Friday, 13 April 2018

1974: Belfast Car Dealers

Merely to add a little variety and, perhaps, a touch of extra quirkiness to the blog I shall introduce a new series: 1974.

The 1974 Series. I welcome any suggestions about certain trades in those days to write about, viz. hatters, book-sellers, restaurants or whatever!

The first topic is going to be car dealerships and distributors in central Belfast mainly because, as a little boy in shorts, I simply adored motor-cars and car show-rooms. Which ones did I frequent?

Mostly Thompson-Reid's and Charles Hurst. Thompson-Reid's show-room at the Supermac Shopping Centre was a place I often visited, and the sales men invariably indulged me.

Thompson-Reid limited had their head office and show-room at 14-16 Donegall Square East, and the show-room went right back to Upper Arthur Street, where there was a petrol station.

They were the main dealers for Austin Cars at the time. They also had premises at the aforementioned Supermac shopping centre.

Charles Hurst Limited was the other big dealership in Belfast which sold British marques, their show-rooms being at 44-54 Chichester Street and 17-27 Montgomery Street.

W H Alexander Limited distributed Morris and Wolseley cars at the aptly named Morris House, 90-108 Victoria Street.

Stanley Harvey Limited, at 4 Clarence Street West had, I believe, the concession for Rolls-Royce.

The main Ford dealers were J E Coulter Limited, at 78-82 Antrim road and 38-42 Chichester Street; and R E Hamilton Limited, at 32 Linen Hall Street.

Isaac Agnew was considerably smaller, in commercial terms, than it is now. They were main Volkswagon dealers at North Howard Street, Lisburn Road and Falls Road.

A S Baird Limited specialized in Chrysler, Humber, Hillman, Sunbeam and Simca. GHQ was Humber House, 26-30 Ormeau Avenue and 62-66 Bedford Street.

Clarence Engineering Limited, of 24 Ormeau Avenue and Bankmore Street, sold Triumph and Standard cars.

W H Connolly were at 118-124 Donegall Pass and, I think, sold Citroen cars.

Dick and company, Donegall Street - Fiat cars.

Geddis Cars, 28 Linen Hall Street - Datsun (now Nissan!).

David Marshall Limited was the main Vauxhall dealer at 17 Bedford Street.

Have I omitted any?

First published in May, 2010.


davethewineguy said...

Neville Johnson were in Adelaide Street selling toyota but maybe not in 1974

Mark Thompson said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog about the Priory - it is a hidden gem! Alas I was only 2 years old in 1974 so have little to contribute to this particular post - I am pretty sure that Belfast was akin to the dark side of the moon to our rural Ards Peninula household!


Timothy Belmont said...

And I was 14 in '74! Getting a bit of pin money during hols at estates like Purdysburn where, if it rained, we all downed tools and headed for the shed!

I've written a bit about Portaferry House and will do a post about Grey Abbey tomorrow I expect.


Irishlad said...

Being the same age i remember the showroom at Supermac well,to me it seemed well ahead of its time, a large glass structure high up and overlooking the Saintfield road.Great article btw.

Croissant said...

'davethewineguy' beat me to it. Neville Johnson was even more famous for selling the iconic Jensen Interceptor. My heart always missed a beat when I heard or saw them (7.2V8). There was a car showroom near Smithfield I seem to recall, Andrews perhaps. Sold Morris cars maybe?

Timothy Belmont said...

There's a Plymouth Prowler in Corralejo. Ever spotted any in NI?

Anonymous said...

I recall Mervyn Stewart Motors who traded on Great Victoria Street around 1974. I think they sold Hillman (Crysler) Cars.

Alan45 said...

Sydney Pentland Vauxhall Dealers Ravenhill Road

Thanks for bringing back memories of Supermac.. I remember going to the showroom there to see the 'NEW" Allegro with the square steering wheel

billh35 said...

Savoy Motors on the Crumlin Road selling Hondas

Lynsey Currie said...

Hi I'm looking to find out about a man that worked for Thompson and reids garage adalaide street belfast maybe in the late 60's early 70's went by the name of bob, Bobby or Robert he also work for Charles Hurst when they moved to the boucher Rd belfast