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Tag Archives: 60s

1961 – Bavaria and Austria

In this instalment of the postcard collection, our writer is back in Bavaria for her annual holiday.

Updated January 2014 with a couple of extra cards.

Kurhaus Ruhpoldimg

Ruhpolding, Bavaria

23rd May, 1961

Sunday night

Have been on familiar territory again at the Kurhaus. We don’t sit at the same place so haven’t seen George yet, but we were doing all right. The Dutch girl courier is there again and came and spoke to us, so we are well in. The Kurhaus didn’t look like this to-day. It has poured since lunch time, just like the day at Caithness. They say the weather forecast is good for to-morrow, we will have to wait and see.

Was George a hot waiter?

postcard showing Traunstein, Bavaria, GermanyTraunstein, Bavaria

[day unclear] June, 1961

I am trying to number my cards but whether I do it right or not I do not know. We have had breakfast and are waiting for our train. The crossing was beautiful at first then it was terrible. I lost some of my lunch but will soon make it up, Hope you are managing.

Although I cannot make out the exact date on the postmark, the writer’s numbering indicates this is the second postcard in what I’ve got.


Water lilies

Ruhpolding, Bavaria

5th June, 1961

I know that this card is not Ruhpolding, but it looked nice. We have got the length of knowing that we go to Vienna next Wednesday. We have had a lazy day to-day, Monday looking round the shops and trying to book tours. We are sent somewhere different every time. We sat and knitted on the veranda for a while as it was showery. Hope you are doing all right at home. Still no sign of K.

Ooh, who was K?

The German Alpine RoadRuhpolding, Bavaria

7th June, 1961


To-day we have been going round all the back streets. They are just [xxxxx] but the houses are very pretty. We are getting as bad as you for looking for seats. The weather is still not good, misty and cloudy but not so cold as home. To-morrow we go to Salzburg so we will have plenty of energy. How are you doing? Fine I hope. Must get going again to the nearest café as usual.

With their occasional references to men and shopping, I had always got the impression the writer was sending these postcards to her sister. The way the last few cards have been signed off, though, give the impression the recipient isn’t in the best of health; that, and the reference to looking for seats in this postcard, make me think she is writing to someone older – her mother or grandmother.

Terrace in SalzburgSalzburg, Austria

8th June, 1961


Here we are in Salzburg. We came on the German tour. It has fired up now but the journey was very wet. As usual we are at our favourite occupation, eating. We hope to get to the castle but haven’t bought much, for a wonder! The streets are very narrow in the [xxxx], so is the café, it is a squeeze to get in. We haven’t even taken photos. Have a bash at the bottle [?] before I get back.

Rattenberg, AustriaInnsbruck. Austria

9th June, 1961


We are now in Innsbruck. The run was beautiful at first but then rain. We have been half way up a mountain but the view was spoilt by the cloud. We have lunch then go a tour of the city and then shop. It was the amateur night last night in the Kurhaus, and the [xxxxxxxx] went up to do a turn.

Pink flowersRuhpolding, Bavaria

12th June, 1961


Had a nice day although there is still not much sun, In the morning we wote cards and in the afternoon we went a run on the horse cart. It was beautiful, right into the mountains. You certainly see the scenery, we climbed (on foot) away up a path to see the waterfall, the most energetic we have been yet. Hope you are feeling fine.

House 'Feichtner', Winkl, BavariaRuhpolding, Bavaria

14th June, 1961


another very wet day. We have got most of our shopping done. I got your letter to-day and got the material, it looks nice. N.D. seems to be doing her stuff. She might have brought something with her. I have marked our window. Its upstairs but we haven’t meeded the sunshades. There isn’t any news to-day. We are getting ready for Vienna to-morrow, we start at six in the morning. I hope it is fair. I hope you are not feeling too fed up.

You might just be able to make out her blue cross showing her room against the top left window of the hotel. This hotel, Haus Feichtner, is still going today; it is in the village of Reit im Winkl on the German-Austrian border.

I wonder who N.D. was.


1960 in Bavaria

It is more than six months since I last blogged, and nearly a year since I last blogged about the postcard collection. My only excuse is that work and home life have been pretty full-on, although that’s not really an excuse – I’ve still watched plenty of crap TV.

