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Nicol Spence & Son
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Nicol Spence & Son

This shop in Bridge Street was not operational when this photo was taken.
Picture added on 04 August 2007
If I remember right until shortly before this there was another enamel sign on the gable advertising "Union Castle Line for South and East Africa".
Added by Paul Sutherland on 06 August 2007
Many a Saturday was spent in this shop buying a bamboo cane a hank oh fishing line a yard oh gut and 2 hapenny hooks, material costs, tuppence for cane, thruppence for fishing line and two hapenny hooks sixpence {2-1/2pence new money!}. Then of to Scotty Watsons fish shop for a cod head for bait, then down the pier to catch sillocks. Nicol Spence and Son had a distinct smell of sailing ships, hemp and tarred ropes, { How many of you can rememder that smell?} after all it was a ships chandler.
Added by Lewis Munro on 15 December 2007
The shop was boarded up and being gutted inside at this time. Think it was owned by David Reid then. I can remember the noise and the very thin wall between us in the Jobcentre next door whilst the work was going on.
Added by Marion Mcleod on 15 December 2007
worked there on Saturdays in 75 as a message boy with Kenneth Hay and the longsuffering Ivor Harcus -filling bottles of meths, sperm oil(whatever that was) then cutting some oily chain, before selling the local artists some expensive sheets of daler board and heavy paper...many a thumbprint.
Added by Chris Nicolson on 23 October 2008
Next door to the right in the picture (now Sheila Fleet) was Jimmy Sinclair, and in 1902 was David Sinclair watchmaker, Grandfather, originally from quoys, Holm.
Added by Gordon Sinclair on 10 January 2009
I seem to mind the shop next door was 'Fjord's Fashions' at one time. Seadog Jeans were in fashion then. (Many moons ago!!)
Added by Sylvie Leonard on 12 January 2009
Where Sheila Fleet's is now is allegedly very haunted. Anybody got any stories? Or of any other spooky locations?
Added by Steven Heddle on 13 January 2009
Grandfather, David J Sinclair, occupied the shop from 1900 to 1903 as watchmaker, jeweller, optician, etc., he also supplied the gold medal for the winner of the Kirkwall to Stromness cycle race which I believe a coachbuilder William Garrioch won. I am trying to trace the whereabouts of WG's relations and that medal- anybody have an idea ?

Added by Gordon Sinclair on 13 January 2009
Haunted building where Sheila Fleets is now? I was told that the rear part of the building which were the rear rooms in the Jobcentre [which was by now a totally new built section] was once the house of an elderly woman who was supposed to be seen from time to time many years after her death. I never saw her but often "felt" there was someone in that part of the building at times and wondered if some of the mysterious things that happened in the Jobcentre over the years may have been her - too many to go into here but things and furniture moved overnight, footsteps upstairs and going up and down the stairs, keys rattling and swirling in the door lock and the vacancy cards flying off the wallboards were regular things. It did not bother me one bit but others were not too happy about it.
Added by Marion Mcleod on 13 January 2009
Go on Marion - please tell us more.
Added by Barbara on 14 January 2009
My father, Wilbert Thomson, owned a grocery shop at 34 Bridge Street, the premises now occupied by The Frozen Food Centre, from approximately 1960 until 1972. I cannot recall actual dates but remember that the occupants of the premises now occupied by Sheila Fleet were as follows during that period:-
1. James W Sinclair, photographer; 2. Elliot Forbes, dry-cleaners; 3. Fjord Fashions.
Initially there was a gap between James W. Sinclair's shop and a house further up the lane, which was occupied by Evelyn Cox (who ran a small grocery shop at the bottom of St Catherines Place.) and her mother. This gap was acquired by Elliot Forbes, who extended his premises to 'house' his dry-cleaning machines.
There was a garden at the upper right-hand side of the lane which was part of the premises known as 34 Bridge Street. This garden became the site for the office of Helen Nicolson, the Solicitor. Above that was a two storey house which was the home of Willie Liddle the joiner, and his wife Margaret. This house was demolished and the site became a small car park.
Added by Rob Thomson on 14 January 2009
Prior to my father, the shop at 34 Bridge Street was owned by Bertie Robertson, formerly of Robertsons's shop, St Margarets Hope. Bertie bought the shop from Albert Maxwell, when Albert retired and moved to 'Norwood' in Dundas Crescent, where Mrs Hibbert was his housekeeper. After Bertie sold 34 Bridge Street to my father the family moved to Kemnay in Aberdeenshire where they ran a General Merchants business.
Added by Rob Thomson on 15 January 2009
Willie and Margaret Liddle were my grandparents Rob and I well remember getting sent along to your Dad's shop to get messages when I was a youngster in the 1960's. I remember him with a white shop jacket on and always very smartly turned out. I used to get things like half a pound of broken biscuits - I can't help thinking shopping is a lot less interesting now !
Added by Whassigo on 18 January 2009
Nicol Spence's shop, ship chandler was founded about 1869. He was on the Kirkwall Town Council. He owned the property in Victoria Street which eventually became Tommy Muir's paint shop. Nicol built a house up Dundas Crescent called New Pitten. That house and shop stayed in the Spence family until Edwin Eunson bought the shop in 1954. The house was sold after Archie Spence's death. He was also on the Town Council in the 1920's and 1930's. Reids took over the shop premises after Edwin Eunson retired.
Added by David Partner on 31 May 2011
My name is also Nicol Spence
Added by Nicol Spence on 02 October 2022
Bertie would have sold the shop on Bridge Street in 1960 as he moved to Kemnay Aberdeenshire and opened R G ROBERTSON & SONS general merchants, in April of 1960 .
Added by Graham Robertson on 15 February 2023
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