Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Tincture of Finlay Mckinlay


I’d a couple of errands to run over in Glossop this morning. As I drove over the hills I saw the helicopter plying to and fro taking materials up on to Kinder, we’ve taken a look at that before.

Business attended too, I had a chat with the pigeons in the square, of which there were many.

Finlay Mckinlay 6-1

I thought I would take some shots of the old chemist shop in the centre of town, it has been there for ever. Oh dear.

Finlay Mckinlay 5-1

I reckoned you might have liked to take a look at the very splendid sign, a  royal warrant, that hung over the door. But it has gone, along with the shop. A passer by seeing me taking photos stopped to tell me the sign had been saved for prosperity, but she wasn’t sure where it would be displayed; and look I found a photo of it, I can see where all those pigeons have been roosting. She also said that the shop front was listed. Obviously the interior wasn’t. It had been gutted. It doesn’t take much imagination, looking at the plaster work to imagine what the shop fittings looked like, nor that  they would sell for a pretty penny.

Finlay Mckinlay 2-1

A panel of etched glass survives

Finlay Mckinlay 1-1 

Trading as Chohens (a chain of chemists) for the last few years, it had previously been in the hands of Finlay Mackinlay and his decedents for generations (there’s a book about it)

Finlay Mckinlay 3-1

This mosaic floor reminds me of the one I spotted in Sheep street in Skipton. Look at the craftsmanship, the ‘block shadowing’ of the text, I wanted to brush away the leaves and ‘mop it out’ (I’m forever a shop keeper!).

I’ve mixed emotions when I see things such as this, as someone who left retail ten years ago, because I sensed a decline, and that to earn a living would get harder and harder by the year, I can’t be to critical of others,   whilst the saying goes that ‘nostalgia sells’ it’s not enough to pay the rent and the wages bill. I read that the chemist is moving into or next to the doctors surgery, and what parent of a poorly baby wouldn’t want to get to the doctors and pick up the prescription and get off back home with out trekking with sick child to another location to have the prescription fulfilled. Finlay Mackinlays has reflected on grander days.

Finlay Mckinlay 4-1

Planning permission has been granted (after appeal) for the building to become a betting shop. Sigh.






Finlay Mckinlay


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

12 thoughts on “Tincture of Finlay Mckinlay

  1. A fascinating, but somewhat poignant, post about a passing era. To replace it with a betting shop is a sad reflection of the world today, and as for comments like this I despair! xx

  2. In the current economical climate I too despair at such a historical gem being replaced by a betting shop.

  3. Like you, I can see both sides of the question: we cannot keep everything old, even if meritorious, and a balance has to be struck. When the scales go against preservation, however, we cannot but be sad because there is an irreparable loss. It’s a pity that English Heritage, having accorded listed status to the exterior, could not have extended this to the interior. Gutting the shop, even if approved by the Council, is still an act of egregious vandalism. Many businesses manage to live harmoniously with an antique interior.

    Did the residents of the town organize a campaign to save the premises? If not, why not? If so, why did they not succeed? Loss of heritage, like accidents, doesn’t just happen: it is caused. If we are not prepared to defend what we consider valuable, then we deserve to lose it.

    • I’m not sure about a campaign, to be honest I’ve enough on my plate trying to keep up with my own towns campaign. unfortunately I think in the current economic climate peoples campaigning energies are being focused on preserving ‘essential services’ the tragedy being that other things slip by into oblivion without a fuss…

  4. I also meant to say that I very much like the picture of Victory tossing her frisbee just as the pigeon lands on her other outstretched arm.

    So kind of early 20th-century sculptors to provide these bronze trees for the pigeons to perch in! We have a similar one near us in Spa Green Garden (Islington). The pigeons are most appreciative (and so, by extension, am I!)

  5. oh shame about the betting shop – I was just thinking it would make a lovely cafe with all that detailing. At least you can’t by a cup of coffee and a bun over the internet yet…

  6. It is sad, the demise of the high street shops. I’m still mourning the loss of Woolworths – it seems I must have been a select few who shopped there often. But this wonderful building you describe – well it is just so very sad that it will be gutted and turned into a betting shop. I thought people were betting on the internet these days? I wonder what will become of shops in the next twenty years. It’s not something we can predict with any sense of certainty or familiarity. I love little old market towns, but so many of their independent shops are disappearing and in come the charity shops, Starbucks, Poundland, etc. Oh dear! I sound like a very grumpy old woman – well, I guess I am.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    And thank you for visiting my blog today. I will go see your friends blog. If allotmenteering is as hard as adoption – oh my! I’m in for a double whammy. (We’ve already done the adoption …)
    Wishing you happy days,

    • I’m with you on the grumpy old women vibe, I’m hoping an improvement in the weather will lift my mood any day soon. I’m spending far to long ranting about things, it is affecting my quality of life!
      I imagine in some areas of the country there are still small pockets of communities that aren’t into doing anything ‘on-line’ and prefers to have cash rather than plastic in their pocket, I’d give an odds on favourite that Glossop is one of them.
      I was in Macclesfield the other day and I was horrified by the demise of its high street, it looked like it had teeth punched out of its smile. Sad and I think we’ve passed the tipping point.

  7. I’d love to have free access to places like this to do some documentary photography. But I’ll give you 10-1 that I’ll never get that chance.

  8. Pingback: Selling Snake Oil | Uphilldowndale

Come on, join in.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s