Anyway, seeing as I work in a UK university, I can officially claim September to be the start of a new year, so my resolution is to get back on top of this blog and, in particular, to finish telling the story of our Edinburgh lady’s trips to Europe.

Postcard of Westminster Abbey, London

London, SW1

21st May, 1960

Have arrived safely in London and are waiting to eat. The train was packed and very warm, managed to doze off and on. It has been very wet here but seems calm so I’ll hope for the best. Hope you are all right.

Koenigsschloss Herrenchiemsee

Königsschloss Herrenchiemsee, Bavaria, Germany

23rd May, 1960

We have just toured this castle. It is very beautiful with mirrors and  chandeliers, crystal and china. Puts your candlesticks to shame. The weather has cheered up and we had to sail to the island We are experts at eating wedges of cake our frocks will soon not fit. I don’t think we will have time to do half of what we want. Hope you are feeling all right.

Hotel Schmied von Kochel

Kochel am See, Bavaria, Germany

24th May, 1960

We are sitting at this hotel drinking cider. This is our first stop on the way to Oberammergau. The sun is shining and we have had a lovely run. Imogen liked her birthday presents, we were up at 5.30am. She is getting off with a Swedish courier nothing like mixing the countrys. Must go now.

Imogen has accompanied her on previous holidays. 


Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany

24th May, 1960


We have arrived in Oberammergau at last. We are staying in a little house half way up the mountain so we have quite a walk but the view is beautiful, as usual our first stop is a cafe but there are plenty shops, we have still to find the  flowers [?] we should see. The run was cloudy specially at the end when we climbed into the mountains. We have seen the highest mountain in Germany, still covered with snow. It is a very nice village although we haven’t seen much of it. 


Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany

25th May, 1960


Have had an afternoon shopping, there are lovely shops but we don’t seem to be getting on very quickly. The men here have all got beards and long hair and look very wild, and you can’t tell the boys from the girls. We had dinner in a little café and it was very good. We met some Americans, the place is overflowing with them. This is the mountain we passed this morning but it doesn’t have much snow now.

St Bartholomew's Church, Koenigsee

Königssee, Bavaria, Germany

27th May, 1960

We have just been on the Königssee again, it was cloudy but quite nice. We have just been down the salt mines, we had to wear trousers a jacket and a hat and looked like something out of a harem. We went in a little train and down shutes. I can hardly sit down now. The salt is the mineral salts for curing different troubles. It is fine knowing [?] our way about.

Books: cookery (that’s the scone) and postcodes

Books: cookery (that’s the scone) and postcodes

Correction (29/12/2012): I got the end date of Previously….Scotland’s History Festival wrong. It was actually still ongoing when I wrote this post.

This weekend is the West Port Book Festival in Edinburgh, so an update on two books I bought in the West Port is appropriate. The area has some excellent book and vintage shops but also, at one end, three strip clubs within about ten metres of one another. As these clubs are where the road forks into two, it’s known locally as ‘the pubic triangle’. I lived for five years behind the biggest club, the Burke & Hare – there aren’t many people who can say they’ve lived on a pubic mound – and can readily recall the mixed odour of disinfectant and hairspray you’d smell the morning after the night before. The seediness of the strip clubs is jarring but it does, for me, act as a bridge to imagining the even darker parts of the area’s history.

Anyway, to the books. I saw this cookery book in the window of Cabaret Antiques when waiting for my dad to try, and fail, to find a pill box to buy:

Picture of Tried Favourites cook book

To be honest, I prefer old cookery books which have more information about general housekeeping (cleaning, child-rearing). We had, though, put the shopkeeper to so much trouble that I had to buy something.

This is a copy of the 26th edition of the Tried Favourites Cookery Book; this edition was published in 1963, the first in 1900. As the title suggests, it’s written as a quick reference book – no food photography or page-long instructions. In it, I’ve found a scone recipe that actually works for me: 1 lb flour, 2 oz butter, 2 oz sugar, 1/2 oz cream of tartar, 1/4 oz bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 pint milk or buttermilk.* I omitted the cream of tartar, switched bicarb for baking powder and added raisins and still produced something that looked more like scones and less like rock cakes. I think the modern recipes I’ve used have too much sugar.

