Brereton's Pawn Shop
Brereton's Pawn Shop has been open on Capel Street since 1850. You will know a pawnshop by the three golden balls hanging outside.
This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.
Brereton's Pawn Shop, Capel Street
If you go down Capel Street, you will see Brereton’s Pawnshop opposite the junction with Mary Street. There has been a pawnshop here since 1850.
Let me explain what a pawnshop is, let’s pretend that you need money and that you have a gold ring. You come to me in the pawnshop and you give me this gold ring and I will give you money for it. I also give you a pawn ticket with the amount and the date as proof. I keep the ring until you pay me back at an agreed date, but you also pay an extra charge, of course. If you don’t pay me back on time I put your gold ring up for auction and it goes to the highest bidder. I keep the amount of money that you were to pay me and you get anything extra that was made at the auction.
Pawnshops were called ‘the poor man’s bank’ because bringing their possessions to the pawnshop was often the only way poor people could get money.
Once, when people were poorer, there were loads of pawnshops in Ireland. Sometimes people brought their good Sunday clothes there to get money to pay the rent or buy food. They paid back the loan before Sunday so that they could wear their good clothes to Mass. If they did not get work that week to earn enough money, their good clothes were gone.
You will know a pawnshop by three golden balls hanging outside. This symbol came from the story of Saint Nicholas, Santa Clause to you and me. He was said to have saved three girls from poverty by secretly throwing three golden balls in their window. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers.
You can see the three golden balls hanging over Brereton’s Shop and the pawnshop downstairs.