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Shop in Broad Street
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Shop in Broad Street

Date is approx.
I received this photo from Australia along with many more taken by some of the Hepburns who used to be millers at the Boardhouse Mill,Birsay until 1886.
It would appear to have taken before the Town Hall was built. Who would have owned this shop at this time?
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Picture added on 23 February 2009
Looks very like the building owned by cousins James & William Tait. James & family lived at 8 Broad Street at the 1881 Census and then at 29 Broad Street, Kirkwall at the 1891 and 1901 Census. I am sure Charles Tait would be able to clarify things and dates?
Added by Marion Mcleod on 24 February 2009
Great photo - I hope you've more! No town planning then. Imagine building a bog-standard four-storey Victorian tenement in the middle of a street of 17th and 18th century houses scarcely more than half its height, and right opposite the Cathedral too. Only building the new Town Hall next door in 1884-6 made it look less out of place. On the left is the wall of the old Town Hall or Tolbooth's yard. In the shop windows is the answer to my question on picture #16684 - the gas pipes with burners and globes on them. I wonder if this was taken on completion of the building. Could that be its proud owners lurking in the shadows inside the main shop door?
Added by Paul Sutherland on 24 February 2009
Anyone know what the building on the left was? Looks like Comm[e[c]on the sign. Could there have been a Commercial Hotel or Commercial Boarding House there? and demolished to give way to the new fancy Town Hall.
Added by Rae on 25 February 2009
This picture would suggest that picture #4325 is even earlier than 1883, unless they lashed this up in 6 months... or that this is post 1883. What do you think Paul?
Added by Steven Heddle on 25 February 2009
This is J&W Tait's new building before the Town Hall was put up in place of the rather nicer old buildings they knocked down. The Town Hall is 1884 so this just predates it. The J&W Tait building was put up by James and William Tait after 1870 and replaced H Wilson, Sadler. Yes maybe the old buildings would be preserved today, but they were built on the shore and were likely falling down.
Added by Charles Tait on 25 February 2009
See picture #4325 for H Wilson, Saddler
Added by Jackie Harrison on 26 February 2009
One o the Tait boys told me that their ancestors who built this beautiful building had the top floor added as an after thought, and it added an extra £500 to the price and almost broke them.
How lucky we are that they had the vision to build such a building, it is very doubtful if today's planners would approve such a structure and might block it on some grounds or another!.
Would anyone get consent to erect the ring o Brodgar or Maeshowe today- that wid hiv them scratchan ther heads!!
Added by John Budge on 14 March 2009
I've come across a reference to this building as "recently erected" in John R. Tudor's "The Orkneys and Shetland", published 1883. Incidentally, he describes it as: "that four-storied monstrosity of a shop, utterly out of keeping with the surrounding buildings".
Added by Paul Sutherland on 17 August 2009
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