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Garden's after the fire of 1938
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Garden's after the fire of 1938

Click to View showed Garden's in 1930's, but this picture shows why there is a gap site on Bridge Street.

I've resampled and smoothed the sign on the nearest burnt out building to give the inset picture, and have convinced myself that it says 'Grocery' along the bottom. Is this correct?
Picture added on 25 August 2006
If the smaller building, this side of Gardens is no. 30, now Sheila Fleet, it used to be my Grandfather's Watchmaker & Jewellers shop in 1901-1903, (David Sinclair of the Quoys, Holm). Can anyone remember all the occupant's of that shop between then and now ? I think Jimmy Sinclair, no relation, the Photographer, was there selling Gramophones and alistair MacLeod, any other suggestions ? Dates would be handy.
Regards, Gordon Sinclair
Added by Gordon James Sinclair on 20 April 2007
By the way, should anyone have a frontal photo of this shop, no. 30, over the years, I would be pleased to hear from you. I have many glancing side shots but not frontals.
Regards, Gordon.
Added by Gordon James Sinclair on 21 April 2007
The shop you are looking for Gordon, is the third shop up the street from this one, on that side.
The shop on the extreme right in this photo above was for many years (in my time)owned by the late Ronald Slater and sold Wines and Spirits.
Last I knew it was occupied by Orkney Photographic. [Still the case. Wasn't it a knitwear shop for while in between? - Steven]
Added by Peter Burges on 21 April 2007
Peter, take a look at your own entry picture #1682. The nearer building, judging by the window configuration, appears to be the one with the sign under query which is clearly "Shop at GARDEN'S Drapery". I would suggest the "Family Grocer" on the building next door was Garden's Grocery, apparently untouched by the fire. You will notice in No.1682 there was a similar sign over the further away building which I have no doubt read "Shop at GARDEN'S Grocery"
Added by Tom Scott on 22 April 2007
Where the peedie lass is standing on the wall - is that No.23 ? If so these buildings were all taken down to make the big Garden Square or am I at the wrong bit?
Added by Barbara on 23 April 2007
So if I understand you correctly Tom, Ronald Slater's shop was at one time occupied by Gardens? Before my time - I can only remember as far back as Ronald.

Obviously the fire-damaged building in the middle of the above picture was razed to the ground and its site is part of the open yard but what about the damaged building further away? Was that rebuilt and became what I knew as the Garden's Bakery Shop?

BTW, these are fascinating pictures, Peter. Do you have any others not published here?
Added by Fred Grieve on 23 April 2007
Having taken further "looks" at picture #1682 and picture #1683 above, as suggested by cousin Tom, I might add the following deliberations.
First of all, looking upstreet in 1682, there appears to be two openings between the buildings, one between the two Garden shops, and one between Garden's and what is now Orkney Photographic (formerly Ronald Slater's), which incidentally must have been a grocer shop at that time. In this particular scene, the nearest Garden's shop is very clearly "Drapery" according to the sign above, the sign upstreet being unreadable from this angle.
In picture 1683 above, looking downstreet, and also the inset of the upper sign, (kindly supplied by Steven), who I am inclined to agree with, says that it reads "Grocery".By the time this picture was taken, the frontage of part of the building downstreet must have disappeared along with the "Drapery" sign.
I am almost certain that the building on the extreme right of the above picture (1683)is the building now occupied by Orkney Photographic.
On the opposite side of the street the young lady standing on the dyke hanging onto the railings is on the upstreet side of what was John Jolly's coal merchants office. I must refer to B.(J.)W.'s picture #2869 to qualify my last sentence for this statement.

