Frasers Department Store, Edinburgh, Scotland

J R MacKay
Date Built
1 Hope Street, Edinburgh
The Frasers department store occupies the corner of Princess Street and Hope Street with 3 bays on the former and one on the latter.

The clue to the history of the building lies in the incised letter B at the top of the corner elevation.  The B stands for Binns.  This was originally a Binns department store built in 1935 for a company founded in Sunderland in 1811 by a draper called George Binns. 

In the years that followed, Binns and his sons expanded their business often by acquiring stores in other towns.  If I understand it correctly, Binns acquired the business of Robert Maule & Sons Ltd in Edinburgh and commissioned the architectural practice of J R MacKay to give this building a new facade, one which Historic Scotland suggests was influenced by the neighbouring bank building at 3 Hope Street.

The building features a clock that protrudes above the corner entrance door.  It features a mechanical procession of pipers that parades below the clock face playing "Scotland the Brave" twice an hour.

Historic Scotland have listed the building as Category B and describe it as follows, "... 6-storey inter-war classical department store on corner site. Polished cream sandstone ashlar with bronze framing to glazing. Canted corner with single strip window to cornice level, marked by carved B, with small window above and parapet raised slightly as symbolic tower; at 2nd floor level elaborate mechanical clock cantilevered out, with appearing figures. At ground plate glass shop windows framed by polished black marble fascia. Channelled rustication to 1st floor with band course supporting giant 3-storey Doric order columns in antis above; curtain wall glazing between, divided by bronze panels. Cornice with full ashlar attic storey above. 3-bays to Princes Street, 1 to Hope Street. Bronze multi-pane casement windows."

Close Window