Picture of a scone

From my perspective, the book’s recipes are secondary to the appeal of its adverts. One of the book’s publishers was in Edinburgh, so most of the ads are for local businesses.

PIcture of stove

Advert for Creamola custard pudding

Creamola Foam is a source of nostalgia in Scotland; this is the first time I’ve heard of the company making a custard.

Picture of advert for Farola macaroni

I have Marshall’s Macaroni in my cupboard right now!

Picture of advert for Coxs gelatine

My second book purchase in the last few weeks was from Edinburgh Books, formerly West Port Books. The shop looks a bit dilapidated – something I was concerned they’d lose when it changed hands – and the range both of what they sell and the prices they sell it at is hard to beat. When it was West Port Books, it also acted as a publisher of some fascinating facsimile editions, including West Port Murders: Or, An Authentic Account of the Atrocious Murders Committed by Burke and His Associates and historic statistical accounts and maps of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Books still sells some copies of these.

The book I bought on this occasion was the Edinburgh and Leith Post-Office Directory 1963-1964. Not one to read cover-to-cover, but very interesting to flip through if you get excited by knowing who used to live at addresses you’re familiar with – I do. If you do too, there are a couple of online resources that I’d strongly encourage you to visit:

Logo for AddressingHistory projectAddressingHistory has digitised several Scottish post office directories dating from the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and allows you to search them through historical maps.

Making Britain project logoThe Making Britain site allows you to search where South Asians lived in worked in the UK between 1870 and 1950. There are a small number of interesting Edinburgh entries.

A few other finds I’ve taken an interest in recently are:

  • The BBC Radio Scotland series Women with a Past: Juicy-sounding stories about women in Scottish history. (Declaration of conflict of interest: I came across it because I met the presenter, Susan Morrison, through my work.) I’m looking forward to giving it a go once I can find a computer that BBC Listen Again doesn’t think is in the USA. The presenter is also a driving force behind Scotland’s History Festival which has recently finished and which, somehow, I managed not to make it to any of. Next year…
  • The Sunshine on Leith Facebook group: This is often entertaining for all the wrong reasons (read some of the comments to see what I mean). If you can look beyond that, there’re excellent pictures and local knowledge.
  • The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: I’m trying to decide whether I want this for Christmas. The title makes it sound like a disposable half-hour flip-through, but some of the reviews indicate there is more to get stuck into.
  • University of Edinburgh Natural History Collections: This is open by appointment to the public and looks to have an extensive collection of parasites, among other things.

Also, it’s not new, but if you clicked on the link through to the West Port’s gruesome history and you now fancy seeing William Burke’s skeleton, pay a trip to the once-monthly opening of the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum.

* Apologies for the mixing of metric and imperial systems in this post! It’s what you get for going to a British school in the 1980s.

Business Relationship

2012 – the shopping so far

2012 – the shopping so far

I spend not an inconsiderable amount of time (and a reasonable amount of money) buying old stuff and if you’re reading this, I guess you might too. Boasting about your possessions isn’t attractive, so consider post this more of a shopping audit.

I’ve gone a bit cool on vintage fairs since my trip in the spring to Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale. I might have had a different experience if I’d arrived early in the morning, but arriving just after lunch, I felt faced with quite a lot of stuff that I personally think wouldn’t make it into my local charity shop – I couldn’t find a kilo on which to spend my £15. (I also didn’t like that business buyers got first pick before the general public were allowed in.) One vintage fair that is worth a look, though, is the Funk Fair.

It was just chance that I came across the Funk Fair – there was a sign outside one of my local churches as I walked back from Tesco on a Saturday morning. It looks like the Fair alternates across two Edinburgh locations and also does sessions in Dundee. Its traders are local and cover clothing, accessories, furniture and bric-a-brac.  There was really high-end stuff when I went, but you could also go with a fiver and still come out happy. I spent more than that, but not that much more, and came out with some experimentally-dyed underwear, a 1959 women’s magazine, a tea towel and  colourful adverts from old magazines.

