About Us

We, Aly & Tom MacPhail, became the owners of 57 Albert Street in 1999 when Starlings was known as Christine Clarkes. We rebranded, extended, refurbished & relaunched as Starlings in 2014. The name ‘Starlings’ was chosen as the people of Kirkwall parish were traditionally known collectively as "Starlings/Stirlings".

Orkney is a great place to live, work and shop & we feel Starlings reflects & celebrates island living. 

Thank you for choosing to shop with us.

Read on to gain a little more detail on Starlings History

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

In 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.

In 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 our sister store W Hourston Jewellers originally traded from before moving to 34 Albert Street

In 1927 It was James McDonald & Co Family Butcher

In the 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

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

In 1999  We purchased Christine Clarkes increasing the number of giftlines, jewellery brands , clothing companies and handbags.

In 2014 Starlings launched when we completely refurbished, rebranded and extended!