Dovecot Studios celebrates Scottish Department Stores in Photography

To celebrate their exhibition LIBERTY Art Fabrics & Fashion, Dovecot Studios has teamed up with Historic Environment Scotland and the SCRAN and Canmore online archives to bring together an exhibition of historic images of Scottish department stores that spans over 100 years from 1889 until 1991.

Department stores provided a complete social experience such that the memory of a favourite store will often hold a firm place in a cities heart long after they have closed. Scotland’s association with the pinnacle of department store shopping has a long history dating back over 180 years to when Charles Jenner founded his eponymous store on Edinburgh’s Princes Street in 1838. From Jenner’s to fondly remembered names like Binns and Benzies, the exhibition is a stroll down the Scottish high streets of the past.

Many of the stores in this exhibition are still in operation, others have buildings that remain as a hint to the past but which now have different uses. In other images the architectural scene has changed beyond recognition and it is from a few visual clues that the hints of today’s high street can be found.

As a nation’s shopping habits change, department stores are back in the headlines and fighting for survival. This exhibition shows how department stores have continued to reinvent themselves, and how, through these iconic stores, Scotland’s cities produced some of the finest examples of forward thinking architecture and iconic design, housing household names like Marks & Spencer and John Lewis.

The LIBERTY Art Fabrics & Fashion display is part of a touring exhibition originally presented at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London and comprises the private collection of Liberty garments and objects that’s been adapted the display for Dovecot’s audiences.

Jane Thomas, Curator at Historic Environment Scotland says, “Department Stores have been landmark buildings in Scottish towns and cities for over a century. Designed by leading architects of the day, they are captured during their heyday in the drawings and photographs preserved in the archives of Historic Environment Scotland.”

The Scottish Department Store | Social Media: #scottishdepartmentstore

runs Friday 12 October 2018 till 12 January 2019.Mon-Fri 12-3pm Sat 10.30am-5.30pm Free entry