Thomas Cullen's Shop

37 Arthur Street, Dumbiedykes


Thomas Cullen's Shop at 37 Arthur Street, around 1920

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to John Smith, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland.


Enlarge this photo

   Thomas Cullen's Shop at 37 Arthur Street, around 1920 ©




John Smith

Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Thank you to John Smith, now living in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland for sending me some photos that have been passed on to him by his Aunt Winnie, including this one - a photo of his great grandfather's shop in Arthur Street.

John wrote:

37 Arthur Street

"My great grandfather and his daughter (my grandmother) owned a shop at 37 Arthur Street and lived above the shop until 1926.

My Grandmother was born in New York in 1890.  She moved back to Edinburgh with my Great Grandfather in 1893.  I assume that is when they bought the shop.  (See also ** UPDATE below)

In this picture, are:

-  my Grandmother, Lily Cullen (standing on the left)

-  my Great Grandfather (standing on the right, beside Thomas Cullen).


"My Gran married in 1916 and had three children:


-  Winnie

-  Elizabeth (Betty, my own Mother)

They all lived in the flat above the shop until 1926 when they bought a small house in West Catherine Place which they all moved into.

Here is a photo of my Aunt Winnie, standing in West Catherine Place, around 1950.

Aunt Winnie Forsyth in West Catherine Place, Haymarket, Edinburgh  -  around 1950 ©

-  My Great Grandfather died in 1929.

-  My Uncle Tommy died in 1945

-  My Grandfather died in 1956

-  and my Grandmother in 1985 aged 95

- My Aunt Winnie continued to live in the house at West Catherine Place until she had to move into a Nursing Home in 2006.  She lived for 80 years in that house!  The house was then sold."

Old Photos

"Uncle Tommy and Aunt Winnie never married so my mum and hence I have inherited all of Aunt Winnie's old photos.  She was a bit of a hoarder and has all sorts of documents from way back (trade receipts from as far back as 1907, a funeral invoice from 1882, and photos of all sorts of people."

Another Shop

"Great Grandfather also had a half share in another shop in Victoria Road, with Messrs Lumsden.  I believe their shops went on well into the 1960's."

John Smith, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland:  July 31, 2008


37 Arthur Street

The listings in the Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directories suggest that your great grandfather may have bought the shop a little later than 1893.

The directories for 1905 to 1926 all give his address as 37 Arthur Street.  I've not checked the the directories for 1901 to 1904, but the directory for 1900 gives his address as 48 Findhorn Place.

Peter Stubbs:  March 16, 2009




John Smith

Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

John Smith also sent a photo of a shop belonging to Cullen & Co, Fruitier and Confectioner.  The shop is at No 20, but I have not yet discovered the name of the street.

Cullen & Co, Fruitier & Confectioner - No 20, but which street? ©

John added:

Cullen & Lumsden

"My Great Grandfather had a half-share in another shop with Messrs Lumsden.  It was in Victoria Street.  I believe that Cullen & Lumsden shops went on well into the 1960s.   
(See also
** UPDATE below)

John Smith, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland:  March 16, 2009


Cullen & Lumsden

Yes, Cullen & Lumsden were still listed as being in business as wholesale confectioners and tobacconists, based at 44A + 44B Lauriston Place in the 1970 edition of the Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directory.  (I've not checked later years.)

The company was first listed in Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directories.  The 1924 directory listed shops at:

-  44A + 44B Lauriston Place

-  104 Marchmont Road

The number of branches increased during the 1920s.  By 1928, they had shops in Edinburgh at:

-  44A + 44B Lauriston Place

-  104 Marchmont Road

-  1 Broughton Street

-  19 Roseburn Terrace

-  34 Grindlay Street

-  1A York Place

-  41 Dundas Street

and in Kirkcaldy, Fife, at 6 Whytescauseway.

From 1929 onwards, the general directory section of the Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directory started to show only the main address for Cullen & Lumsden, so I don't know how many more branches the company opened and closed from then onwards.

Cullen & Co

Is the shop in the photo at the top of this page in Victoria Street?  I believe this shop was jointly owned by Messrs Cullen and Lumsden, but the name above the door appears to be Cullen & Co.

I've been looking through the old trade directories, but so far I've not been able to find any Cullen & Co or Cullen & Lumsden shop at No 20 in any Edinburgh street.

Peter Stubbs:  March 23, 2009




Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Thank you to Bob Henderson who added

Early 1940s

"This shop at 37 Arthur Street was directly opposite the end of East Arthur Place.  It was still a sweet shop when I was a boy in the early-1940s, but also sold papers and was a bit of a general store

The proprietors name at that time was Curran, strangely close to the original Cullen."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  March 16, 2009




Eric Gold

East End, London

Thank you to Eric Gold who wrote:

Willie Curran

"Many thanks for that photo of Thomas Cullenís shop.

Thomas Cullen's Shop at 37 Arthur Street, around 1920 ©

 In later years, this became Willie Curran's shop.  He was a good friend of our family.  He opened a shop in the Pleasance after Arthur Street was demolished.

 I visited Willie in his shop in the early 1970s whilst on leave from the QE2.  And many thanks to Bob Henderson for nailing the location of the photo."

Eric Gold, East End, London:  March 17, 2009





Further investigation has shown that this shop was in fact at 20 Broughton Street.  Please click on this link to read more.

Cullen & Co, Fruitier & Confectioner - No 20, but which street? ©



Joe Jordan

Gracemount, Edinburgh

Thank you to Joe Jordan for leaving a message in the EdinPhoto guest book.

Joe wrote:


"I'm new to the Internet, but have had access to this site for a few months.  I love anything to do with the old Southside."

Cullen's Shop

"There is one thing bugging me.  That is, why has no-one picked up on the reference to Cullen's shop at the end of Eastie.  It can't be 37 as 37 was the stair entrance.  The entrance to the house belonging to the shop was via the stair.

I believe the Cullens took over the shop during the mid-1930s, and that they were in the shop until the newsagents at the top of Arthur Street in the Pleasance became vacant in the late-1950s.

The old shop was then taken over by Frank Alexander, some relation to the Cullens."

Joe Jordan, Gracemount, Edinburgh:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  August 4, 2010



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