A lament for the loss of Jenners – Bill Jamieson

How Edinburgh is changing. A hotel block? Oh, no, not another one! Such was my reaction to the Evening News scoop this week on the plans for the Jenners store on Princes Street.

Jenners, pictured here in 1971, is set to move from its iconic Princes Street location

Scotland’s capital once prided itself on being a city of wonderful architectural heritage with a few hotels on the side. Now it’s a city stuffed full of hotels, squeezing its heritage.

It’s already looking like Premier Innville. How many more hotels can we take?

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I do lament the demise of Jenners – the food hall, the rummaging sales, the clothes and tableware, the professional shop assistant service.

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Almost every time a friend or relation from down south came to visit us in Edinburgh, a trip to Jenners was near the top of their list.

How is it that London can still have its Fortnum and Mason and other cities still sport an iconic store, but we have let ours slip away to House of Fraser and Sports Direct? How have we let this happen?

Jenners, for all its winding staircases and higgledy-piggledy layout, had all the appeal of Emile Zola’s The Ladies Paradise – a wonderful novel on the rise of department store retail.

Jenners was too often sneered at as the redoubt of the fur-coated ladies of Morningside, the go-to destination of the Posh in Perth. But it pulled in many visitors to the city and was the first stop for the classic but stylish gift.

I once went to Jenners to buy a shirt and came out with a hand-carved Indonesia footstool. It carried an eye-watering price but almost two decades later still has pride of place in our home.

Now it is to be replaced by yet another hotel.

Allow me a Last Hurrah for a great retail style that has gone.