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Albert Street
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Albert Street

A postcard showing a rather atmospheric Albert Street sometime between the Albert Kinema opening in 1928 and Spence's old paper shop being demolished in 1930. J & J Smith, Drapers, on the right, and it looks like Hourston the jewellers second left. Not sure what is in what is now Groundwaters - it doesn't look like a bakery. Further up the street on the left, A M Morgan's shop front has not yet been modernised. I think the photo archive has a nice picture of the window display after it was.
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Picture added on 21 January 2007
Think you have the left side wrong...... the first build man looking in window is what is now Groundwaters followed by what became the front Atholl Cafe..Morgans further up looks like it is shiny and could be marble.

Added by Anon on 19 February 2009
Are you both correct? I agree with Anon on the face of it but the second building's sign looks like it says Hourston. Did they move from there to their present location or maybe a different firm altogether? You have the original Paul so maybe you can zoom in on it?
Added by Rob Miller on 19 February 2009
It takes a brave man/woman to challenge Paul!
Added by B.Moar on 20 February 2009
Look at picture #1490
Added by Anon on 20 February 2009
It can be said that I am older than most but still younger than some, and I can remember a shop name missing from the comments regarding this photo.
The premises second from the left which were demolished to make way for the then front Atholl Cafe, was a shop known as L.A.M.Robertson.
This was the same L.A.M.R. which was situated in Victoria Street once upon a time.
As I remember it, the Albert Street shop was quite small and rather an odd shape, with a door on the corner.It stocked all manner of odds and ends of haberdashery.
Hope this will stir yet a few memories, and we shall hear more on the subject.
Added by Peter Burges on 21 February 2009
Anon is right, except where he says I'm wrong! I may have caused confusion by not taking the buildings in order, but when I referred to "what is now Groundwaters" I assumed everyone would know I was speaking about the shop first on the left. What made me wonder whether it was Groundwaters then, was what you can make out of the wording above the nearest window. For many years and until at least 1911, going by old almanacs, this was one of the bakers Cursiter Brothers' two shops (the other is now the Torvhaug). At that time J. F. Groundwater was at 14 Albert Street and listed as a general merchant, not a baker. He was still there, and baking, in 1918. By 1926 number 14 was occupied by John T. Flett, butcher, but the Groundwater's advert in that and later years doesn't give a street number. Neither do the adverts for W. Hourston about the time of this photo, but in 1918 he is at 57 Albert Street (Christine Clarke's), and in 1911 he is at number 40 (the D.E.). Whether he moved again to the shop second left before going to 34 Albert Street, I don't know, but I can't find another Hourston business at this time and the sign certainly says Hourston. As for Morgan's shop front, that isn't the modern plate-glass one seen in later photos such as picture #2807.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 21 February 2009
L.A.M. Robertson first appears as a toy dealer in Albert Street in Peace's Almanac for 1938 (probably printed at the end of 1937). She had been in Victoria Street for a few years before that. Twenty years earlier there is a Miss Hourston listed as a toy dealer in Albert Street, but she disappears before the time of this photo. I wonder if her shop was second on the left too, and someone else took it over before L.A.M. Robertson, but kept Hourston above the door. Trouble is, there is no other toy/fancy goods/haberdashery shop listed at the time which fits the bill.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 23 February 2009
Paul, do you have access to a book "Descriptive Notes on Orkney" by George MacGregor, Jun.published around 1893? It lists a lot of the businesses and owners and houses along the main streets of Kirkwall with comments about some of them. I only have a poor photocopy of some of the main pages dealing with the main streets.
Added by Marion Mcleod on 23 February 2009
Yes I do, Marion. It's a fascinating book, though it's not always easy to figure out which shop he is speaking about. He manages to say something complimentary about almost every business man and woman in Kirkwall. From what he says about this part of the street it seems the second shop on the left was used for a similar business in his time too. After mentioning J. & J. Smith he writes: "Opposite is a Fancy Toy Shop, kept by Miss Peace, a lady of good business tact, and of amiable disposition."
Added by Paul Sutherland on 23 February 2009
Can any of you experts on Kirkwall history tell me where Back Street was. My ancestors were all fae north o the Galt but my father was born in Kirkwall. His birth certificate gave the place of birth as 2 Back Street.

