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Photo: The Grain Market at Smithfield

Smithfield Market, Lisburn
Smithfield has been a market-trading location in Lisburn as far back as the 1830s.  East of the site was the Brown Linen Market, constructed by Lord Hertford in the 1750s, and on the west of the site, a Grain Market facing the Dublin Road had been built in 1828.  It was later known as the ‘Cattle Market”. Local historian Fred Kee described the building as:

two roods thirty four and a quarter perches in area and…it was called the “New Market” in 1893. It was on the other side of the Hay Market wall (approximately on the Swimming Pool site). There was a low wall with an iron railing along Market Place. If you stand in Market Place and look through the railing, there was a wall on the left, a wall on the right, and a wall across the far end, parallel with Market place and in line with the gable wall of the nearest dwelling-house in Smithfield Street, and behind the weighbridge and office existing. There was an entrance from hares Street and two gates from Market Place.

The two walls at right-angles to Market Place had very suitably designed sheds built against them. There were twelve or thirteen openings on each wall with rounded arches over. Also, and this may surprise you, there was a market house with steeple and bell, and a weighbridge and office at about ninety-five feet from the Market Place railing.

It is presumed that the oblong building running east from today’s Market Place is the covered Market, or store (see photo 2).  The ‘two gates’ Kee describes at Market Place must be the gates you see in the photograph (above). The area was a popular meeting place for political rallies, as well as the local Ulster Volunteers during the Home Rule crisis. (1912-14). The nearby Smithfield remains the site of weekly market, where merchants and market-traders carry on a 400 year tradition of selling their wares. We would love the know more about the site, so please get in touch.
Smithfield Market, 1923. Source: Britain from Above, [XPW008438] R. Stewart & Sons, Lisburn, Lisburn, Northern Ireland, 1923. Oblique aerial photograph taken facing North.
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