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16 October 2014
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A Lennox & Sons

Once a leading department store not only in Armagh, but in the north of Ireland.

Article contributed by Mary Cartmill. (July 2004)

Armagh

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It was situated in the Market Street area of Armagh City and was one of the oldest established buildings in the city. A Lennox & Sons was once one of the north of Ireland's leading department stores and its name was known far and wide.

It began its life back in 1887 and was owned and run by the then Andrew Lennox. It has been handed down through the years, with members of his family playing a leading role. The business grew from strength to strength through the years and possessed a really high standard, both in the quality of the merchandise it sold and the friendly staff that manned its departments.

Back at the beginning of the last century it was noted for the tailoring of gents clothing and at one time there were at least ten or twelve tailors working flat out to meet the demands of its customers.

A century on - Armagh still had its magnicient store with a thriving business, although the pattern of trading was changing with shopping centres springing up all over the place. The people were going other places to shop. But one would have travelled far and wide to find a store like Lennox's - it was unique. When you came through the door you entered a store full of character and charm. With its twenty departments all well stocked with everyone's needs from the 'ball of wool' to the suite of furniture - it was there for the choosing.

With all the alcoves, steps and stairways leading to all the different areas the customer was sometimes pleasantly confused. People were always amazed with the professionalism of the window displays and indoor displays were always fascinating, especially when the Christmas season approached. Santa's Grotto was always a great favourite and attraction for the thousands of children who visited it through the years.

Just at the back of the gents department was the Wheel and Lantern coffee lounge. When you walked through the half door the smell of Bewelleys met you. You would be amazed at the decor of this place from the dark wooden beams to the lavish furnishings it was all to be found. The walls were enhanced with willow plates and dishes and a warm welcoming atmosphere was to be found. A few steps to the rear was the saddle room. This was the non smoking area. There was a large cartwheel and harness and old time lanterns hanging here and there, added a glimpse of days long gone. This is the place you came to meet and relax with friends to enjoy a cup of coffee or a scrumptious lunch, the menu always very tantalising.

The people of Armagh and surrounding places miss this place so much. It's sad after one hundred and fifteen years of faithful service, Armagh will never be the same again.

A. Lennox closed its doors back in April 1998 and lay derelict. But in March 2004 it was completely demolished.

Do you remember A. Lennox & Sons? Were you a member of staff or customer? Share your memories of this department store here on the site. Have you any photographs of the building we could publish on the site?



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