July 1858: The Royal Polytechnic Warehouses, Jamaica Street

An article from a “Local Paper” is on page two of The Glasgow Courier, on Tuesday the 13th of July, 1858, and reads:





Many who but recently were wont to resort to these extensive buildings for purposes of pleasure and healthful amusement

are induced to enter to see how the able lessee can devote the same rooms to business purposes. On entering the premises

they find that the same taste and skill which were so apparent in conducting the Polytechnic are at work in the selection and

display of merchandise. Even as seen from the street, the passer-by may guess that the occupant of these premises has a mind

and a way of his own, for in the (Jamaica) street, now the most popular business one in the city, there is something which

distinguishes it from others—and where almost every shop is conducted with the highest mercantile skill, it requires some

ingenuity to secure attention. The buildings would not have been deemed by most persons the most eligible or desirable for

trade, but under the hand of the lessee they assume new and brilliant forms. The back warehouse, once a shapeless and

ungainly apartment, is so laid out as to wear a very pleasing and even gorgeous aspect. After surveying the very pleasing

prospect which the large warehouse with its vast quantities of goods supplies, the visitor may ascend and enter the first gallery,

where are arranged the richest and rarest articles of vertu—papier machie [sic], china ornaments, &tc., at the lowest

remunerating price. To relieve the monotony of the scene, here and there stand forth effigies of some great lord or ‘lady fair,’ as

large as life, and pretty like it. No longer ago than Monday last, an elegantly dressed lady took up a toy, and, walking up to ‘Sir

W. Scott,’ asked him the price, and was not a little astonished that there was no response. The second gallery is full of engravings,

many of which are fit to occupy a place in the first houses of the kingdom. They are neatly and elegantly framed, and marked at a

figure that defies all competition. The third or upper gallery is occupied at present as a store, where the stock for every week’s

different sale is arranged. We had almost omitted to mention that besides the premises occupied as the Polytechnic, the lessee has

added one of the front shops to his ground-floor warehouse, so as to give him, between the spacious entry and shop, considerable

frontage to Jamaica Street on the ground floor. The large window of that additional shop is itself a study, and is proof of how

wide-awake the lessee is to the wants of such a community as this. There seems no indication of dull trade at these warehouses,

which, at the time of our visit, were crowded with purchasers; and the young men had a hard run to meet the inquiries and demands

of their customers. We are sure that the many who felt indebted to Mr Anderson for the intellectual repasts he provided for them in

these premises will not be slow in paying them a visit now for still most practical purposes. The arrangements for supplying customers

seem wonderfully complete and many are loud in praise of the bargains there daily secured.—Local Paper.”




The British Newspaper Archive.



George Fairfull-Smith, July 2023.