John Gibson: A blooming shame to see them go

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So sad to see St Mary’s Street lose an uplifting splash of pavement colour with the closure of Willamsons, the florists on the corner. They’ve decamped to their Corstorphine branch, with a year of their ten-year lease to run and unwilling to renew that lease on the city council’s terms.

Says managing director Jim Williamson: “It’s a sign of the times, I suppose. Every retailer on every high street is having to adapt to them but we’ve always paid our rent up front and on time and I do feel the council could have been more considerate.

“Fortunately we’ve been able to accommodate all our staff at Corstorphine. I believe we are the oldest established shop there.”

Williamsons, with branches in Dunfermline, Broxburn, Bathgate, Linlithgow . . . it goes on . . . have been a flower power for what seems like an eternity. Like I say, a real shame they’ve departed St Mary’s Street, leaving in their wake what, the council promised, was to become a jewel in the Old Town’s crown. Instead, more then ever, it’s looking rather sorry for itself.

Another well-known florist, Thomas Maxwell, in Castle Street, migrated to Abbeyhill last year for similar reasons.

So much for our caring council. Our City Fathers and Mothers have sent countless retailers and other businesses to their graves. Gets to the stage when we’d like to see them at their own funeral. No flowers, please.

Afterwords . .

. . . actress Nanette Newman was 78 on Tuesday and I fear I forgot to send her a card. But her carrot cake is unforgettable, served to me and to her actor/writer/film director husband Bryan Forbes at their Fulham home.