Vintage underwear

Home Chat

Pictures before

Yes, I’ve worn the – PREVIOUSLY UNWORN – red pants.* They are perfect Edinburgh pants: warm (what with being massive and thick) and they hold your stomach in (for the winter comfort-eating, which goes on 11 months a year in Auld Reekie). The now-blue open girdle – style 762R from Berlei’s Gay Slant range – reduces me by nearly a dress size, but combine it with heels and you may as well just wear manacles on your ankles. The magazine pages and tea towel are now in IKEA frames and brightening up our kitchen – thank you to Rhian Wright (AKA Rhian Wright Illustration) for the idea. Finally, the magazine provided a couple of evenings of interesting bedtime reading, but my favourite part is where someone has scribbled reminders on the front about the recipes (cod with banana stuffing, anyone?) and food adverts inside.Recipe notes on magazine cover

Cod with bananas recipe

Food adverts

I really get a kick out of things which document household history, so one of my best finds this year was a copy of Better Home Making from a stall at the Meadows Festival at the start of June. The Meadows Festival is probably the closest thing my bit of South Edinburgh has to a village fête and it’s a good place to pick up old household items, books and clothes as well as a burger and some face painting. Better Home Making Image of Better Home Making bookis an encyclopaedia of almost everything you might wish to know about running  a house or raising a family if you were doing so around 1960. I paid around £3 for the book, which is slightly over the current going rate, but it provided me with some great pictures and insights for my earlier post “Single-Room Living”.

In preparation for my summer holiday in Greece, I did a bit of Ebay-ing. I’ve got an original 1950s sun dress that I wear to death in the heat – its full cotton skirt is cool and it’s not so skimpy as to make me self-conscious – so I tried to find another one like it. In the end, I opted for this white dress, which is made out of heavy linen and embroidered in blue – the embroidery was what attracted me. It was too big for me, and had quite a high neck and short sleeves  that I didn’t like, so I took the sewing machine to it. I did think twice, but the dress is fairly crudely home-made anyway, so I guessed it would probably be quite forgiving of my efforts. I made a scoop neck out of the high V (I used a dinner plate as a guide), removed the sleeves and took in the bodice, adding a popper fastening on one side (previously, the dress just pulled on over the head).  It’s not a fantastic piece of tailoring – if I was more skilled and patient, I would have added bust darts and tweaked the yoke – but it did the trick and the dress fulfilled its purpose.

A few weeks ago, at the start of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, I picked up yet more postcards, this time at a stall in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. I really can’t help myself when it comes to old postcards with messages on, but at 3 for £1, I guess there are more harmful compulsions. I’ve already written about one of them in my post “Father and Mr Thom”, so here are the other two:

Edinburgh from Calton Hill

Edinburgh 1923


13th June, 1923

Dear xxx

just arrived in auld Reekie this morning weather sunny [?] and awfully windy. expect to see Mull Tomorrow. so will have my sky and  kindest  regards to all xxx

As always, help deciphering the writing I’ve transcribed as ‘XXX’ is very welcome.

Love's Thermometer

13th August, 1910 [?]

Dinna forget your Huntly Johnnies.Love's text

yours entirely

The picture and colour on the second postcard are just great. Who were (or was?) the Huntly Johnnies?

Finally, last week, I saw something I would like to own in order to display all my shopping finds – a cabinet of curiosity. This seems to be a kind of lavish, portable museum that has been around for hundreds of years, one of which has recently been recreated by the University of Aberdeen. The Aberdeen reproduction has been inspired by the Augsburg Art Cabinet, shown here:

Augsburg Art Cabinet

The Augsburg cabinet of curiosity. Image taken from Gustavianum Museum website on 1st September 2012. Click on the image to go through to the Museum’s website for a full tour of the cabinet.

The University of Aberdeen is now loaning their cabinet out to Scottish schools so that pupils can curate their own collections of objects. What a brilliant opportunity is that?

* Gussets, like toothbrushes, should never be shared.

I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (http://CMP.LY/0/jXFZkQ).

Single-room living

Single-room living

Other projects have taken priority over the blog the last few weeks. I finally bit the bullet and ripped out about half of our kitchen, including an inconveniently placed island. Obviously, I don’t generally like to get rid of old stuff, but early-80s kitchen units just don’t do it for me (plus the doors were hanging off in places). It’s also been my ‘little’ sister’s thirtieth birthday, a board game convention (where my role was solely babysitter – I have no patience when it comes to learning rules), prep for a new intern at work, and a very good course on writing research proposals that was held in the lovely English village of Great Missenden. Oh, and I’ve been trying to get to grips (not totally successfully, but it’s all alright now) with self-hosted WordPress for our work blog.

