The War Years, 1939-1945

Photo:House notes for the Silk Shop, Edinburgh from a Gazette of 1946

House notes for the Silk Shop, Edinburgh from a Gazette of 1946

Silk Shop prospers in peverse conditions

By Jonathan Blatchford

Purchased by the Partnership

It cannot be denied that Scotland and Edinburgh saw far less of the horrors of war than the main body of England did, particularly during the Blitz. The John Lewis Partnership suffered like many other businesses did during the war, with the destruction of thee stores, loss of staff to active service and constant shortages of materials. But, that did not stop them purchasing more stores. As previously mentioned, 15 were acquired in 1940. But, in 1943 the opportunity arose to purchase the Silk Shop’s of Newcastle and Edinburgh, as Mr W.A Brearely retired on account of his old age and poor state of health.

All rosy in wartime

The significance of wartime sales was having a far muted significance on Silk Shop Limited. Since the war, turnover at Silk Shop Newcastle had in fact doubled according to the 1943 Gazette, and turnover at the Edinburgh Silk Shop remained undeterred. The general level of trade, noted the Gazette 'is not very different from what we are accustomed to at Oxford Street'.

Royal visitors

The specialist nature of the ‘Silk Shop’ made it highly popular in the local area. It was this aspect that had made the store a very attractive proposition for the Partnership, and they were determined to build on this in the coming years.Upon the war's end, Silk Shop Edinburgh revelled in the glories of victory like the rest of the country. The shop received royal visits from Their Majesties and Princess Elizabeth, as well as Winston Churchill on his victory tour. However, beneath the festivities was the realisation that there were years of hard graft ahead if the Silk Shop was to retain its position.

This page was added by Jonathan Blatchford on 13/08/2014.