The phrase end of an era is bandied around a lot, used to describe everything from the closure of a popular restaurant to a footballer’s retirement.
The House of Fraser shutting up shop on Princes Street genuinely deserves that billing, or more accurately the end of 120 years of a department store operating on that site. Generations of Edinburghers have fond memories of meeting at Frasers, or Binns as it was before, for a cuppa and catch-up in the cafe.
The fate of the landmark clock in any refurbishment will be keenly watched. “Under Binns clock” has long been a popular meeting place for couples meeting up before heading into town.
The move seemed inevitable as the shopping epicentre of Edinburgh shifts to the east end and the kind of large, openplan shops where we do most of our off-line shopping.
Food and drink looks likely to play an increasing role in the future of the West End. With probably the best views from any high street in the world, it is in many ways a natural spot for eating out.
That, however, doesn’t sit so well with the traffic-clogged street outside. Do you want to sip your cappucino at the bottom of Lothian Road? Will the change of use add to calls for more pedestrianisation?