IT is one year since the mighty Watt Bros closed its Glasgow store.

The vast, sprawling building on the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Bath Street, pictured here in 1938, had dominated the city’s department store scene for more than 100 years.

Not as fancy, perhaps, or as grand as some of the other big-name institutions in the city centre, it was still one of the most-loved, thanks to its low prices on everything from clothing and soft furnishings to kitchenware and more.

The business began in the 1900s when Allan Watt started selling ribbons and lace. In 1915 a limited company was formed, and they moved into the Sauchiehall Street premises. After more tha 100 years, the business closed in October 2019.

This image is one of many held by Glasgow City Archives relating to Glasgow’s prestigious retail scene.

Archivist Nerys Tunnicliffe explains: “We have a large number of images of Glasgow shops such as Graftons, Trerons, Woolworths, Marks and Spencer and more.

READ MORE: Gorgeous department stores and Galloway's mince - the old Glasgow shops we miss

“As part of citywide improvement works, Glasgow Corporation’s Assessors photographed many shop fronts in the 1920s and 30s, and earlier surveys of street traffic include many shop buildings too.”

Readers with very long memories – or older relatives who may wax lyrical about the place – will remember menswear store Rowans on Buchanan Street. As this fabulous advert explains, it was the place to go ‘if you want a good gift for a boy’…

Glasgow Times:

As Nerys explains, the archives include adverts, accounts and salary books for the famous shop which opened in 1915 and closed in 1956.

“Rowans was the successor to the firm of Macintosh and Fleming, established in 1846,” says Nerys. “Rowans rebuilt the store at 104 Argyle Street around 1883 and remained independent, specialising in tailoring for men and boys. They were also known for their sportswear for golf, tennis and cricket and were contracted as outfitters to Glasgow University Athletic Club.

“In 1974, Austin Reed took over the company.”

Glasgow Times:

Another well known Glasgow shop much missed by Times Past readers is Bow’s Emporium, a wonderful old department store which opened on High Street in 1873. It was established by William Bow, and the company was incorporated in 1908 as Bow’s Emporium, which existed until 1947 when it was acquired by R Wylie Hill and Co.

One of the loveliest adverts in the Glasgow City Archives collection relates to Copland & Lye, an upmarket store known for providing the latest Paris fashions and high-quality customer service. It remained a staple of city shopping until 1975.

Glasgow Times:

And who remembers Ogg Brothers’ Drapery Warehouse, on the junction of Paisley Road West and Govan Road? Now the Angel Building, and home to flats, shops and pubs, it was once a must-go shoppers’ paradise. Send us your memories of Glasgow’s lost shops.

Glasgow Times:

The team at Glasgow City Archives - Nerys, Dr Irene O’Brien, Lynsey Green, Barbara Neilson and Michael Gallagher - are now back at the Mitchell Library. Appointments for the archives must be booked in advance.

Read more about the city collections in our fantastic Times Past eight-page supplement every Wednesday in print and online.