PART II: 1900 - 1950

expanded in 1953 and again in 1978, with their Northgate furniture, bedding and carpet business being opened in 1964. Branches were established in Penicuik (1969) and in Galashiels (1972 and 1982). Robert Finlayson's sons, Sandy and Ian, joined the business in 1963 and 1970 respectively and became responsible for its running on the deaths of Alex (1970) and Robert (1982).9

There were fewer grocery shops in the town in the 1930s ­eighteen compared with twenty-five in 1867. The Co-operative Society which had came into existence in 1872 had three grocery shops, the main one at Greenside but with branches at 1 Wemyss Place and 77 Northgate. However, none of the grocery businesses listed in 1867 were still trading under their former name. Changes over the years tended to make the retailing of grocery foods easier to handle and some grocery shops were now being described as 'general stores'. Tinned foods were introduced at about the time of the First World War and in the 1930s packaged foods were becoming available. Brand-names like Heinz, Kelloggs and Ovaltine were generally known. There was some resistance by the older and more traditional townspeople to the use of tinned foods because they were believed to lack the quality and taste of fresh food, were expensive and their use in preference to fresh food was considered lazy.

The availability of fish-shops was a later innovation in Peebles. There were none in 1867 but sixty years later there were four: John Fergusson and J. M. Wood in the Northgate; Allan & Horne, in the Old Town; and Thos Turnbull, in the High Street. There were many more butcher shops in the 1930s when the town had seven compared with four in the 1860s. These were well spread around the town: Crichton and Sinclair in the High Street; M'Kenna in the Eastgate; Walker, in the Northgate; Goldie, in the Old Town; the Co-operative, in Elcho Street Brae; and Harris, in Montgomery Place.

These changes were not only indicative of more consumers in the town but also a change of diet with more fish and meat being consumed; no doubt due to the economic improvement generally experienced over the years despite the effects of unemployment. The growth in the number of confectionery shops was also a sign of changing times and consumer habits. There were certainly three confectionery outlets in 1900 but by 1936 there were twelve: Birrell, Agnes Douglas and the Premier Cafe in the High Street; M. Frame, C. S. Frame and C. Shearer in the Northgate; J. Turnbull in the Eastgate; M. & C.