Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nairn shopping in the twenties and thirties

An article by Hamish Dunbar (first published on the Gurn on Sunday 7th Sep 2008):

Until recently that I spent a holiday in Nairn each year. Whilst walking down High street I could not help but note the changes that had taken place since my childhood days in the twenties and thirties and then recently in A Gurn From Nairn I read that some 80% of local residents travelled either to Inverness or to Forres to do shopping. This made me trawl through my memory and I came up with the following :-
Grocers Cooper’s and Rose Brother’s: Dare I say “upmarket stores” Lipton’s and Wm. Low’s. Chain stores.

In addition to these there were family run smaller shops in Park Street, Harbour Street, on the Brae – the name escapes me - and Bridge Street which catered for most, if not all, other requirements.

Greengrocery Brander’s, Ferguson’s, Davidson’s. “Achie” Michie who, for a time, manhandled a small cart in the streets below St. Ninian’s road.
“Bob” Dunbar from Balnagown who came into the town each year with a cart loaded with bags of “tatties” which he sold to householders.

The Glebe field in King Street (now a housing development) from where one could buy one or more drills of “tatties” for personal use throughout the winter.

Bakers Roddie McKenzie’s (now Asher’s at the top of the High Street); Bakehouse in Rose Street.
Sinclair’s ( ? now Asher’s next to the Town hall); Bakehouse at the rear of the premises.
Asher’s in Bridge Street. Bakehouse next door.
“Dodo” Donalds in King Street. Bakehouse at rear of shop.
Burnett’s in High Street. Their bread, rolls and cakes were imported from Inverness
Fishmongers The Highland Fish Shop in Leopold Street, Haldane’s in High Street

There were ladies and gents tailors and outfitters, shoe shops, haberdashery shops, ironmongers and stationers – all in the plural -
that satisfied most of the townspeople’s needs.



John Urquhart said...

Hamish try reading "My walk down Memory Lane in Nairn around 1920" by Janie MacIntyre and your memories will come flooding back.

Hamish said...

Dear Joho,
Thank you for your suggestion.
I have looked for the title in Amazon and found "Teens and Twenties" by Janie F. Mcintyre but nothing for "My Walk" et seq.
I will now ask my brother to make enquiries in Nairn for me since I wouild be very glad to abtain the book.
Kind regards

John Urquhart said...

Not published,Museum has it but closed at moment. Give me your email address.

Graisg said...

send an e-mail to and we will forward to Hamish John.

Hamish said...

Dear John
I do apologise for having misspelt your name. If I tell you that tomorrow I am having a cataract removed you will undersatnd the cause.
I see that some information is to be forwarded to me by Gurn and so I thank you for your offer of help.

Best wishes

Jenny said...

Please would you also send me this information as my great grandparents lived in harbour street (28) and owned an ice cream shop in and around 1915.
I'd be extremely grateful to hear of anything you might know about this. Many thanks in advance. Jenny.
My grandparents names were John and Mary Ann Smith