Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Londonderry's Stamp and Railway Man.

It is strange how certain people are brought back into your consciousness. It was a comment on a social media site that caused me to crystallise my memories of Thomas Maguire. Tommy dealt in stamps, coins, railway memorabilia and second hand books. In the mid 1960's he had a shop on the riverside of Londonderry's Duke Street. This was before the redevelopment of the area. My father was fostering my interest in stamp collecting and ushered me into Tommy's emporium on a regular basis.

There was a very definite musty smell in the premises. I remember his father crouched in a corner of the shop. He had worked on the railways hence Tommy's interest in all things connected with the iron road. With the redevelopment of the Duke Street area Tommy was forced to move his business. I am not quite sure whether he initially moved to Pump Street before his move to Carlisle Road or whether Pump Street was his pre Duke Street locus. His father I think passed away before the move to Carlisle Road. I can only remember his mother being there. They lived, "above the shop." Initially Tommy rented these premises from I think Cmdr. Bertie Anderson and his family before purchasing them in the late 1980's. He never spent very much money on the building. On the coldest of January days you would find Tommy in his shop with cap on sconce and overcoat firmly in place and with four or five coals glowing in an open fire. A low wattage bulb dangled forelornly from the ceiling. He didn't spend much money on his dentition either. He never appeared to be unhappy but he lived a very spartan life devoid of warmth and comfort. It must be five years since he died. His Carlisle Road premises remain locked up and deteriorating.

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