[Don't know, but wonder if picture #1242 is relevant...- Steven]
Added by Jim Cooper on 25 February 2009
This is the only Back Road sign I ever knew also Steven.
Having said that, for what it's worth, in my parents time, and mine also for that matter, when anyone mentioned the Back Road, they were actually referring to Junction Road.
Another example of the Peedie/Peerie Sea situation.
Added by Peter Burges on 26 February 2009
Back Street is now Buttquoy Place. I think number 2 may be the old house right on the corner of the Watergate behind the former police station.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 26 February 2009
In a 1903 map 'Back Street' ran from the junction of Watergate behind the old prison up past the houses on the left (some of which have been replaced) around the corner and along the road between Buttquoy Park and the allotments before ending up at Clay Loan. Buttquoy Crescent and the new houses on the south side only came later.
Added by Edwin Rendall on 27 February 2009
I think you would be correct Paul. He used to say that he had been told he was born next door to the police station but did not know where the police station was at that time . This was in 1909. It was only after he died that we saw Back Street on his birth certificate
Added by Jim Cooper on 27 February 2009
My mother who grew up in Kirkwall during 2nd WW used to refer to Buttquoy as the Wrennery. Were Wrens stationed there during the war? I seem to remember the library housed in buildings there for a short time.
Added by Cathleen Spence on 01 March 2009
I grew up in Buttquoy, and we called it the Wrennery as kids too. I never heard of Buttquoy Place being the back street, that's interesting.
Added by Alison on 02 March 2009
Cathleen, yes, that was a Wren barracks during WW2. The accommodation was taken over by the council and used as housing after the war. That's where I grew up. My folks stayed in no 17 until 1957 when we were rehoused. I'm not sure when it was redeveloped but I think it would have been before Hatston.
Added by Fred Grieve on 03 March 2009
My best friend Brian Mooney lived there and I remember playing there when I was about age to start school (late 50's). The Mooney's (parents, Robert, Brian, Bruce? and Erland) moved to St Rognvald Street after that. It was the Wrennery to us too.
Added by Rob Miller on 03 March 2009
I remember two Mooney's from Kirkwall in the Royal Navy in the early 50's, although I think the one in submarines lived south.
Were they the same ones as you refer to Rob?
Added by Fred Johnston on 06 March 2009
Does anyone else remember the library being temporarily in the Wrennery?
Added by Barbara Johnston on 07 March 2009
The Mooney brothers I knew in the mid 50s were only in Primary School at the time. There were four of them. Brian was the second oldest and ages with me. His older brother, Robert, can be seen in picture #1468. I think two of them joined the Royal Navy which would seem to suggest it was in the family perhaps. I believe one was drowned out east somewhere. Their father was in the Post Office and, when they left Orkney, he joined the Prison Service in Torquay I think. His brother Olaf lives in Finstown.
Added by Rob Miller on 09 March 2009
Bruce Mooney was in me class at school. He joined the Royal Navy and drowned in Hong Kong I think.
Added by Duncan Tullock on 11 March 2009
Barbara, I was just a wee lad at the time but something like a library or similar rings a bell.
Duncan, quite correct. I wasn't that sure of my facts to state that but you confirm what I thought.
Added by Rob Miller on 12 March 2009
Brian Mooney is my dad and robert and erland are my uncles erland is in york my dad and robert are in gosport and yes bruce did drown but i have never been told the story as it is something my dad wont talk about my grandad bob went to work for longmarsh as a prison gaurd
Added by Lucinda Mooney on 09 April 2009
Just a quick update for those who have mentioned my family (The Mooneys).The two Mooneys Fred Johnston mentioned were my father Robert (Bob), and his cousin John (Johnny). I don't know about Johnny, but Bob was a submariner.
Duncan Tullock was close - Bruce joined the merchant navy and drowned of Lagos on his first trip to sea.
Added by Brian Mooney on 09 April 2009
Offhand without my notes to hand but in recent days in my research on Kirkwall in 1918 No.57 Albert Street was the property of Sclater Brothers, grocers, established in the late 19th C. - the date escapes me at the moment but certainly by 1880 - and they traded into the 1920's. No.57 became Nicolson the baker's. No.55 became Macdonald's butchers in 1927.
No. 34 Albert St. where Hourstons (now Clarkes)is was the shop of Robertson & Co established at the head of Broad St. by 1855 which moved to their new "commodious" premises in 1885 hoping for continued trade from their established customers according to their advert ain Peace's Almanac. They continued to trade until 1920 according to the almanac after which Hourston moved into the premises. I do not think Hourston was back at 55 after being at No.40.
Cursiter Bro. ceased trading in 1916. The shop in Bridge St became J.A.Balantyne's until 1932. The shop in Albert St was purchased by J.F.Groundwater and No.14 became John T.Flett who actually started business in 1909.Prior to J.F.Groundwater No. 14 was George Rendall's before he moved to No.1
Added by David Partner on 23 December 2015
Sorry and I apologise but I was wrong in the previous comment regarding Sclater Bros shop site. They were at No.61 not No.57. They traded until 1932 having been established in 1878. So it is possible that Hourston did move back to no 57 from No.40 before moving to No.34, the present premises of Clarkes.
There is some confusion in my mind regarding the original siting of Wright's chemist shop which did trade from No.53, the site of Gornsport today.
another photo in the image library shows the D.E. shoeshop at 53 before it moved to No.40, present day Kairds.
The D.E. came to Kirkwall in 1885. I had assumed that the firm took over the shoeshop premises of William White who died aged 84 in 1884. His grandson John White was Provost 1920-27.
D.M.Wright started in 1892 by which time the D.E. had been in business for 7 years. In 1891 T.H.Slater chemist ceased trading. He erected the single storie flat-roofed buildings at the Big Tree one of which was his own shop. Is it possible D.M.Wright started there before moving to No.53 after the D.E.moved to No.40 ? Food for thought.
Added by David Partner on 24 December 2015
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