what he refers to as 'unique and individual items'.

The shop also offers gifts and home wares which Jonthan believes 'reflect the golden age of the cinema' with a unique, individual style.

Ulster Star