So thank you to Her Royal Highness for giving us an extra bank holiday. I am choosing to honour our head of state by still being in pyjamas at eleven in the morning and writing to you about late-1950s single-room living.

My now-husband and I spent our first few years of living together in an Edinburgh flat that was under 300 square feet in size. As Miss Minimalist shows, this can have definite advantages, but given that many of our friends lived in the traditional high-ceilinged, bay-windowed tenements found in parts of Edinburgh, we did often attract questions along the lines of ‘How do you do/bear it?’. After a while, we were fairly ruthless with de-cluttering, and my dad and I did spend some time planning the kitchen area and bathroom to fit in what we needed, but otherwise it was just a case of cramming regular furniture into a small space.

From reading Beryl Conway Cross’ Better Home Making (George Newnes Limited,  London, c. 1960), it looks like modest living spaces were common in post-war Britain: there’s a whole section on single-room living (plus another on making a caravan your permanent home). Low housing stocks seem to have bred a pragmatic, imaginative approach, and I love this two-page spread on the Bachelor (“girl or man!”) Flat:

A one-room house

1950s bachelor (or bachelorette) flat

I particularly like the desk-stroke-dressing table, and the linen shelf that slides under the bed (not shown but described).

I also like this use of a room divider:

Room divider

Making use of room dividers

I have no idea whether anyone actually put plans like this into practice or whether, like IKEA’s storage innovations, it was a nice idea that required a little too much commitment to realise. Still, it’s a living situation many young married couples would have managed. (I remember someone once telling me that her parents thought themselves very lucky to have two rooms to live in when they started their married life in the UK in the 1950s.)

I suspect I wasn’t the only kid who had a bit of a thing for concealed beds, day beds and bed settees, so I’ve enjoyed these pictures of space-saving sleeping areas too:

Cupboard for concealed bed

It looks just like a cupboard…

Concealed bed

…but look what’s inside!

Norwegian day-bed

Norwegian day-bed arrangement


Fold-up divan

Sofa bed

Sofa bed

Day bed

Day bed arrangement

I started this post talking about ripping out part of our kitchen. In terms of a replacement, we’ve gone for some freestanding IKEA units which are sturdy, easy to install (no installation) and which blend with the rest of the existing units until we’ve time and money to finish the job. However, I did explore how realistic and affordable it would be to install something like the English Rose fitted kitchen. I decided that we’ve neither the time nor the money right now for the metal restoration that would be required, but it still seems like a good reason for a picture of what looks decidedly like an English Rose kitchen:

English Rose kitchen

English Rose-esque kitchen

Enjoy the rest of your Jubilee Tuesday! I’ll try and return to the postcard series soon.

My favourite things in 2012

My favourite things in 2012

A quick post on my favourite things so far in 2012:

Omni car boot sale

Not new, but new to me. I went because some friends had a one-off stall selling a load of unwanted clothes (they made nearly £400!), but I came back with a stack of 1960s postcards that I can’t wait to write about. Being in the city centre, I expected it to be to the traditional, shambolic car boot sale what farmers’ markets are to markets. I was pleasantly surprised: some professional sellers, but a lot of people clearly just getting rid of their junk, and a suitably dingy atmosphere complete with elbowing and jostling.

University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum

Recently, the regulations that govern access to the Museum have been softened a little, and there is now a regular opening once a month. Situated in the south of Edinburgh’s Old Town in the University’s Old Medical School, you can see the skeleton of a Victorian grave robber (now tweeting from the afterlife @BurkesBones) and fascinating death masks of famous figures. More interesting than gory, but probably still not one for the particularly weak-stomached.

Curiouser and Curiouser

Almost a cheat – more retro than vintage – but I’m saved by the fact that this shop’s window displays use the lovely old suitcases sourced by my almost-neighbour, Cupboard Vintage. Captivating prints at relatively affordable prices. I love pretty much everything they have by illustrator Sandra Dieckmann – imagination-piquing, pigment-rich and for children and adults alike – and hope bigger sizes start coming in soon.

