W Murray Drapers and Hardware

Location: Ulster American Folk Park / Old World

William Murray opened a shop in the downstairs rooms of the family home in Moy, County Tyrone. By 1910, William was selling groceries along with drapery goods.

He was born in County Armagh in 1857 and married Louisa McKee from Banbridge with whom he had nine children.

A shop inventory from 1925 reveals a varied collection of fabric for sale. These include tweeds, suiting, flannel, corduroy, serge, costume and blouse cloth. Murrays stocked a good supply of undergarments for men, women and children.

He also did a busy trade in boots, shoes and corsets and sold basic groceries such as sugar, tea, flour and miscellaneous items. William traded with manufacturers and merchants in Belfast and England, but when he died in the 1920s he left a considerable debt outstanding to these suppliers.

William’s last will and testament appointed his wife Louisa and his daughters Emily and Florrie as his executors. His son Henry in New York received the sum of £100. His daughter Mary Sarah, a teacher in Canada, received £50 and there was £300 for his son Joseph who served for Canada in WW1. He fought in France but was gassed and returned home to Moy where he worked as a milk inspector.

After William’s death, Louisa took over the shop, followed by daughters Emily and Florrie. Murray’s stayed open until 1979. This shop front was taken to the Ulster American Folk Park in 1985. The premises in Moy is still open today trading as ‘Nutmeg Treasures’.

Look at the wide variety of clothing and accessories for sale. The late 1800s and early 1900s saw a change in retail. Before then, people went to a shoemaker to buy shoes, a hat-maker to buy a new hat and so on. Now, shopkeepers were beginning to buy in ready-made goods to sell.