Mr James Erskine started his career as a joiner later becoming a house furnisher. In 1919, he opened the shop you can still see today at Church Hill Place, Edinburgh. Soon after opening the shop Mr Erskine expanded the business by adding a joinery shop in Colinton Road.
In 1946 Mr Erskine sold the company to Mr David Cessford Laidlaw, a master cabinet maker, who took over the shop on Church Hill Place. Mr Laidlaw expanded the home furnishings business to include upholstery. By this point, the business included a small showroom at the front of the shop where occasional furniture was displayed, a sewing room at the back where the curtains were made and a small office where the accounts ladies would work. In total, there were seven staff in the shop and another seven or eight joiners and upholsterers who worked in the homes and business in Edinburgh. In those days, the upholsterers were also sewers, carpet fitters, curtain fitters and could lay a floor. Today these are all very different skilled professions.
A champion cyclist Mr Laidlaw would cycle at least once a week from his home in Cramond, Edinburgh to Galashiels in the Borders to play rugby. also a keen badminton player, he went on to play top class badminton as part of the team travelling to Australia. He later became Convenor of Scotland. Sadly, his passion and love of sport did not prevent his affliction of arthritis in later life.
In 1980, his son Norman Laidlaw opened a new company called Laidlaw Contracts which offered services to the restaurant and bar trade. Mr David Laidlaw’s trip to Australia in 1982 was to be his swan song with his son Norman Laidlaw taking over the business. Now in new hands, the business went on to double its turnover in both the first and second year. The workshop moved to new premises, and the shop was refurbished to be a retail shop where customers could browse and buy.
Growing quickly during the property boom years in Edinburgh, the company soon had a strong team of fifty staff members and several properties across the city. Unfortunately, following the boom, came the bust. James Erskine Interiors and Laidlaw Contracts worked hard to survive and succeed during those tough years, thanks in part to their strong brand and loyal customers. Now growing once again, James Erskine Interiors and Laidlaw Contracts continue to provide a first class service to their customers, and deliver quality and good value for money.
James Erskine Interiors support Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity
James Erskine Awards
James Erskine Interiors is the winner of a Green Apple Award 2012.
James Erskine Interiors is the winner of a Green Apple Award 2013.
James Erskine Interiors is the winner of an International CSR Excellence Award 2015.
James Erskine has been rated as “Strong” in a new analysis of the UK’s 871 largest Furniture Retailers.
James Erskine Interiors is the winner of Best Hospitality Refurbishment Company- Scotland 2016. James Erskine Interiors is the winner of Most Outstanding Interior Furniture Retailer-Global Excellence Awards 2017 James Erskine Interiors is the winner of Best Interior Furniture Retailer 2017 UK – CV Magazine Small Business Awards 2017
What does the future hold?
Still owned and managed by Norman Laidlaw, both James Erskine Interiors and Laidlaw Contracts continue to serve the homes and businesses of customers throughout not only Edinburgh and the Lothians, but Scotland too. The shop in Church Hill Place, James Erskine Interiors, has just been refurbished and now features a new range of furniture designed for the new homeowners of today.
Meet Our Team
Norman D Laidlaw MBA
Brenda Macartney CA
Zeina Abu Ragheb
Next and 4th generation coming up
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