1676 the double tenement house situated directly behind Starlings was built.

1760 Robert Laing bought this double tenement home and in 1762 his son, Malcolm Laing, one of Orkneys most distinguished sons was born. Malcolm Laing, the historian, is famous for writing the History of Scotland books.

1805 the house was sold to Sheriff Nicolson then Robert Baikie of Tankerness followed by the Heddles of Melsetter. But it was when T.H Sclater, a chemist, purchased the house that the row of one storey shops was built – one of which is Clarkes Gift shop today. As the house is set back off the street Sclater decided to build the row of one storey shops in front of his house in order to lease the shops and use the lease money to pay the annual fee of £60 in payment for the house.


In the mid 1800’s it was where W Hourston Jewellers originally traded from before moving to 34 Albert Street

1927 It was James McDonald & Co Family Butcher

1970’s it was the Model and Business Equipment Shop owned by Ron Spears & Albert Reid, followed by the Walshes who also used the premises as a Business Equipment Shop

1982 Howard and Christine Clarke established “Christine Clarkes Antiques & Gift Shop”

1999 we,Tom & Alison MacPhail, purchased the business increasing the number of giftlines, jewellery brands , clothing companies and handbags.

2011 Clarkes Gift shop and Hourston jewellers work together using a joint loyalty card scheme, shared gift vouchers and joint gift list service.

2014 Starlings was launched as we completely refurbished, rebranded and extended!