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  • Familia1996article
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Erskine Mayne: The Rise and Fall of a Famous Belfast Bookselling Dynasty

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 12, 1996


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by David Gore

"One of the most familiar names of Belfast city centre over the last 150 years has been that of W. Erskine Mayne. The name represents one of the great dynasties of the retail trade, and is still immediately recognised by most Ulstermen as the bookshop and stationer where they obtained their books, stationery, pens and pencils, and a wide range of other educational materials.

The lives of five generations of the Erskine Mayne family were the foundation, continuation and ethos of the business that grew as Belfast city has grown. The origin of this dynasty, the character of the austere crusader who established the business, and its subsequent expansion, make an unusual story.

Sadly, there is no happy ending."

This article looks at the life of W. Erskine Mayne, a young Scottish volunteer from Cumbernauld who fought at the battle of Falkirk, and was the founder of a dynasty that established one of Belfast's best-known department stores.