Your memories: 'It was OK to wear a mink coat'

It MIGHT not be considered the height of tasteful fashion these days, but there was a time when no respectable, well-heeled lady about town would be seen without her fur coat.

Real fur was a sign of affluence and luxury, as well as a practical means of beating the chill of an Edinburgh winter.

Beryl Beattie, from Livingston, was working as a model in the late 1960s when demand for fur was still strong, even though there were early signs of discontent from animal rights groups.

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"It was perfectly acceptable for people to wear mink coats," she recalls.

"AE Bell on George Street was one of the city's main retailers. His coats were lavish, fabulous furs and the owner, Mr Clarence Mullen, used to present fabulous fashion shows at places like Hopetoun House and Gleneagles.

"One was at the Assembly Rooms, beneath a beautiful, ornate chandelier. The audience was largely ladies of a certain age who were usually the only ones who could afford one of his coats.

"Unfortunately, Mr Mullen stood up and said: 'Good afternoon. How nice to see so many OLD faces here today'.

"As soon as he said it, there was a gasp from the audience and his wife Adele came dashing forward to whisper in his ear to tell him off. To make it worse, he then starting spluttering and said he didn't mean to say 'old', but the damage was done."

Beryl remembers Dominion Furs at Church Hill in Morningside, run by the Hymans family, Parkes the Furrier at Tollcross and another fur specialist in Sciennes.

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"Dominion Furs was eventually closed not long after the anti-fur brigade got into the shop and sprayed the counter with a brown, gooey substance.

"The family decided they had had enough and it closed down.

"Now fake fur is the 'in' thing. I even know people with real fur coats they've had for years who just say it's fake rather than face being criticised for wearing fur."