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75 Victoria Street, Kirkwall
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75 Victoria Street, Kirkwall

A Tom Kent picture, date unknown. Apart from the ivy and the removal of the wall, this house looks remarkably similar today, belying the fact that for many of the intervening years the frontage had changed to that of Hourston's the jewellers (a different Hourston from the Albert Street jewellers). Now the family home of Spencer and Erica Rosie. The building to the right has made way for the current incarnation of Wm Shearer, Merchants.
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Picture added on 24 January 2006
I have this same picture only taken from the opposite direction. (on the back of the picture it says hourston the jewelers house. The building on the right said grocer on it. There was a house to the left of it where my great-great grandmother lived, Mary Marwick. Does anyone have any other information regarding my grandmother? Also I had a cousin Lydia Ann Robertson that had 2 fancy goods shops in Kirkwall in the 1930's. Any info on that?
Added by debbie on 04 March 2006
Thank you so much for your response. Could you tell me what type of machinist Mary Jane could have been? On her marriage record it shows she was a dressmaker. Could machinist mean a seamstress? Debbie USA
Added by Debbie from Michigan USA on 05 March 2006
Family History info. for Debbie. Her great gran is in the 1901 census living at 79 Victoria St. She is 64 and a widow she runs a boarding house. She was born on Veira (the old name for Wyre).
In the 1891 census her husband is still alive, he was a shoemaker aged 56 and born on Rousay.
They have a daughter Mary Jane aged 25 who is a machinist, unmarried and living at home.
Also in the house is Mary's father-in-law James Mainland, (born Wyre) so that gives us Mary's maiden name as Mainland. They also kept lodgers in 1891.
Debbie could go further back if she was to call in to the Orkney Family History office upstairs in the Kirkwall library any afternoon.
Betty Cameron, volunteer in the O.F.H.S.
Anonymous comment added on 05 March 2006
The two shops which Debbie refers to in her original e-mail, as belonging to her cousin Lydia Ann Robertson, are probably the shops called L.A.M. Robertson, which were indeed fancy goods shops.
One was situated in Victoria Street just opposite what is now The Orkney Hotel and the other was in Albert Street just opposite from Boots the Chemists, and next door to Groundwater's Shop.
Time I refer to is from the 1940's to the 1960's and possibly before and after that time
There must be photos of these shops somewhere in the archives......over to you "Orkney Archives."
P. Burges.
Added by Peter Burges on 06 March 2006
Many thanks to you David for an excellent service.This is indeed the shop in question, and was always known as Lam (as in lamb) Robertson's.
The other shop in Albert Street was part of the building now occupied by the Orcadian, the part nearest Groundwater's grocer shop, and as I remember it, it probably disappeared when the building at one time became part of the Athol Cafe.
Best regards
P. Burges.
Added by Peter Burges on 07 March 2006
I will rise to Peter's challenge! Orkney Archive does indeed have a photograph of the shop in Victoria Street that was owned by Lydia Ann Robertson. The photograph is dated 10 February 1958 so might well be after the time of the original owner, but the shop still has the same name. I will upload the image later today so keep an eye out for it!
[Administrator adds- see picture #1376 ]
Added by David Mackie on 07 March 2006
Sorry Debbie, I thought you were living in Orkney when I said to pop into the Kirkwall Library.
This shows the power of orkneycommunities to travel the world.
I would think that a machinist in Orkney where there were no factories would be someone working from home with the new fangled Singer sewing machines or employed by a local dress shop to do alterations or even make complete dresses.
We have the Orkney trade directory for 1939 at home and the two Miss Robertson shops are listed under toy dealers and are in the streets as in Peter Burges' comments above.
Anonymous comment added on 07 March 2006
Thank you sooooo much for everyone's help. It's wonderful to have a picture of Lydia's shop. I think L.A.M. stands for Lydia Ann Marwick. Her mother was Jean Marwick daughter of Alexander & Isabella (Gison) Marwick of Corse, Rousay. Jean married James Robertson of Hunclett. I have a letter Lydia sent to my grandfather (David Shearer) in Detroit in 1946. The address on the letter is 37 Victoria, Kirkwall. Thanks again for your kindness in looking up my picture. Debbie Michigan USA
Added by Debbie Michigan USA on 08 March 2006
Hourston's shop in Victoria Street WAS related to the Hourston's of Albert Street. Willie Hourston - the 3rd or 4th generation to have the Albert St premises lived in 75 VS before he built his house in High Street (where Bobby and Anna Slater now live) and his two sisters Peggy and Mary lived in 75 VS. Mary was an English teacher in KGS and was my teacher in classes 1 - 3 When the Albert St. shop was sold a younger generation of the family used part of the family home for their shop.
Added by David Partner on 30 May 2011
I am related to Lydia Robertson by way of her father's (James) mother Jenet Craigie. I am descended from Janet's sister Rebecca Craigie who married Magnus Marwick. Any information on the Robertsons would be appreciated. Did any of Lydia's brothers or sisters have any children?
Added by Sandy on 17 September 2016
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