Historically . . . The Callan family were dairy farmers at the turn of the 1900’s. Their farm, Fenwickland, was located in, what is now, built up Belmont. The family retailed butter and milk to the people of Ayr. Several carts went out every morning selling milk, dispensed in Jugs.
It was after the 1914-18 war that Callans founder, Thomas Callan turned his back on farming and started his apprenticeship with Dewars Auctioneers in Ayr’s Kyle Street. Dewars sold livestock as well as furniture and the first salethe young Thomas conducted was cattle.
It was when Dewars went into liquidation in 1933, that Thomas decided the time was right to set up his own business, and opened his auction hall in Ayr’s High Street, where BHS is these days. Two auctions a week were held - on Tuesdays for second hand clothing and on Thursdays for household furnishings. The first Callan auction was on the 17th November in 1933 and the total takings amounted to £22/5s/9d.
During the Second World War, Thomas Callan served in the Royal Navy, leaving the business in his wife’s hands. On demob in 1946 he expanded Callans and bought his first removal van. Ten years later his son, David, joined the firm, becoming a full partner in 1964 and taking over the business upon the death of his father in 1971. With the re-development of Ayr’s High Street, the business moved to its current address at 22 Smith Street.
Callans do not sell second hand clothes these days, but weekly auctions of household furniture and effects are conducted every Thursday, plus a number of special antique sales throughout the year. Thomas R Callan also continue to operate a thriving removals and storage service.
Being an independent family business, core staff have remained loyal in the firm, with many employees excedding 30 years service. Michael Callan became a partner in 1998 and is the third generation of the family to join the business. The wealth of experience is now combined with an up and coming young team.