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NewsScottish NewsPICTURE SPECIAL: Festive historic shopping archive set to go online

PICTURE SPECIAL: Festive historic shopping archive set to go online

ARCHIVE images from a top department store will be revealed to the public for the first time.

Researchers at the Universityof Glasgow have searched the country and compiled more than 10,000 images from House of Fraser catalogues, dating back to the 19th century.

A new online archive will go live on Christmas Day.

The House of Fraser archive will go online on Christmas Day

The launch of the online catalogue is the culmination of over five years of work to catalogue each record in the House of Fraser Archive, which was given to the University to manage in 1979.

University of Glasgow assistant archivist Clare Paterson, said: “We’re very pleased to be putting the catalogue online. Now, it will be much easier for people to discover what we hold within the House of Fraser Archive.

“It is such a fantastic resource, so we are sure there will be something of interest to a wide range of people; whether it is your ancestor who worked in or shopped at one of the stores, if you are interested in the development of the town where Frasers had a store, or if you simply love old fashions, there are records in the Archive for you.

“We trailed the launch of the archive with an online advent calendar which offered a different image from the collection every day until the 25th December. It’s been very popular and we’re sure the Archive itself will be a major attraction for anyone with an interest in fashion, marketing, and the social history of Scotland.”

The images chart fashions from the 19th century to the present day

Images of selected items from the Archive are included in the online catalogue including window displays, product catalogues and photographs of the stores and their staff.  These include photographs of the central hall in the Buchanan Streetstore decorated for Christmas and Christmas catalogues for Dallas’s and McDonalds, both based inGlasgow.

Gary Slattery, general manager at Frasers inGlasgow, said: “With an impressive 162-year history there are many stories, images and more that we haven’t been able to share with loyal Frasers customers.

“So, we’re delighted the archive services at the University of Glasgow are able to share the store’s history with people all over the world, thanks to the launch of their new online catalogue for the House of Fraser archive project.”

Alongside the catalogue images are photographs, like this one of the Wylie & Lochhead warehouse facade on Buchanan Street in Glasgow

In addition to hundreds of items from the iconic department store on Glasgow’sBuchanan Street, the Archive also includes pieces from other retail outlets owned by the business over the years including  Arnott & Co Ltd, Robert Simpson & Sons Ltd, Dalys, Stewart & McDonald, Dallas’s Colosseum Ltd and Wylie & Lochhead.

The University of Glasgow’s work to create the online archive was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


The archive will be available to browse from Sunday 25 December. 


Some of the images are stylised pictures
An image shows the merchandise available
An advert gives women a choice of outdoor attire
Cloche hats were in vogue during the 1920s
Recession busting prices were used to attract shoppers in the early 20th century
A hat was an essential piece of fashion in the 19th century
Some of the images go back to the 19th century
Colour photography captures the festive fare in all its glory
Previously the same scene had been captured by an artist
Wartime images warn to post gifts to soldiers early
Sock, scarves and handbags were suggested gifts in 1916
In addition to clothing the store offered hampers
Hampers featured a range of festive delicacies
This front cover reminds people of the true meaning of Christmas
More modern covers refer to a different kind of Christmas spirit
Catalogues from the 1980s remind us of fashions we'd rather forget
Shoulder pads and shiny material was in fashion
As was big hair
Older catalogues invoke memories of white Christmases
With models still looking fabulous as they engage in winter sports while wearing the latest fashions
The catalogues appealed to all markets
Prior to Christmas, McDonald's in Glasgow had an autumn sale
Stores advertised entertainment for children to entertain them during Christmas shopping sprees
Value for money was emphasised by the company
Models in the 19th century wore elaborate hair dos
While artists were guilty of "airbrushing" others
Perhaps this model is on the hunt for her own Christmas meal
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