GLASGOW corset wholesaler Jacobean Corsetry, which has supplied corsets to shops across Scotland since 1946, is to close on Friday.

The shop has become a landmark due to its distinctive gold sign and its location in Virginia Street, near the tobacco lords' sale room. The A-listed property, which dates from 1817, has been named the Jacobean Building in honour of the shop.

Owner William Brown, 61, who is retiring after 28 years as managing director, said: ''I'm very, very sad to be leaving.''

Mr Brown said he hoped the shop sign would be kept, since it is known all over Glasgow and beyond. ''People come from far and wide to see it,'' he said.

In its heyday the store employed 15 people and distributed more than 30,000 corsets a year to 500 shops nationwide. Business was still booming until the late 1980s, but in recent years demand has plummeted.

Nowadays, said Mr Brown, day-to-day use of corsets has all but disappeared, except in some farming communities. Special orders now account for most business. Theatres, specialist lingerie shops and people with back problems still placed orders while artist Jack Vettriano has used Jacobean corsets in his world famous paintings. There is also a market among gay men.

Lycra has taken over, making women's lives easier and making the corset look old fashioned and uncomfortable. Made originally with whalebone and in later years with metal or plastic, corsets dramatically altered a woman's shape.

''The smallest waist size we stocked was 24 inches, but some women would tighten them to as little as eighteen. That's when they started fainting,'' said Mr Brown.

While they have been recast in a sexy image by the likes of Madonna their multiple fastenings may have been something of a passion killer.

''They take a long time to undo, by which time the man might have lost interest,'' Mr Brown said.