Walking up the main street of Ayr I am amazed at the number of empty shops making this very old and one time influential town like a ghost town.
Looking at some of the old pictures of the town you can see a lot of shops which were individually owned and not part of any large combine. Now I am sure that a lot of these old shops including those in Girvan have tales to tell which could make you feel nostalgic.
The ladies dress shops of old would have been full of finery, with long dresses of the finest materials, none of your polyester or nylon in those days. On top of which each dress shop would no doubt have a seamstress on hand to cover any minor alterations that may be required. Naturally, whilst their wives were in the dress shops, the men would have availed themselves of a local hostelry, of which there were many, thus everybody was happy. To keep ahead of the competition these shops and hostelries would have to produce the merchandise and service likely to attract a return visit. However the range would cater for all pockets, the quality shops out to accommodate the well filled pockets and the market stalls out to provide for those less well off.
Looking at an old picture of Ayr a number of the shops had awnings out at the front shielding window shoppers from the sun or the rain. Girvan had much the same and being a seaside resort had a proliferation of ice cream parlours. If only we could bring back some of those shopkeepers of yesteryear I wonder what their reaction would be.
You would no doubt see their ghostly forms tut-tutting along the street amazed at the prices being charged and the goods being sold. In many cases in their day cash would be transported along a shute to the cashier who would send a receipt with the change back. Nowadays we have computerized tills which deal mainly with credit cards. Woolworths prior to and during the second world war had a limit of six old pennies on all their sales, I suppose the nearest thing to that nowadays would be the £1 shops.
Well times change, but it is nice to look back and thankfully there are some shops that still carry on more or less the same trade as of yesteryear. Have a look and see if you can spot them. If we could go back in time, would we like the less frenzied way of life, no computers or internet, mobile phones, or perhaps no phones at all. Kids playing safely in the street usually football with a tanner ball?. A totally different way of life. Think about it,