Behind Every Successful Jewellery Designer there's a Cheese and Wine Shop

Ola Gorie established her jewellery business in Kirkwall in 1960.  But her family had already been a weel-kent presence in Orkney for over a hundred years by then...

Ola Gorie graduated from Gray's School of Art as its first jewellery-design graduate in 1959, and started her own business here in Kirkwall the following year.  But the name Gorie was already well known in Orkney...

In 1859, a Kirkwall man called James Kirkness opened a wine merchant and grocer's shop in Broad Street, opposite St Magnus Cathedral.  Orkney was in the midst of an agricultural boom, and there was suddenly a demand for fine imported products such as coffee, pasta, Claret and Champagne.  James Kirkness's son John took over the business around the start of the 20th century (he's the fine moustachioed gent on the right in the photograph) but sadly he died young.  

Kirkness & Gorie, c1910

Riding to the rescue of the family business came John's sister Mark Kirkness, or Mary Gorie as she was known - having married a clerk from Stronsay called John Gorie.  It wasn't long till the shop was renamed Kirkness & Gorie, a name it retains to this day.

The family business now has three shops, next door to each other: No 7 to 9 is the home of Ola Gorie Jewellery, No 13 to 15 (James Kirkness's original shop) is now a designer clothes shop run by Ola's daughter Ingrid, and No 11 has been the new  home of K&G for the past 11 years.

Orkney whisky is a K&G speciality

The story of the wine and deli business is a long and fascinating one, and you can learn a lot about it on the shop's new website:  If it hadn't been for that century of cheese, wine and pasta, who know where Ola Gorie would be now!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.