Goldberg’s, it seems, was the sort of store that could stand in for the whole of Glasgow, according to at least one person who was fond of visiting the Candleriggs store.

“Prior to working there, my memories of Goldberg's were, from a young age, my Grandmother, my mother and I didn’t go to Glasgow, we went to Goldberg's...”, recounts ‘Alicydon’ on the Urban Glasgow website.

The trio would get the train in from Coatdyke to the station in Glasgow’s High Street. Making their way to Goldberg’s, they would start on its ground floor and steadily work their way upwards, have lunch in the restaurant, work their way downwards again and, finally, head for the station.

The store has been closed for more than thirty years now, but memories of it persist. You don’t have to look too hard find them.

‘Alycidon’ ended up working at the store, in the summer of 1975. “I am one of only two people in the world to have ridden a bike on the roof.

“We worked in the toy department storeroom and during June and July we took delivery of the Xmas stock of bikes, they had to be taken up from the Goods Inwards bay in the lane behind [the now-gone pub] Granny Black’s to the toy department stockroom on the sixth floor, and after taking God knows how many bikes up, we built up the last two and took them up onto the roof and rode round in the sunshine!!”

The Herald: Goldberg's in the 1970sGoldberg's in the 1970s (Image: free)

On the same website there’s this, from ‘Applemaca’: “Holds nothing but happy childhood memories for me. New shoes, trousers, jumpers, football boots and so on. Always remember the thick carpets and walking up each flight of stairs to arrive at an endless number of floors selling all sorts of goods. Also remember right at the far end there was a stairwell that allowed access to half levels, one of which housed the Payments/Finance department. I have a warm glow thinking of the times I was taken there by my mother”.

Then there’s this contribution, from ‘Johniedoc’: “I remember there was a fish pond with goldfish in it at the entrance, I also remember we had to hide any letters that were sent from Goldberg's from my da as my ma would get our clothes on tick”.

Former customers on other internet sites remember visiting Goldberg’s to update their wardrobe, to buy school uniforms, to purchase tea-sets as wedding gifts.

The store’s sheer longevity is reflected in this anecdote from Janette MacDonald, on the Glasgow Chronicles page on Facebook: “I remember borrowing my sister’s Goldberg’s account card to go and buy my new black maxi coat with the shiny naval buttons...think it was 1970/71. I remember actually wearing it with either hotpants to the disco...or midi dress from Chelsea Girl...yay!”

Memories of the venerable store will surely have been stirred afresh by news that the site on which Goldberg’s once stood now hosts Scotland’s largest hotel.

As The Herald’s business correspondent, Brian Donnelly, reported on May 9, the opening of the hotel is a significant milestone in one of Scotland’s highest-profile city-centre development sites.

“The 494-room hotel sits on the site of a famous former department store and marks a key moment in the regeneration of the area after two decades”, Brian added. “The Social Hub, part of the £300 million regeneration of Candleriggs Square in Glasgow’s Merchant City, signals a pivotal stage with the opening of the ‘UK’s first four-star hybrid hospitality location’”.

The 3.6-acre Candleriggs Square site, which is bounded by Wilson Street, Hutcheson Street, Candleriggs and Trongate, is regarded by many as the last and most important piece of Glasgow’s Merchant City regeneration jigsaw”.

The Herald: Goldberg's Santa's grotto in 1987Goldberg's Santa's grotto in 1987 (Image: free)

Goldberg’s was established by Abraham Goldberg, who had arrived in Glasgow from Dublin in 1908. His original business - buying bales of cloth and making them up into piece goods for sale to wholesalers, according to J Webster and A Young’s book, The Goldberg Story: 1908-1988 - had moved from the Gorbals to Candleriggs by the early Twenties.

The new, larger premises allowed him to move into the wholesale business and he was later joined by his sons, Ephraim and Michael. In 1938 annual profits exceeded £50,000 and the firm was incorporated and floated on the stock exchange as A. Goldberg & Sons Ltd, its success as a department store guaranteed.

The book records that a second Goldberg’s store was opened at Tollcross, Edinburgh, in 1963. In 1979 the company launched the Wrygges clothing brand. Two years later it began the Style card, an in-store credit card. In 1987 Goldberg’s added the Schuh footwear brand to its range. By the following year it had 150 stores, but it entered liquidation in 1990.

An Australian entrepreneur who was building his own UK retail network, noting Goldberg’s success as a glitzy niche fashion chain competing effectively against the big High Street names, began buying Goldberg shares until he seemed poised to make a bid for the company. Goldberg bosses kept their heads down, and expanded their Wrygges, Schuh, and Ted Baker outlets down into England until they reached London’s Regent Street.


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Unfortunately a consumer spending slump hit the South at the same time, leaving Goldberg’s with costly new outlets and a serious lack of business. The first loss in the company’s 50-year stock market history resulted. The share price plunged, and the entrepreneur began looking for a way out. This led to an unsuccessful £32m takeover bid by the London-based Blacks Leisure group.

Goldberg's went into receivership and ceased trading in 1990. In October 1995 the Candleriggs site became home to the Weisfeld store, launched by Vera and Gerald Weisfeld, who had made their fortune with the What Everyone Wants retail chain. The store closed, however, in February 1999.

In October 2022 it was revealed that Selfridges, the upmarket department store, was to open a £90m store on the site of the old Goldberg’s and Weisfeld stores. The new venture, which was to open in 2007, was expected to create around 1,000 jobs and was seen as a major coup for Glasgow, following the recent opening of Harvey Nichols’ first Scottish store in Edinburgh.

“Our store in Glasgow will be four times bigger than the Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh”, declared Peter Williams, the finance director of Selfridges. ‘’It’s a great opportunity for Selfridges. Glasgow is a fantastic and vibrant city, the people who live there are very fashion- conscious and that’s what we’re all about.’’ Selfridges paid £15.3m for the location. It was hoped that planning approval would be obtained within a year and that a ‘’world-class architect’’ would develop the site.

Vittorio Radice, the chief executive of Selfridges, said: ‘’We are delighted to have secured this site for our fifth store, and to be playing a major role in the regeneration of Trongate and the Merchant CIty. This site will enable us to construct a new and exciting landmark building alongside Glasgow’s existing architectural heritage”.

The Selfridges dream came to naught, however. In December 2004 reports suggested that the store had abandoned its plans. In 2010 it said it had no immediate plans to open in Glasgow, given the then-current economic climate.

Then in late February 2013 the company announced it was scrapping its plan to build a new high-end shop in Glasgow, almost 11 years after announcing plans to arrive north of the Border.