End of an era as town institution closes its doors

John Smail and Sons, Morpeth. Picture by Roger Hawkins.
John Smail and Sons, Morpeth. Picture by Roger Hawkins.

A unique hardware, furniture and household goods store in Morpeth has closed.

John Smail and Sons was long-established in the town and it had stayed in the same family for four generations.

It is highly-regarded locally and known around the country and abroad.

Dozens of customers thanked proprietor John Young and others who worked at the store during the closing down sale.

Possible closure was flagged up last year when a listing on an internet commercial property site had all the hallmarks of the Bridge Street business.

Morpeth Chamber of Trade will be writing to the family to say how sorry members are that the store is no longer trading and thank them for the contribution they made to the town.

Spokesman John Beynon said: “It was a sad day for the town when John Smail and Sons closed.

“It was iconic in Morpeth and people across the country and even in Europe had heard of the business.

“You never heard anybody say they couldn’t find the item they were looking for in Smails.

“The late Isobel Smail, who was a partner, was one of the founding members of the chamber of trade when it relaunched in the 1950s or 1960s, so the chamber has a great history with the business.

“John (Young) was enthusiastic about the history of the business and carried on with its traditions for many years.”