W Hourston Jewellers is a family run business which trades alongside our sister store Starlings in the town centre of Kirkwall, Orkney. We, Tom & Aly MacPhail, are delighted & very proud that Hourstons continues to be such a popular shop in Kirkwall, loved by both locals & tourists alike. Our son Steven joined the company in 2018 and together as a family, we enjoy sourcing Local, Scottish, UK & Worldwide companies for our jewellery, watch & gift store. We reward customer loyalty, essential in a small island community. Our Company Loyalty Card Scheme began in 2011 & now has over 5,000 loyalty card holders. Each customer as important as the next.
We became the owners of W. Hourston Jewellers, 34 Albert Street in 1991.
Read on if you’d like to hear a little more detail about our store.
In the 17th century W Hourston Jewellers was a grand Town House owned by the Sinclairs of “Essenquoy” in Holm.
At the turn of the century it was a Drapers Shop and became the property of Mr William Hourston in the 1920’s trading jointly as a jewellers and optician business.
1960 Alison’s mum and dad (Bryan and Sheila Clark) bought W Hourstons. At that time they continued to jointly trade as a jeweller and optician business. Heating of the shop in those early days was simply by 2 coal fires lit by staff every morning, imagine the dust!
By 1960 and 1970 the shop area was gradually modernised and extended to include the front arcade. The present iron gates used to be wooden doors which directly accessed into the shop with the shop floor area running to the foot of the present stairs.
This picture shows the large wooden shutters & entrance doors to Hourstons.
In 1968 there was a small fire in the building which caused considerable smoke damage to some stock.
1970 the optician business moved to Mounthoolie Lane and all of the building at 34 Albert Street became used for jewellery and gifts.
1991 We returned to Orkney and jointly ran the business until 1995 thereafter we were in sole control.
August 1998 we purchased the business of Christine Clarke’s to discover that when W Hourston’s first opened as a business, in 1844, they traded from that same property at 57 Albert Street. What a coincidence!
In 2000, the decision was made to completely refurbish Hourstons by installing new display units & lighting whilst being sympathetic to its beautiful wood interior.
This year 2020, we celebrate 60 years of our family run business and 100 years as a jewellers on Kirkwall High Street.