Shops and Dwellings

Kidd’s Buildings, Cockburn St

Thomas Kidd, blacksmith, owned a large piece of ground on the south side of the High Street where he had his smiddie.  In the late 1920s Falkirk Council acquired part of this in order to insert a new bypass road from the High Street to the south and this became Cockburn Street.  Kidd decided to invest the money that he had received in a long block of houses and shops fronting the new street to be known as Kidd’s Buildings.  J G Callander drew up plans and in July 1936 they were passed by the Dean of Guild Court.  Work began at the end of the year and was progressing well with Kidd taking a keen interest in the building operations, but on 30 May 1937 he died.  The first shop tenant moved in in April 1938. 

The postal addresses for the buildings are 2-20 Cockburn St and 7-11 Chapel Lane.  It dominates the west end of the town by its unique character, notably the graceful sweeping curves onto the street front and the bowed southern end.   It is of two storeys but its sheer length and horizontal lines makes it appear sleek. The facades are finished in cement render with two broad bands acting as a string course and emphasising the layered nature of the design.  A pedimented top with engaged columns occurs at the north end, housing two doorways with slightly projecting canopies.

This was a time of incredible growth in the retail sector and there was a great demand for modern (hygienic) shops.  The shops at Kidd’s Buildings were soon occupied and in the first year the tenants included:

  • Stirrat Brothers, florists and fruiterer, moved from 5 East High Street.
  • A Finlay, tobacconist, fishing rod and tackle maker, moved from 3 High Street.
  • Janet F Dobson, chiropodist, moved from 37 High Street.
  • Falkirk and District United Co-operative Society Ltd bread shop moved from the west end of the High Street.
  • J Montgomery, ladies’ and children’s hairdressing saloon opened.
  • Heanie opened the New Antique Shop.
Illus: The northern end of Kidd’s Buildings.

Cockburn Street Buildings       SMR 1475       NS 8856 7999

G.B. Bailey, 2021