Willie Linton sold groceries, confectionery, toys, daily and weekly papers as well as being an Agent for shipping lines. He would also develop photographs on request. He was a burley, mustached man, fond of a joke or a laugh, and any youth who went there for his weekly, 'Wizzard', 'Rover' or 'Hot Spur' Magazine would probably have been asked to pick up something Willie had just dropped. The youth often straightened quicker than intended, because that something was usually one of the new type of toys - 'Electric Shockers'. It didn't take the Town youths long to discover where the kicks were to be had and Lintons did a good run in papers and shocks, much to the pleasure of both parties. Willie Linton always preached to his customers,, "Look after the Half Pennies and the Pounds look after themselves". By doing this, he said he himself would die a wealthy man. When his time eventually arrived Willie Jun.. and his wife who had already been helping in the shop, took over and carried on the business until her retirement - about 1961 or 62. They then sold the property to Ian Crosset.
Ian Crosset had a large mobile grocery trade as well as the shop and both kept him working to the limit of human endurance. At the rear of the premises was a large store in which he set up a system of battery hens for the production of eggs for sale. Unfortunately the store and contents were destroyed by fire in 1972, leaving Ian with the added expense of rebuilding. There are some unusual rules governing property in Castlewellan and, in a case like Crossets, the Annesley Estate could demand payment for damage even though the property had been repaired. After twenty three years Ian had enought and in 1986, sold to a Belfast man, Maurice Fitzmaurice, moved to Newcastle and devotes a lot of time to his hobby - collecting old photos and postcards of Castlewellan. Fitzmaurice renovated the old shop and it is now a modern Supermarket.
Between the early 1900's and the 1950's the place adjoining Lintons had six tenants - Willie Caruth from 1910 until 1912 with Grocery, followed by Jordans with Footware and Drapery, then by Edward McCartan from Burrenreagh with a Ladies and Gents Outfitters. McCartan who was the owner at that time (about the early Thirties) sold to Sarah Shields before emigrating to America. Sarah Shields continued in the same line, and when she died in 1940, it remained unchanged and was taken over by Sarah Smith from The Grange in the Demesne. Sarah Smith, who had been Shields' Assistant for years, became Mrs. Tommy Branney in 1941, and was then helped by her husband in the shop. The Branneys sold out to Sean King in 1960 and the entire property was subsequently renovated including the Living Quarters. The Living Quarters were once occupied by Nurse Fitzpatrick. The Nurse had three sons, Seamus, Tom and Patsy. Seamus, the eldest and a Birckiayer by trade was the local Councillor from the 1960's to 1976 when he died suddenly at the age of 55 years. he had just declared himself a Building Contractor a few years earlier. Seamus was following in his father's footsteps - he had also been a Councillor in his lifetime. When Sean King died, this Drapery was taken in hand by Sean Jun., who was, and remained a Male Nurse in Downpatrick Hospital. He also continued with a small mobile Drapery trade while his wife Jean ran the shop. In 1985 the Kings added a small Coffee Room to their business. This is at the rear of the premises and can be entered through the shop.
The new Railway Station was an ideal place for the East Downshire Steam Shipping Co., based in Dundrum, to set up a Coal Yard and Office in Castlewellan about 1910. They supplied the surrounding area until the early 1950's when it became known that the Railway was going to close. This Company then moved into an office on the Main Street in Castlewellan, a part of the premises of D. and J. O'Flynn had, in the early 1900's been a leading Drapers and Auctioneering Firm but had closed about the early 1930's. This Shop was later divided, and the upper half, (the street being on a slope), was re-opened by O'Flynn's daughter Annie for the sale of all newspapers, stationery, confectionery and cigarettes. In the 1950's the Downshire soon expanded building a huge shed in O'Flynn's yard across Claremont Avenue for the storage of coal. They then filled the front office with hardware good and went into the business of supplying building materials. In 1968, the Stewarts, once property owners in the Town and, at that time, Shareholders in the Downshire, pulled out, leaving the large shed vacant.
Shortly after this, in 1969 the Government sponsored a programme for Further Education, irrespective of age or occupation and started a wood-working class in the empty shed. This class was attended by adults, and took the form of a boatbuilding exercise under the supervision of Leslie Hanna, a Boat Builder from Newcastle. One local man Billy Shilliday, the Hardware Shop, built himself a useful little motorboat. On completion of this course the entire yard and shed was occupied by Jim Cunningham ("Young Rosie") for his Electrical Business but still remained O'Flynn's property. In 1966 Annie O'Flynn sold the premises as a going concern to Armitage, a Killyleagh man, who remained there until 1973 when he sold the business to Rodgers Bros. The Rodgers Bros. were the major Building Contractors at that time and the premises were soon renovated into a modern shop selling the same goods. In the early 1980's, Rodgers Bros. decided to run down their building business which they had started in Mary Street behind the Ulster Bank in 1953, (the year they extended St. Malachy's High School on the Rathfriland Road). They are operating a limited business at the present time. Sam Porter ran a Drapery, Hackney and Funeral Undertaking at the beginning of the Century, in the premises which are now McCann's Pharmacy on the Main Street.
