Gift shop Ronson lighter - Advert from The Haddingtonshire Courier 10 November 1950

The World’s Greatest Lighter and Bad Men of Tombstone

This month, we’re going back to 1950 and The Haddingtonshire Courier to look at some adverts.

Advert from Haddingtonshire Courier 17 November 1950 (Click on all photos to enlarge)

When reading this advert, there are aspects that you would never see today. Between the Lounge and the Drawingroom, there is a “Smoke room” and the fact that there is “electric light throughout” shows that this was an attraction in 1950. Note that central heating is in the “Hall and Stairway” i.e. nowhere else – each bedroom would have had a coal fire.

Advert from The Haddingtonshire Courier 14 April 1950

The advert above is for the Empire Cinema, which was located in the High Street, down the gap next to what is now a carpet shop. The Empire was a large hall, with a sloping floor. By 1950, it was still open but in decline, having been superseded by the new Playhouse cinema. As there was no television in Scotland until 1952, people still went to both cinemas, as The Empire was cheaper. You can see an amusing trailer for the Marx Brothers film here. Below the advert is a contemporary poster for the Bad Men of Tombstone film.

Advert from The Haddingtonshire Courier 14 July 1950

The Bingo Café was situated where the Post Office is now. After it closed, it became an office for Stark’s Garage. It was a very popular café, but it also sold cake and biscuits. In an interview with the late Michael O’Donnell, manager of Lipton’s shop, he stated that you could tell you were in Dodds’ café/shop by the smell of the coffee beans. Many people who were adults or children in the 1950s have said that you could have been taken into most shops in Dunbar blindfolded and you would be able to tell which shop you were in by the smell of what was sold. This has disappeared from today’s ultra clean shops with their packaged goods.

Advert from The Haddingtonshire Courier 17th March 1950
Advert from The Haddingtonshire Courier 10 November 1950

The two adverts above are for The Gift Shop which was on the High Street, where the present day Paris Steele offices are. The first advert tells of the opening of the Gift Shop in March 1950. The owners – the Leighton family – previously had another shop in the High Street but moved to larger premises in 1950. The shop became very popular with locals and the many visitors who came to Dunbar in the 1950s. The second advert is a Xmas present suggestion from the shop. Ronson lighters were quite prestigious, as the cost of the lighters in the advert shows. 50/- was two pounds ten shillings when the average weekly wage was below eight pounds, so this would have been an expensive Xmas present. In 1950, 80% of men and 45% of women admitted that they smoked in surveys done, so the actual percentage would have been higher. This is another advert that you would not see today.