The Post-war years

Photo:The interior of the Silk Shop, Edinburgh, 1964

The interior of the Silk Shop, Edinburgh, 1964

Photo:The exterior of the Silk Shop, Edinburgh, taken in 1971

The exterior of the Silk Shop, Edinburgh, taken in 1971

By Jonathan Blatchford

Edinburgh comedy festival brings more than laughs

In the years after the war, ‘Silk Shop’ Edinburgh began to flourish, and had a distinct habit of outgrowing the shop premises’ quickly, despite a number of expansion projects in the 1950’s! The shop benefitted hugely from the arrival in 1947 of the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, a highly successful month long outdoors festival held in August, that brought more tourists and punters than the small ‘Silk Shop’ could ever need. As the status of Edinburgh grew as a tourist destination, so did the shop in direct correlation. In 1953, following the acquisition of Bainbridges into the John Lewis Partnership, the Edinburgh and Newcastle Silk Shop’s were subsequently directed from Bainbridges.

Spaced out

By the 1960’s, the ‘Silk Shop’ had become an Edinburgh institution. It was well known in the local area that you would likely have to queue outside, especially on a Saturday when it closed at 1pm. Space came at a premium, and the store worked hard to maximise usage of space, whilst displaying products to their full potential.

Space soon ran out however. An extension of the premises in 1962, that had seen a 48.4% increase in Partner selling space, was swallowed up by customer demand by the late 60’s. This was a true reflection of the popularity of the store. The partnership was left with little choice but to announce that a new department store was to be built in the St James Centre, Edinburgh. This sounded the end of the Silk Shop, as the new department store was opened as John Lewis Edinburgh.

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