Sometimes around 1930 Sam sold the Drapery to Andy Brown and the Hearse and Hackney Business to Cunningham Bros. The hearse was a converted two seater car from about the 1930 period. It was supposed to have belonged to a Director in Jacobs, Dublin and had the longest engine ever in Castlewellan. It was a Sunbeam Straight Eight Cylinder and was easily seven feet long from the radiator to the end of the gearbox. Andy Brown moved to Newcastle in 1937. Mrs. Joe Guinness who lived with her family and ran a Cafe in the living quarters also moved to let the new owner, Tom McCann, take possession. Tom, a son of the Publican across the street opened a Pharmacy in 1938 and after forty eight years is still behind the counter. Tom's main recreation was Gaelic Football, having won an Ulster Junior Medal for Down in 1931. In 1932, he won an Ulster Minor Medal for Antrim and in 1943 the first Railway Cup Medal in Down. He was also Secretary for Bryansford Club and played for the team when they won the Down Senior Championship in 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942. It is everyone's ambition in life to do well in business or trade but how sweet the memory, as they grow older, is that of having won Trophies for sport either alone or in company with others.
'The Arcade' was the name painted above the front of another clothes shop on the low side of Cunninghams. The owner occupiers were two sisters, McEvoys, in the 1900's, and did well enough to purchase and drive a tiny Two Seater Citroen Car of the 1923 period. They looked a picture touring about in this car with the hood down and the seat about head height. When not in use it was treated with loving care being smothered in blankets in the garage. When those two ladies retired in the 1940's the premises were bought by the Cunninghams. It was then rented to John Ward, who, with his wife Mary ran a ladies and Gents Hairdressers, with confectionery as a sideline. John was a prominent member of the Town G.A.A. Football Committee and devoted a lot of time to this. When the Wards retired their successors were the Harbinson Bros., Paddy and Peter who opened a Home Bakery and are still on the fore.
Cunningham Bros. - Hauliers, Taxis, Funerals, Petrol and Car Repairs was situated in the centre of the Main Street occupying property once known as 'The Star Bakery'. In 1912 all deliveries of goods to Castlewellan wereby train. The railway was a new addition to the Town that year, and the station being a half a mile outside the Town meant that goods had to be collected and handed into the different shops. This service was carried out by Cunninghams using an old lorry which they converted into a bus by placing the body of an old Charabanc on the lorry. They also carried parties of people to functions at the weekends. On the Demesne side of Claremont Avenue Cunninghams built a large shed in which they carried out motor repairs until the middle Thirties. They then closed down this part of their business and concentrated more on the Taxis, Funerals and Petrol, having sold their Haulage Business to the Ulster Transport Authority. In this same yard, Cunninghams rented out stables to Hughes Bakers from Belfast who had local men selling their bread around the country until the motor van took over. The stables were then used for a time by the G.P.O. to garage a new issue of Post Vans. One was driven by Micky McEvoy from the Circular Road; he was one of the longest serving Postmen in the Town having served his time as a Telegram Boy in Belfast in the 1920's. He retired about 1968.
Between 1945 and 1950 the brothers fattened pigs in another part of the yard but when the demand for pork fell they gave this business up as well. Barney Cunningham died in 1952. Micky, (The Twister), who, in his youth was the best 100 yard sprinter in the country, died in 1960 and Patrick (Snow) in 1975. All three were bachelors. The business was then taken over by Brendan (Leaky) a nephew who worked in the Taxi Business for a while. However at that stage, everybody had cars and taxis were no longer needed, so he gave this up. In 1985 Brendan found that the Petrol and Motor Accessory Trade had become too competitive and like a lot of other people decided to stop selling these products and continue with funerals only. In 1986 he went into selling potted plants and flowers for the garden.
Cunningham Bros. who were in business since the turn of the Century are supposed to have bought the second car registered in Castlewellan. Willie Skillen bought the first with Willie Kirkwood and Doctor McNabb close third - all within a few days of each other. Skillens, Cunninghams and McNabbs had Model T Fords, Caruths and Kirkwoods had Bullnose Morrises.
