Belfast Telegraph

All Our Yesterdays: Smithfield in flames

Bicycle retailer Jimmy McGarvey epitomises the 'business as usual' spirit by offering what remains of his stock for sale on the street outside his burnt-out premises. 9/5/1974
Bicycle retailer Jimmy McGarvey epitomises the 'business as usual' spirit by offering what remains of his stock for sale on the street outside his burnt-out premises. 9/5/1974
The burnt out remains of the Smithfield shopping complex. 8/5/1974
Early stages in the erection of prefabricated buildings for the new Smithfield. 27/8/1975
Eric Lauro with a painting of how the old Smithfield market looked. 17/7/1987
Five men with over 300 years between them and their forebears trading in Belfast's Old Smithfield market will return to the rebuilt landmark for its official opening. From left, displaying their wares are Noel Havlin (keys), Paddy O'Neill (furniture), Michael McQuillan (Hall of Music) Bobby Shearer (hardware) and Jackie Segerdahl (locks and tools). 8/5/1975
Firemen tackle the blaze at Havlin's, a fire caused by incendiary bombs that reduced the 200-year-old Smithfield market to ash. 10/5/1974
Some of the former traders in the Smithfield market pictured this morning at the site of the new market as construction work proceeds. From Left, Mr Joseph Kavanagh, Mr Michael McQuillan, Treasurer of the Smithfield Traders Assoc. and Mr Raymond Havlin. 29/4/1975
There's no doubt about it. When you're spending all day working out in the cold, you've got to be well protected. And Maureen and Peggy Deacon found the answer - hugh polythene bags. The two sell fruit and vegtables from barrows at Smithfield. 18/1/1971
Smithfield, the mecca for thousands of bargain hunters every week, is given a face-lift by Belfast Corporation painters, Mr Hill Thompson (left), of Taylors Street, and Mr David McLaron, of Ross Street. 13/3/1968
Firemen help with the clean-up after the fire at the Smithfield shops. 9/5/1974
The only wheelchair competitor, John Walls, from Belfast, gets some encouragement from a supporter. 8/5/1984
How...! A Red Indian, complete with spear and head-dress, was well up with the front runners. 5/5/1987
A runner dressed up as superhero Patman in the Belfast Marathon. 8/5/1990
Making sure his laces are tied tightly was James Adair, from Newtownards, before he set off in his 'Wee Willie Winkie' outfit. 7/5/1985
Ralph Brough and his dog at the 14-mile stage as they make their way along Ormeau Road. 7/5/1985
Mrs Elizabeth Wedge encourages the runners to greater efforts along the Woodstock Road. 7/5/1985
Trevor Octave (left), heads a line of runners as they pass through the finishing grids. 8/5/1984
Children offer cups of water outside Grosvenor Recreation Centre, which are gratefully accepted by the runners. 6/5/1986
John Kelly, of the Irish Wheelchair Association, going strong during the marathon. 4/5/1982
Old and young alike get off to a great start in today's Belfast Fun Run. 1/5/1989
Here's looking at you as Grant Whiteside and Alicia White keep the sun's rays at bay as they take part in the Fun Run. 1/5/1989
Causing much hilarity during the marathon was Nicholas Hill dressed as Jimmy Savile. As well as raising laughs, he was raising money for the Thire World. 6/5/1986
Sean Curneen, from Omagh, had still plenty of energy left, after finishing the marathon, as he lifts his daughter Angie (8) left, and son Gary (7), up in his arms. 7/5/1988
Brian McKee gets a little help from medical team after the marathon. 3/5/1983
At your service...Alessandro Genovese, the French wine waiter, complete with tray, wine and glasses, ran to the accompaniment of music from his portable tape deck. 8/5/1984
The thousands of competitors wait on the Albert Bridge for the starting signal. 4/5/1982
A typical refreshment point - this one was on the Ravenhill Road, and shows some of the many thousands of paper cups used during the marathon. 4/5/1982

By Paul Carson

On the morning of May 7, 1974, one of Belfast's best known landmarks was little more than a smoking ruin.

Incendiary bombs had reduced the 200-year-old Smithfield market to ashes.

The old buildings were mostly made of wood and the flames caught hold quickly.

All the fire service could do was prevent the blaze from spreading beyond the square.

When dawn broke and the smoke began to clear, traders, who had lost everything, began to talk of rebuilding the market and restoring their ruined businesses.

No-one typified the ‘business as usual' character of the time more than bicycle retailer Jimmy McGarvey.

Within 24 hours of the massive blaze, Jimmy resumed business in a converted dormobile van parked outside the smoking

Sign In

rubble of shop. "This is to show we intend to remain in business in Smithfield, despite the tragedy of yesterday," he said.

Jimmy had been trading at Smithfield since 1950 and his family's business connections with the market stretched back even further to 1900.

Jimmy wasn't the only trader to call for the immediate rebuilding of Smithfield. One of the area's best known traders, Joseph Kavanagh, said: "All morning people have been asking, appealing and demanding that we get together and rebuild the market. "It will never be the same again, but we must do our best to preserve as much of the character of the place as possible."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph