Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | December 20, 2013

Christmas at William Shearer’s, Kirkwall

Shearer’s is an old fashioned shop – in the best sense of the word. You can buy things there that you can’t find anywhere else. It carries groceries, hardware, fancy goods, gardening stuff and many other things. And at Christmas they open up the upstairs of the old building to house their Christmas stock.

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But ‘upstairs at Shearers’ is not just Christmas goods. On the higher shelves there are left overs from earlier times, from oil lamps to biscuit boxes. Oh, and it is heated by a real fire in the grate! If you go at the right time, the shop’s cat might be asleep in front of the fire…

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So here are scenes from this year’s display.

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Closing in on the top, earthenware jars and hurricane lamps….

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… and on the feed sacks and an old mangle.

005 mangle and feed sacks

Turning left, you look along to one of the places which used to be open for bringing up sacks to this level.

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Here you can see the window which was once a set of doors, and the stairs up which the sacks were taken to be fed into the hopper and mixed with other ingredients to make the feed mixes for cattle, sheep, cows etc.

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And a close up of the pulley mechanism:

008 pulley

Turning left again, there are more Christmas goods….

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… and a close up of the old tins etc above.  The ‘square’ tins originally held biscuits.

010 biscuit boxes

From the other side you can see the green hopper better…

011 hopper

… and close up you can see the early parafin heaters:

012 bulk hopper and lamps

The original cash desk is still here.  The clerks would sit on high stools and fill in the ledgers:

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And finally, old and new – modern goods in an old dresser along side a modern display unit.

014 dresser

As ever, it is glorious display, and as ever I bought quite a bit!  Mostly jars of goodies which will see me well into the spring!

 

 

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Responses

  1. Wonderful, I love it. Thanks so much for sharing, it’s envoking memories for me of other stores that were similar.

  2. So inviting! Got to have time to explore!

  3. It’s been eons since I’ve made any 1:12 scale scenes. This is crying out for an homage in miniature. Merry Christmas to you.

  4. This reminds me of the “general stores” you used to find in country “towns” (small villages) around Australia. They too sold anything and everything and there would usually be some decorations put up for Christmas. But, this is much more varied and ornate and would be a wonderful place for inspiration for writers!

  5. What a wonderful place and such lovely photographs.

  6. Oh Liz… THIS is the shop I would like to go to. Thank you só much for being our guide in this wonderful location. The cabinet with jars of jam, the fire place.. it is so pretty.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and an amazing new year!

  7. I really like to read your stories on life on the island! And this last blog post was absolutely wonderful!

  8. I love my annual virtual journey to Shearer’s. I hope to see it for real some day!

  9. We used to make camp ovens out of biscuit tins like that, back in the 1950s. What a wonderful store!

  10. I have many fond memories of buying yarn in Kirkwall in the 80′s and early 90′s in a shop very much like this one. I suppose I still have the receipts somewhere, have to check if it was Shearer’s or another shop.


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