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A Scottish perspective on interwar shopfronts
The interwar period was a time of rapid change. Despite the economic and political difficulties of the time, shopfronts were transformed from the traditional styles established in the Victorian period to sleek, shiny Art Deco frontages. Shopkeepers, inspired by brave architects and enthusiastic shopfitters, embraced the re-fronting of their premises in bronze, Vitrolite and terrazzo. These materials, now 90 years old, were not, however, designed to last. A lack of available materials, high cost of repair and a poor understanding of their significance means that these shopfronts are highly vulnerable to loss and inappropriate alteration. This paper explores the historic context, materials and issues with their conservation and repair.
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Lindsay Lennie MRICS, IHBC, has an undergraduate degree in geography from the University of Durham. Lindsay spent several years working in the public sector as a chartered surveyor before taking the RICS Postgraduate Diploma in Building Conservation at the College of Estate Management. She subsequently completed a PhD at Heriot-Watt University in the conservation of historic shopfronts in Perthshire in 2006 and was then awarded a three-year research fellowship with Historic Scotland researching Scottish shopfronts. A book, Scotland’s Shops was published in 2010 from this research and the HES ‘Short Guide on Traditional Shopfronts’. In 2009, Lindsay set up a consultancy, Historic Shop Conservation, which is now in its 10th year. Lindsay works with communities, local authorities and other organisations working to conserve traditional shopfronts and to improve town centres. She also has a strong interest in ceramic tiles and has published articles on the Scottish tile firm, James Duncan Ltd.