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Whytock and Reid Works and Showroom, Belford Mews

25/01/2013

Whytock and Reid's 'Decoration, Upholstery, Furniture and Cabinetworks' workshop was primarily based in Sunbury House, Belford Mews, Edinburgh. The plot of land, formerly a distillery, was transformed into a purpose built cabinetworks in 1885. By 1939 Edinburgh had become the centre of Whytock and Reid activity, following the closure of other company premises, including the offices in Glasgow.

In 1934 the George Street premises were closed to make way for new showrooms and offices in 7 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. The offices were located here until 1974, when The National Trust for Scotland opened it as 'The Georgian House', as it remains today. With this move, a showroom and offices were built on the Belford Mews site.

The workshops at Belford Mews were divided thematically, with an entire floor for the cabinet makers and subsequent rooms for the French polishers, designers, painters and the offices. The entire building was heated by a single stove on each floor where the staff would commune for breaks and lunch, Eddie McGill, a painter for Whytock & Reid for 30 years, remembers 'there must have been 80 men at one time working for them . . . and there were rows and rows of cabinet makers . . . if you’ve never seen a [work]shop you've missed something . . . it's a world that's been forgotten about'.