It is no secret that I have a love other than ES (apart from shoes). I don’t hide it from him, in fact I flaunt it in front of him and sometimes actively encourage him to join me in my illicit courtship. No I’m not talking about swinging, I’m talking about my love for Aberdeen.
I find this city utterly beguiling, its stern granite buildings, their grey and foreboding frontages looming over its wide streets. The harbour that encroaches onto the city centre, a splash of colour from the supply vessels infiltrating its ashen and industrial surroundings. The boat’s horns sound loudly across the entire city and it has an air of prosperity and affluence despite it’s industrialised appearance.
The history of Aberdeen enchants me. I marvel at it’s magnificent houses, that seem to mirror castles, but in rows of 20 at a time. Huge sweeping drives, imposing black front doors guarded on either side by fancy up-lighting. I wonder how on earth they afforded to build such huge fortifications and so many!
The fishing industry (which is now all but dead in Aberdeen) is mostly attributable for this former wealth, a scale which we can only maintain now thanks to international oil companies. It goes to show just how wealthy these fishermen must have been.
I stumbled across a little bit of Aberdeen’s history in a charity shop in Aboyne, a faux fur coat hailing from A.C. Little and Sons, Aberdeen:
Firstly, I couldn’t believe the price of this jacket considering what I spotted down the road in Ballater (more on that later), it was a bargain! Sadly it swamped me, and not in the glamorous ‘swaddled in fur’ way either. Instead I looked like an escaped Yeti from the back of beyond, though my hair style may have had something to do with that…
I typed A.C Little and Sons into Google certain that a wealth of knowledge would pop up regarding a once prosperous costumier. Nothing. A smattering of small references to high quality clothing retailers in Perth and Dundee. The plot thickened when I discovered, upon further lunch break investigation, that the address supplied for the shops was the same for both the Perth and Dundee branches, a detail that was either entirely well planned by the proprietor, or an internet error…. I came to the conclusion that it was the latter when the telephone number was also listed as the same 4 digits. It being an old style number, I elected not to dial it, despite my overly romantic notion that somewhere, somehow, the number would still exist.
Bygone Dundee had the most to say on the matter, stating that in 1935 there was:
“A Review of Ultra-Smart Fashionable Wear is always showing at
The distinctive shop for
Ladies’ coats, costumes, day and evening wear
The woman who likes an exclusive air about her dress will find our varied collection of the newest outstanding modes much to her taste.
Fashion’s smartest ideas are introduced in the lovely styles of our latest arrivals.
An early visit will give you a limitless choice
A.C. Little & Sons, Ltd.
28 High Street, Dundee.
A couple of ebay listings for items very similar to this one offered no further information, and by the time I had stumbled across Archive.org stating that the details of the Perth branch were:
“LITTLE, A. C, costumier and furrier, 28 High street (Teleph. No. 2732) ;
h. 10 Westgrove avenue, Perth rd. See Adv. p. iv. preceding title”
I figured that I had reached the end of the road. The only thing that remained was to Google 10 Westgrove Avenue, Perth and this is what I found:
I was no further on. So all that remains is for me to show you how much of a bargain this coat was. I spotted, albeit a real fur coat, in the Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland boutique up the road in Ballater:
This may be real fur when the other was not, but they are both vintage, and I would happily pay £337.50 less for the previous item than fork out for this one. I do appreciate the tiered affect on the fabric and this is undoubtedly an item of outstanding quality, but it is well outside of my budget.