University of Glasgow launches online catalogue of the House of Fraser Archive

Archivists at the University of Glasgow are giving armchair historians a seasonal gift this year with the launch of the official online catalogue of the House of Fraser Archive on Christmas Day.

Visitors to the Archive’s website will be able to discover details of the 10,000 items from the retail giant’s history dating back to the 19th century.  The Archive, which brings together records from House of Fraser stores from the length and breath of the United Kindgom, including fashion and gift catalogues, advertisements, minutes, staff records and photographs.

The launch of the online catalogue is the culmination of over five years of work to catalogue each record in the House of Fraser Archive, which was given to the University to manage in 1979.

University of Glasgow assistant archivist Clare Paterson, said: “We’re very pleased to be putting the catalogue online. Now, it will be much easier for people to discover what we hold within the House of Fraser Archive.  It is such a fantastic resource, so we are sure there will be something of interest to a wide range of people; whether it is your ancestor who worked in or shopped at one of the stores, if you are interested in the development of the town where Frasers had a store, or if you simply love old fashions, there are records in the Archive for you. 

“We trailed the launch of the archive with an online advent calendar which offered a different image from the collection every day until the 25th December. It’s been very popular and we’re sure the Archive itself will be a major attraction for anyone with an interest in fashion, marketing, and the social history of Scotland.”

Images of selected items from the Archive are included in the online catalogue including window displays, product catalogues and photographs of the stores and their staff.  These include photographs of the central hall in the Buchanan Street store decorated for Christmas and Christmas catalogues for Dallas’s and McDonalds, both based in Glasgow. 

Gary Slattery, general manager at Frasers in Glasgow, said: "With an impressive 162-year history there are many stories, images and more that we haven't been able to share with loyal Frasers customers.

“So, we're delighted the archive services at the University of Glasgow are able to share the store's history with people all over the world, thanks to the launch of their new online catalogue for the House of Fraser archive project."

In addition to hundreds of items from the iconic department store on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, the Archive also includes pieces from other retail outlets owned by the business over the years including  Arnott & Co Ltd, Robert Simpson & Sons Ltd, Dalys, Stewart & McDonald, Dallas's Colosseum Ltd and Wylie & Lochhead.

The University of Glasgow’s work to create the online archive was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The archive will be available to browse at from Sunday 25 December. 


For more information contact Peter Aitchison in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 3535 or

Notes to Editors 

The House of Fraser Archive is managed as part of the Scottish Business Archive by University of Glasgow Archive Services.  The Scottish Business Archive, one of the largest dedicated business archive collections in Europe, is an internationally important collection of business records covering the whole of Scotland and beyond, dating from the 18th century to the present.  The collections within the Scottish Business Archive reflect the contribution and breadth of activity that Scotland’s business, industry and enterprise has made, and continues to make, to the world economy.



First published: 23 December 2011