Souvenirs of Belfast locals from Anderson & McAuley department store

We recently went down memory lane to revisit one of Belfast’s iconic former department stores, Anderson & McAuley.

It certainly struck a chord with our Belfast Live readers as they shared their fond memories on our Facebook page of the shop which resided on the corner of Donegall Place and Castle Street. It’s no surprise that the department store holds a special place for generations of us as it was part of the fabric of our city for over 130 years.

Read some of the Anderson & McAuley memories shared by our Belfast Live readers, including customers and former employees.

Read more: Belfast Remembers – Robb’s Department Store

The staff

The former downtown store staff couldn’t speak highly enough of their time working at Anderson & McAuley’s – a true testament to how customers and staff were treated with the utmost respect.

Former employee Anne Prior said: “My first job after leaving school was at this wonderful department store. The Anderson family were good people to work for and cared about their staff.”

Barbara Murtagh commented: “Amazing place to work. Such great memories,” and Judith Acheson echoed a similar sentiment, saying, “I absolutely loved working here! Hosiery, handbags, gifts, porcelain and haberdashery. The staff was awesome – so many happy memories!”

Not only do past customers have fond memories of the store itself, but also of the staff who worked there. Marion Chisholm commented: “The staff were very helpful, if you wanted something a different color they would check the catalog and if it was made they would order it for you”.

Purchases

Many people shared their nostalgic memories of the special items they bought at the department store during the trading days and still have them today.

Sarah Cairns shared: “I loved Anderson and McAuley, it was a dream come true even when I was a kid. I still have two beautiful American bed sets with pillowcases that my mum made me purchased by closing the sale”.

The prestigious boutique was one of the go-to destinations in town to shop for items for special occasions in our lives, such as wedding days. Mags Shaw married in the 70s and made her landmark purchase with Anderson & McAuley, saying: “Purchased my wedding dress and my hairstyle in 1976 in this magnificent shop”.

Christmas

Anderson & McAuley will be best remembered for the impact they had in Belfast by creating such a magical atmosphere at Christmas.

From fascinating window displays to a visit from Santa Claus, it has been the highlight of many people’s childhoods for decades and will always remind them of special times shared with family.

Martina Magee commented: “I loved their windows at Christmas when I was a kid. Miss department stores like that bring character to a city.”

Stephen Morrison said: “When it was Christmas every year, the windows and the whole shop were decorated in an amazing tradition. A time when it was really nice. Many shops and businesses could learn a lot from this former high street giant of Northern Ireland”.

Let us know in the comments of other old shops in Belfast that bring back memories.

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