It is on the basis of this, that I now "Rest my case".
On this particular morning after the fire, I can remember being taken by my parents to see this scene of devastation, as we lived quite nearby. It was not a pretty sight.
In answer to Fred Grieve regarding his "BTW", "Watch this Space" Fred for one more picture on this particular subject.
Added by Peter Burges on 09 May 2007
The premises now occupied by Sheila Fleet were occupied by James W Sinclair, the photographer in the early 1960's when my father Wilbert Thomson owned the general merchants shop at 34 Bridge Street (The Brig.) After James W Sinclair, 30 Bridge Street was occupied by Elliot Forbes, the Dry Cleaners, before that business moved to Albert Street. I will post a photo of 30 Bridge Street when it was occupied by Elliot Forbes in the next few days.
Added by Rob Thomson on 28 July 2007
Looking forward to seeing the frontal shot of 30, Bridge Street (Grandfathers Watchmaking and Jewellery Shop 1901-1903, (the business is documented in the Library).
Added by Godon James Sinclair on 29 July 2007
Gordon - please see picture #3449 for front of 30 Bridge Street when occupied by Elliot Forbes, Dry Cleaners.
Added by Rob Thomson on 30 July 2007
Peter - Please see picture #17698 for another view following Garden's fire.
Added by Rob Miller on 18 February 2009
Does anyone know if the buildings nearer St Catherine's Place were damaged by the fire? How far did the fire extend?
Added by Ragnhild Ljosland on 27 August 2010
Before the Second War, the houses of St Catherine's Place nearest Garden Street were all known as Garden Street. They were all evacuated at the time of the fire and they could hear all the glass and crockery exploding with the heat.
Anonymous comment added on 27 August 2010
To the best of my knowledge,none of the St Catherines Place houses were damaged in any way.
Had this happened at the time,in my opinion,probably most of the shopping area of Kirkwall in that area would have been destroyed.
In Bridge Street at the present time,the whole of the open space was, what was occupied by buildings before the fire.
As I am a very poor judge of distances,at a very rough guess I would say that it would be 50 to 60 meters almost square.
As I am no longer in the vicinity, is there anyone up there with a long enough tape measure?
Added by Peter Burges on 27 August 2010
Thank you!
Added by Ragnhild Ljosland on 30 August 2010
As this end of the street seems to have been "sorted oot", how about the other end?
Looking at picture #23809, John Scotts shop is on the right, window advert says, Ironmongers Grocer Wine merchants.
It has been established that Gardens Drapery was opposite John Scotts and Gardens Grocers was futher up the street, who owned the bakers shop on the left of this picture? Could that have been Flett & Sons? I feel Gardens bakery would have been closer to their grocer shop.
Only a thought!
Added by PRICE SINCLAIR on 31 August 2010
I think you are quite correct Price,the baker's shop you can see on the left of picture #23809 could only be that of J.Flett and Sons,as this is very far down the street.
On the extreme right of picture #23809 is the Kirkwall Hotel and on the left is Focus On Orkney,as it has been known in the recent past.
Added by Peter Burges on 31 August 2010
Just in case there's any confusion over the situation of John Scott's shop in relation to Gardens, in picture #23809 John Scott's was in what is now the Harbour Fry but, by the time of the fire, it had moved up the street to 15-19 Bridge St, opposite Gardens, where it has remained to this day. See picture #17698.
Added by Rob Miller on 01 September 2010
Thanks for the comments Peter, you say the Kirkwall Hotel is on the right of picture #23809 and I agree with that, but there must have been alterations to that as I seem to remember a close by John Scott & Millers and a bake shop set back off the street, Arthurs bakery I think. Then didn't Leasks have a flower shop there as well and I think Scott's fish shop.
The mind could be going of course but I'm sure someone will put me right. It's a long time since I lived in Kirkwall.
Added by PRICE SINCLAIR on 02 September 2010
Yes Price ,there's been many a change in Bridge St. ower the years.
If you look at piucture #23809 and see the peedie boy on the right,he is standing immediately opposite the close which is between the Kirkwall Hotel and the shop we knew as Scotts Fish Shop.
As Rob Miller explains in his letter above,John Scott and Miller occupied the shop in 23809, which we knew in later years as Scotts Fish Shop.
There was indeed (and still is as far as I know) a close between Scott and Millers and what was George T Arthurs Bakery,but this is a little bit further up street on the right.
With regards to the flower shop you remember, this would have been Leitch's,who also owned the gardens on Willow Road. Memory fails me now as to which shop that was.
Hope this clears up the confushion (.com)a peedie bit.
Added by Peter Burges on 06 September 2010
Was it not Leiths Flower Shop not Leasks (where the Dil Se resturant is now).
Added by Sylvia Leonard on 06 September 2010
Re my last comment. It could be Leitch's Flower Shop.
Added by Sylvia Leonard on 06 September 2010
The flower shop mentionedby Price was Leitch's
Added by Sandy on 07 September 2010
Thanks to everybody for reassuring me that the mind is no completely gone and that the picture I have of Kirkwall is still fairly acurate, even if it is a 50 year old one!
Added by PRICE SINCLAIR on 12 September 2010
i was shocked and stunned that on my 2nd trip to Orkney this year, I happened to go into 30, Bridge Street, and, would you believe, halfway up the shop there was a glss frame on the wall with a history of all the owners and tenants of the shop since 1865. my grandfather David Sinclair, watchmaker was a tenant from 1901 to 1903, unbelieveable. Gordon. (By the way, the information was compiled by Norman Sinclair, Son of a previous tenent,James W. Sinclair, Photographer, 1929-1946).
Added by Gordon Sinclair on 11 October 2011
It's just a small point Gordon but the dates you have against James W Sinclair (1929-1946) must be wrong. I purchased my first camera from Mr Sinclair in the early 60s and subsequently had my film developed by him. I have no idea when he started at 30 Bridge Street but I would guess that he was there until the mid 60s when he sold to Elliot Forbes the dry cleaners.
Added by Rob Miller on 20 October 2011
Hi rob., Yes we are both correct, the 1929 to 1946 dates was when James W Sinclair was a tenant, in 1946 he bought the shop outright from Albert Maxwell. Around 1960 he built an extension to the rear, 6 years later he retired and sold on to Elliot Forbes, in 1998 it passed to Sheila Fleet after another four proprieters.
Thanks for your comments,
Added by [email protected] on 21 October 2011
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