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Past Times

When Aberdeen’s Watt & Grant department store unveiled its trendy new 1963 look

Revisit the department store's proud advert in the P&J describing its latest refurbishment and its stock of glamorous fashions.
Susy Macaulay
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Aberdeen’s top-end clothing department store Watt & Grant revealed its latest revamp to the world on this day in 1963.

It was 81 years since the store opened, having started out as an exclusive and expensive drapers for the well-heeled and fashionable.

The store, by this time owned by House of Fraser but still holding to its coveted brand identity of Watt & Grant, took out a full page in the P&J to trumpet the fresh, new look of its home on the corner of Dee Street and Union Street.

“Subtle, distinctive décor and new appointments at every turn,” read the advert.

“Departments are more spacious and gracious.

“The merchandise choice is very much greater, embracing wider collections, many exclusive in Aberdeen, by the most famous fashion houses.

Pleasing shopping

There is much to see that is new…that will make for easier and more pleasing shopping, but in now way whatsoever has the character of the store changed, ” the advert insisted.

“It retains completely the distinction that has made it ‘Aberdeen’s foremost fashion shop.'”

Lower Ground Floor

Sports attire, accessories and baby clothes were all on display at the newly refurbished Watt & Grant department store, Union Street Aberdeen.

Watt & Grant introduced a completely new ‘beautifully fitted and luxuriously carpeted’ salon entirely devoted to children’s wear ‘from the layette stage to the early teens’.

The Linen Hall was now situated below A & R Milne’s bookshop.

Ground Floor

This was dedicated to accessories —gloves, handbags, hosiery, jewellery, head squares (that ubiquitous feature of the Sixties), cosmetic and toileteries.

And there was a ‘splendid’ new feature on the floor: a china, glassware, lampshade and gift section, providing ‘an attractive background to the other departments’.

Watt & Grant’s fashion adverts to attract fashion-conscious shoppers after its 1963 revamp.

Going up… First Floor

This was the main fashion floor of the store.

“It has retained much of its former character, although the gown salon has been refitted and re-organised to include a new Frank Usher boutique—the first in Scotland!

“Coats, suits, raincoats, furs and shoes, all by makers of international repute are accommodated on this floor.”

Watt & Grant’s fashion advert from its 1963 revamp reopening.

Second Floor

Here was the underwear department, now ‘extended to the most majestic proportions, to allow a greater variety of merchandise to be displayed, and to effect the introduction of a Vanity Fair lingerie boutique, devoted to the famous range of ‘Showables.’

Wolsey Vanity Fair Showables were sold on the premise that they were ‘lovely enough for a ballroom.’

The hat department was also on the second floor “en fête with spring and Easter bonnets carrying such famous labels as Otto Lucas, Gina Davies, Aage Thaarup etc.

In case you thought Aage Thaarup was a typo. Here’s Model Anne Milling wearing one of his hats in 1963.  Image: ANL/Shutterstock

“The skirt and knitwear department with its larger floor area is showing bigger-than-ever stocks by the most famous Scottish houses… including special sections for Munrospun, Pringle and Braemar.”

Do you remember this?

For lovers of the shopping pre-internet, this sounds like heaven.  Do you remember Watt & Grant’s revamped store from the Sixties?

Perhaps you worked there and remembered the opening?

And have you still got any clothes from those glamorous days? Perhaps you even still fit them.

I would love to hear from you with your memories of Watt & Grant from those days and your Sixties wardrobes. Please contact me at

Read the full story of Watt & Grant here:

Dedicated followers of fashion: Remembering glamorous Aberdeen department store Watt and Grant

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