Bunny Beloved

A shameless plug for a good friend of mine, but she’s very good at what she does so my integrity is still intact. A talented up-cycler of old stuff (see her shop on Etsy), she’s now moved into the world of illustration too. Also, don’t forget the pinnacle of her achievements – winning second place in the 1989 South Glamorgan girls’ bean bag competition.

Dear diary…

Dear diary…

For the last few months, I’ve been keeping a diary, something I’ve not done since childhood. It’s been useful in a number of ways, but there is always the thought of what someone else would think were they to read it. I live in hope that someone might enjoy it in the same way that I’ve enjoyed Blitz DiaryTalking with Past Hours and Her Five Year Diary.

Blitz Diary and Her Five Year Diary are very simple: someone has found an old diary and is now publishing its entries, day-by-day, to the internet. It’s rare that anything other than the mundane is reported, and that’s the charm. Blitz Diary is, as you might expect, based on the journal of someone (nineteen-year-old Eileen Kelly) living through the London Blitz in 1941. Her Five Year Diary brings you the 1960s life of an anonymous Seattle women.

The book Talking with Past Hours is an edited version of the diary written by a young man – William Fletcher – in the nineteenth century. It’s of particular interest to me because William lived in my home town (Bridgnorth, Shropshire, UK). Hearing him speak of houses and streets that are still here gives me greater reverence for what I usually take for granted, and William’s pleasant and often entertaining character comes through in the text.

If you fancy a read yourself:

I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (http://CMP.LY/0/jXFZkQ).

My second vintage sewing pattern…

…is all thanks to my sister. Knowing that I’d started to get the vintage sewing bug (I nagged her about finding my nan’s old Singer sewing machine for the best part of a weekend), she picked this up for me at a market stall in our home town.

According to the addictive resource that is the Vintage Patterns Wiki, this Butterick pattern dates from the Mad Men-era – the early 1960s. The Wiki describes it as:

Jr. Misses’ & Misses’ Dress & Jacket : The brief jacket tops a smart sheath or a bouffant dress. (A) Full-skirted dress with contrasting bodice, jacket to match skirt, purchased belt. (B) Slim dress shown alone, and with contrasting jacket.

 Early 1960s Butterick dress pattern

I would definitely wear either of these outfits (although the sheath dress version would probably suit my short frame better), and the 1960s UK size sixteen measures up almost exactly the same as my present-day UK size twelve – no pattern regrading required!

Pretty much the only catch is that I’ve still to cut out and sew my regraded 1950s skirt pattern from a few months ago (admittedly, life has been pretty full-on recently). I’m a devil for taking on too many things at once, so I’ll just have to sit on my hands until my first vintage sewing project is finished.

The 1910s fashion feast that is TV’s Downton Abbey is about to start, so I’ll love you and leave you for now, folks. Have a good week.

Where to buy old stuff in Auld Reekie

Where to buy old stuff in Auld Reekie

I’ve deliberated over the idea of writing a post like this on the grounds that it could be argued to be lazy and/or superficial. However, the fact remains that one of my favourite activities is hunting round charity shops and similar in the hope of finding a gem that everyone else has missed. I’ve been doing this with my mum since I was a tiny kid (when it was for necessity rather than sheer pleasure), and even if I won the Euromillions tomorrow, I couldn’t stop myself.

So, here’s my run-down of my favourite places in Edinburgh to buy vintage and the plain old and interesting:

DebRA, 27 Marchmont Crescent

This charity shop, which aims to raise money for people with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), is small but virtually always has something I want. I suspect that its location – in the well-heeled district of Marchmont and near the even better-heeled district of the Grange – could account for its quality stock. I’ve never paid much attention to the clothes here as I’m always distracted by the range of furniture, china and curios (such as 1950s-ish miniature playing cards in their own decorative case) on offer. Having said that, this morning, there was an ex-US army overcoat in there – not something you often see around these parts. Be aware that good stuff here goes very quickly.

Barnardos, 106 Nicolson Street

I have to declare a conflict of interest as one of my friends is the assistant manager of this shop. Nevertheless, I can say in all honesty that this branch of the Barnardos charity shop chain has recently upped its game as far as its vintage stock goes, with clothes being the main thing on offer. They sometimes save up choice items for special events, so keep track of the store on its new Twitter page.

