About Smyth Patterson
Smyth Patterson Ltd is a renowned department store based in Lisburn’s Market Square, Northern Ireland. Since opening in 1936, we have been a shopping staple to not just the local community, but for those who travel far and wide to enjoy our vast collections and friendly service.
Smyth Patterson is a family-run business that has been operating continuously for three generations. With over 70 years of trading, many of our customers are like family to us, and we strive to always make our customers feel this way when visiting Smyth Patterson, whether that be in-store, or online.
The History of Smyth Patterson
Smyth Patterson Ltd was established by Adam Smyth Patterson (1898–1949). Adam was the 8th of a family of 10 children. His father, Thomas James Patterson, was one of four, and orphaned at a very young age.
Adam took responsibility for the family home when his older brothers left to seek work. Two emigrated to Australia, two to Canada and one to the USA. Three served their country during the First World War in France. Fortunately, they survived.
In 1925, Adam married Mary Elizabeth Wilson, and bought Homra House at Corry’s Glen, Ballyhomra near Ravarnette. Four children were born to them: Jean, Maureen, Harold and Hubert.
It All Started at the Markets...
Adam’s first venture into the business world began in 1926. He bought and sold farm produce to the markets in Belfast. This was the time of the horse and cart, and each morning he left home at 4:00am to be in Belfast in time for the markets. He recalled the problems that sometimes occurred on the way, such as the wheel falling off the cart.
He overcame every obstacle, and was eventually in a position to purchase a Ford One Ton lorry, to then buy and export potatoes to England. They were shipped from Killough in Co. Down, where he was able to buy a warehouse. A few years later, he purchased a second store at Ravenscroft Avenue in Belfast. By this time, he was shipping seed potatoes to Cyprus, and hay and straw to Liverpool and Manchester. He bought a second lorry and took on his first employee, Thomas Carlisle.
At Ballyhomra, he built a house with a yard, and began farming. This enabled him to expand into contract work for other farmers. His ingenuity showed when he dammed the river and, using a huge water wheel, generated electricity to power a grinding machine for wheat. At night a sluice gate, which started the water wheel, was opened by a cable and pulley system connected to the house, providing electricity for the house and pumping water to a pig house.
The Beginning of Smyth Patterson Ltd.
Adam opened his first shop at Smithfield in Lisburn, and Margaret McCann came to work for him. The shop sold all sorts of hardware items. In 1936, he moved his business to larger premises at 18 Market Square, Lisburn, where the shop is situated today. He continued to work closely with other farmers, and began selling animal feeds.
During the 1940s, his children Jean, Maureen, Harold and Hubert, and their cousin Day, started working in the company. They were joined by Wesley McCracken and Helen Alexander.
Adam died in 1949 after a short illness. Harold and Hubert, in their late teens, were left with the responsibility of running the business. They set about selling the farm and other properties, keeping only the premises in Market Square. Here, they developed the premises further as builders’ merchants, along with agricultural supplies. Over the years, many of these items were dropped in favour of the homewares now sold.
Today, the business is carried on by Colin Patterson, grandson of the founder, Adam Smyth Patterson. Smyth Patterson sells an extensive range of furniture, electrical appliances, gifts, toys, homewares and hardwares, and is now one of the leading retailers in Northern Ireland.
Join the Smyth Patterson Family
With Smyth Patterson’s longstanding history of trading, we welcome all customers and suppliers to enjoy being part of the family when choosing Smyth Patterson. We appreciate any comments on your shopping experience, and invite you to contact us today should you have any queries. We also encourage you to register to receive emails with up-to-date information on our latest products, news and offers. Or, you can even follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter for regular updates and inspiration.