Christmas 1951: Fife town claimed first ‘men only’ shopping night in Scotland

Seventy years ago this month, a Fife town became the first in Scotland to trial a ‘men only’ shopping night.

Sunday, 19th December 2021, 5:31 pm

According to the Fife Free Press, the event at department store, Beatties of Kirkcaldy, was aimed at “the shy male to make his selection of gifts suitable for and most acceptable to feminine friends.”

It provided to be a huge success - so much so that three police constables were required to manage the queues which built up outside the town centre store.

The initiative was held shortly before Christmas 1951 and promoted with adverts in the Fife Free Press and its midweek title, the Kirkcaldy Times.

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The queue outside the shop

Store owner, Mr Victoria Beattie, believed he was the first in Scotland to try a men only night after similar efforts in England had failed.

An advert said the ladies’ department would be open from 6:30pm to 8:00pm for men “to make gifting easy for those who like to choose their lady friends’ gifts personally but, for various reasons, usually leave it to others to do for them.”

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It added that a limited quantity of “fully fashioned nylon hose” would be on offer.

Advert for the men only shopping night in the Fife Free Press

And the Press reported that those items were a magnet for customers, “but once some of the male customers had overcome their initial shyness, they started looking round the store at other articles of ladies’ apparel.”

Any fears the men would hesitate from shopping alone in a store filled with ladies garments evaporated long before the doors opened.

Three police constables were required to patrol the queue which stretched some 50 yards.

When the men had the store to themselves, over 600 sales were recorded.

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