This film is part of Free

Out for Value

Join the ladies who lunch for a spot of 1930s-style retail therapy at Aberdeen's premier department store.

Advert 1931 18 mins Silent


Join Mrs Mackenzie, "a worthy citizen of Aberdeen", for a spot of 1930s retail therapy at Isaac Benzies department store - not visibly suffering in the depression era. With the kiddies left to their own devices at the Toy Fair, the ladies enjoy a coffee before going in search of fancy goods and finery. Mrs Grant has her hair marcel-waved at the in-store salon and even takes a bath! Hubby shows up in time to take tea and pick up the tab.

This neat fiction was commissioned by Isaac Benzies to show off the store's superior range of goods and services: garage parking, amusements for the children, fine restaurant (complete with white linen tablecloths and resident jazz band), modern hair salon and private bathing facilities. It's a fascinating insight into middle-class lifestyle aspirations, and contains some intriguing details - an utterly terrifying-looking hairstyling aid and a wonderful pneumatic-tube cash system. Isaac Benzies was a family firm and hosiery specialist based in Aberdeen's George Street. The store was later taken over by House of Fraser Ltd, trading under its own name until 1972, when it was renamed Arnotts. It finally closed in 1986.