A trip with a purpose down memory lane

ARBROATH has seen a lot of changes over the years, and while the High Street area hasn’t necessarily seen many physical changes, it has seen many a change of business.

Looking at the High Street past and present, some businesses have been around for decades, others are long gone, becoming a dim and distant memory. Some are a familiar name to the younger generation, others only recognised by those of more senior years.

In the 1960s, Yule’s newsagent opened in what is now Haq’s, Pert’s opened a fish shop at 244 High Street, Lipton the grocer and William Low’s opened, followed later by Coopers. The High Street also saw the addition of Lowden’s in this decade.

Such eateries as The South Sea Chinese restaurant, Café Gibson, Café Kit Kat, Kidd’s Café, The Golden Haddock and the Light Bite provided the townsfolk with places to fill up and catch up with friends. This decade also saw the closure of such places as Joe Berries Barber Shop and the Oriental Bar which was demolished and provided the land which is now home to the Scottish Hydro Electric Shop.

The ‘70s saw the pedestrianisation of the High Street between Kirk Square and Lordburn. It also saw the opening of the Arran Bar and Heather Lounge in premises formerly occupied by Café Gibson and Elena Mae’s photographic shop came along. Cargill’s Sweet shop expanded to add a restaurant providing food in the town alongside other eateries like Wimpy and Rendezvous Café.

Chita Brothers and The Wishing Well also provided Arbroathians with a place to buy both clothes and greetings cards. The Alliance Building Society also opened its doors in the town during the 70s. One of the last two remaining cinemas in the town, The Picture House, closed down during this decade

In the 1980s businesses such as Scotties, Fastburger, the Mandarin Palace, Argos, Arbroath Video Library, Halifax Building Society and Grace Patterson opened. However, on the downside, well established businesses such as the South Sea Chinese restaurant, Arnotts, House of Fraser and R.S. Cargills closed. Arbroath also saw its first ‘shopping centre’ which, over the years, would see businesses such as clothes shops, a café, a sports shop, card shops, travel agency, Post Office, electrical shop and grocers to name but a few.

The ‘90s brought the opening of Iceland frozen foods, The Curtain Track, China Corner, Connelly and Yeoman, Holland and Barrett and Kute Kids. John Menzies, located on the opposite corner to where it started life, became WH Smiths.

The nougties gave us Irene’s Lingerie, Sugar and Spice, Seven Café and Outdoor Action amongst others. Closures included Haddows off-licence, Scotties, Wrights Café Bar and more recently, Birthdays/Thorntons and of course Woolworths.

This brief stroll down memory lane will provide some readers with food for thought and the opportunity now exists for residents and tourists alike to express their views on the town’s facilities.

The Arbroath and Area Partnership is a community group which brings together public, private, business and voluntary sectors to work in partnership to improve the Arbroath area.

One of the projects that the Partnership is currently working on is the regeneration of Arbroath town centre through the Arbroath Town Centre Regeneration Group. The group is working hard to deliver an innovative package of redevelopment to attract more visitors, help existing traders to flourish, encourage new business to the area and invigorate the town centre for the benefit of the local community.

To access the survey, go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BBF96YL or alternatively, you can also access it on www.angus.gov.uk/publicconsultation.htm