IN April 1961 Arnott Simpson opened the first part of its new store in Argyle Street (main image) at St Enoch Square, in Glasgow. Ten years earlier, a blaze had destroyed the warehouse adjacent to its old store.

Advertisements extolled the full range of the new premises’ goods and services: fashions, knitwear, bridal wear, model kitchens “fitted out in a fascinating variety of colours and designs”, cosmetics, hardware, china, wallpaper and paints. In the fashion department, Mr A.H. Catto was dispensing advice on ‘fashion below the hemline’.

The new store proved popular with shoppers (pictured above is an Oddments Day, in 1969), but in December 1993 its closure was announced for late February the following year.

“If buildings were people, Arnotts would be a favourite children’s auntie – the jolly kind who laughs a lot, smells of Tweed perfume and always has a bag of sweeties to hand”, Malcolm Reid wrote in the Evening Times that February. “And when the Glasgow store closes her doors for the last time this Saturday, her passing will be like a death in the family.

“To strangers flitting briefly through the city, she may appear to be just another department store ... But we must be kind to such visitors, for they never knew the undiluted pleasure of growing up with Arnotts and of running as children through her safe, familiar floors while mum fingered curtain fabrics.

“And they never luxuriated in her comforting warmth, like those same children did decades later as adults when they dragged their older, wearier bones on to her escalators in search of tea-cosies and antimacassars”.

The Glasgow Herald’s William Hunter wrote: “When another shop name goes down a stank in the plainstones, it calls for a brief gaze into its window, perhaps with a small tear in the eye.

“At the weekend Arnotts became no more. It went the way of Copland, Lye, Pettigrew, Stephens, Dallas, Muirhead, Wylie, Lochhead, Macdonald, and -- ah, woe -- Paisley. But shops come and go all the time, no big deal. One way and another, however, Arnotts had been a pavement sign for 146 years. It qualifies as an institution”.

Read more: Herald Diary