About 1943 Patsy Mullen (who worked as a Plasterer and part time Mechanic in Clarke's Garage on the Newcastle Road) and his Uncle Willie Magorian (also a Plasterer with an interest in cars) were invited by Cunninghams to start motor repairs and agreed to do so. In the Bros. old Garage this was a proposition beneficial to all parties. Six years later Mullen moved across the street. Magorian carried on the Garage and went into the Pig Business as well. Willie was fond of a game of soccer, football and in his youth played for Castlewellan Arsenal. During this time he often played both against and along side Joe Toner (a professional from Bunkers Hill). Joe played for English Arsenal in the 1900's and when at home was quite a star on the Castlewellan Hurley Team - winner of a lot of County Games at that time. Willie Magorian worked in that Garage until the day of his sudden death in 1982. The old place he occupied has fallen down since then.
Bunkers Hill was an area of the Town which produced lots of talented footballers. However none was better than Pat Rice - a member of the Down G.A.A. Team which in 1960 brought home the 'All-Ireland' Senior Trophy the, 'Sam Maguire Cup'. Pat, incidentally is a nephew of the late Joe Toner. The premises between Brendan Cunningham's and Magorian's Cafe was a Footware Shop, run between the 1900's and the 1950's by two sisters, McCrackens. It was then, on their retirement, bought by Jimmy Shilliday - a brother and assistant of John, the Hardware Merchant in the Town. Jimmy knew absolutely nothing about this type of Business and was relieved when Ernie McCready, who already has a Footware Shop in Newcastle bought him out and was more successful. Ernie died about the mid 1970's but his Business is still going well.
Across the back Avenue and directly behind the McCready premises, two Kilcoo brothers, Billy and Ben Walsh, used a large yard as a base for their Building Firm in the 1940's. They went out of business about the late 1960's or 1970's. The yard now belongs to Billy Shilliday of the Hardware.
From the 1880's through to the 1930's, Castlewellan was a booming Town and the place to have any type of business. The shops were open until at least ten o'clock on Saturday nights, drawing crowds of people into the Town, as well as Fruit Traders from the orchards of Portadown. The shutters didn't go up until there wasn't a person in sight. One of the largest stores in Town was William Stranaghan's Hardware and Grocery. When this place went up for sale in the early 1900's it was bought by four men, John Maginn, Albert Priestly, Annett and Tommy Skillen - all locals who formed a Company and renamed it the Co-Op. This Company functioned well for a few years but times were changing for the worse in Castlewellan so the Co-Op disolved in 1935. It was sold to Gibson Bros., in 1941, then the 'Supply Stores'. Archie Gibson had served his time in Annsborough Store and with his brother Willie had already been in the Grocery Trade in the shop next door to the Co-Op. In the period between 1920 and 1950 the upper storeys of the Co. were used as a Technical School mostly for Night Classes. During the day the older boys pupils in the Primary Schools were sent there one hour per week to learn basic Woodwork. Gibsons didn't expand the Hardware but concentrated on the Grocery and remained there until they retired about 1970.
The new owners were Dessie and Eamon McMullan from Newcastle. Des was a Chemist and used half of the shop for this purpose. Eamon opened a Grocery in the other half but for unknown reasons vacated it within a couple of years. This was the opportunity Malachy Magorian was waiting for and in 1973, he became the new owner. During the time that this business was the Co-Op the Manager was Mr. Henry Lynch from Derryneil. When it became apparent the Co. was about to fold up, Harry started a Confectionery, Tobacconist and Provision Shop two doors up the street. It was previously much the same type of store and was run by Jimmy Connolly. Harry died in 1962 and the Shop still operates as a family affair.
Malachy Magorian was a Bunkers Hill man. He started his career in the Catering Business in Newcastle about 1940. From there he began to export rabbits for eating by the thousands to England. When the demand for those fell he made a mobile Fish and Chips van and attended functions as well as nightly visits to nearby towns. "Malk" as he was always known soon had a couple of vans on the road selling chips, confectionery and fancy goods and at one time had the Trading Rights of Tyrella Beach. About 1968 he purchased a very large bus and made it into a mobile sit down Cafe serving hot meals at Race Meetings, Horse Shows, etc. This was considered a brilliant idea by many people. However for reasons known only to himself 'Malk' subsequently dropped his venture within a short space of time. The old Co-Op was ideal for Malachy's requirements. After extensive alternations, it emerged as a Cafe, on the ground floor, with the Town's first Carry-Out at the front and a large Restaurant and Entertainment Hall on the seconod floor. It was licenced for the sale of beer, wine and spirits and was named 'The Oak Grill'.