Barnardo’s bookshop, 45 South Clerk Street

Usually a good selection of old books as well as modern titles, and the source of my recently-blogged about copy of Don Quixote.

Oxfam books, 204-6 Morningside Road, Edinburgh

Immediately adjacent to the main Oxfam shop (which sells clothes and household stuff, but which I haven’t much success with as far as old things go), there is a section for aged volumes. I’ve bought a few things here that I hope to blog about at some point.

Bethany Shop, 93 Morningside Road

In my experience, Edinburgh’s Bethany Shops are all good places to get furniture. However, I slightly prefer the Morningside branch over the others I’ve been to because of the usually good range of high quality stuff on offer. If you like early twentieth-century wardrobes, this is the place to keep an eye on. 

Barnardo’s, 29-31 Deanhaugh Street

Edinburgh’s Stockbridge district has no shortage of charity shops and, being the salubrious area it is, there are often some higher-end high street labels on offer. When it comes to vintage fashion, my favourite place is this Barnardo’s store. Some of the stuff I’ve seen here definitely (in my humble opinion) outclasses what’s sold by Edinburgh’s dedicated (non-charitable) vintage fashion stores.

Courtyard Antiques, 108A Causewayside

Bypass the refurbished furniture on display in the shop overlooking Causewayside and head down the side-street into the barn-like building which holds much, much more. This definitely isn’t the place for a bargain, but there is truly beautiful furniture on offer, and a lot of the items in the barn, by virtue of not having been reconditioned, are cheaper than what’s on show in the in shop. There are also all sorts of weird and wonderful things scattered among the wardrobes and tables: I’ve previously spotted a suit of armour, a completed scrapbook which had to be several decades old, World War II-era candles, and original fifties dresses.

Dedicated vintage clothing shops are notable by their absence from the above list. I enjoy browsing these but find that, given someone’s already done all the hunting for you, it’s just not quite as much fun, plus the prices are usually higher. However, I would recommend centrally-located Herman Brown for its relatively discerning stock selection and uncluttered layout. A fuller list of Edinburgh’s dedicated vintage clothing and accessories shops is given on this blog’s right-hand menu bar (under ‘Website’).

Happy shopping!

I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (http://CMP.LY/0/jXFZkQ).

Edinburgh Vintage Day | Barnardo’s and Judy’s Vintage Fair

Edinburgh Vintage Day | Barnardo’s and Judy’s Vintage Fair

There isn’t actually an ‘Edinburgh Vintage Day’, but I’m in half a mind to start a movement.  (After all, we have a festival for just about everything else in this city.) However, today has been my own vintage celebration.

First off, me and fellow blogger AnnaNotKarenina  headed to Barnardo’s charity shop on Edinburgh’s Nicolson Street, which was re-launching the vintage branch of its business today. The store definitely seemed to have more pre-1990s (my definition of vintage!) items than it has had previously, my favourite being a red velvet long-sleeved pencil dress that looked to be from the early 1960s. And if you’re a record collector, take a look at the basket of vinyl on offer.

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair

Next off was Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, which had set up camp for the day on Dalmeny Street in Leith. I had been looking forward to this for the last couple of months and was not disappointed. In addition to the ubiquitous cut-off denim shorts and ‘ironic’ jumpers (enough to clothe a sizeable proportion of Edinburgh’s student community),  there were some real treasures. I fell in love with some of the beautifully detailed make-up compacts – for me, a perfect example of vintage trumping the present day – and there was jewellery (both original vintage and up-cycled) to suit every taste.

Jewellery galore at Judy's Vintage Fair

I couldn’t quite justify (this month, anyway) spending cash on a compact that I would be unlikely to use, but did part with some pennies for a brooch to complete my outfit for an upcoming wedding:

1980s sun and stars brooch
The brooch is from my least favourite decade (1980s), and I’ve just realised it’s similar to some earrings I had as a teenager, but I reckon it’ll set off the midnight blue pencil dress I plan to wear it rather nicely.
Finally, it was time for lunch at Joseph Pearce’s at the top of Leith walk. With its posters of Kylie and Jason in their 1980s heydays, it seemed the ideal place to end our vintage morning and a very pleasant start October. 
I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (http://CMP.LY/0/jXFZkQ).
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