Jenners: An indestructible Edinburgh institution

SET up by Charles Jenner in an attempt to smarten up “unfashionable” Edinburgh women, Jenners has been a Princes Street institution since 1838.

Jenner, who worked at the Waterloo Place drapers of W&R Spence, was sacked with his friend Charles Kennington for taking a day off to go to Musselburgh races.

The pair started the business, and at first money was so scarce Jenner had to sleep on an undercounter mat.

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The current landmark building was built in 1895 after a fire destroyed the original building three years earlier, sustaining losses – at today’s prices – of well over £10 million.

However, Jenner had insured his business with 23 separate companies and was trading again within weeks.

Kennington died in 1893 and worker James Kennedy became a partner in the business. His descendants were the Douglas Miller family, who owned the business until the sale to House of Fraser in 2005.