The Oldest sweet shop in Scotland
The Star Rock Shop was established in 1833 by David Ferguson. It still trades today from the same premises in the Roods, Kirriemuir, making it the oldest producing and continuously trading sweet shop in Scotland.
Originally a mason from Brechin, he created the sweet 'Star Rock' following an accident which left him near blinded. This unchanged recipe was then handed down the generations and is taught to each new owner of the shop.
Ferguson, unusually for the time, passed the running of the shop into the hands of one of his daughters - Jean Ramsay in the mid 19th Century. Who in turn, passed the shop on to her daughter and only surviving child: Jean "Jessie" Morrison Ramsay.
J. M. Barrie was born some 30 or so years after the shop began and like so many children do now, would have called into the shop on the way home from school for a sweet treat of the rock. In later life after he moved away we know he had sweets delivered to his address in London, it was basic ingredients that created the sweet treats, and these are the same ones used today.
During both World Wars, men received boxes of Star Rock as a little reminder of home. And in 1919, Queen Mary and her daughter stayed at Airlie Castle with the Dowager Countess and to their delight were presented with a gift of Star Rock by Jessie Morrison Ramsay.
In the 1940's the shop was sold to new owners, who are thought to be a Mr & Mrs Brown, then on to "M. Shaw" as photographed in the image below from 1965.
The past forty years has seen a few owners, including Bertrams, Milne, Kilcoyne and Paterson, all maintaining the essence of the shop, whilst making subtle improvements such as upgrading the shelving for more space.
And now it is my turn. I took over the shop at the beginning of summer 2018, and it is true to say it is everything I hoped, and more. With a chef training background and business degree, a love of food and tradition, and a supportive family, the longevity and growth of the shop is my main priority.
All Star rock recipes are passed on with each new owner, I make them today in the kitchen at the back of the shop as they have always been done. The large gas rings are put to use every few days as fresh 4.3kg batches are made and pulled by hand then rolled and shaped. The traditional flavours are Original lemon, Butterscotch, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Mint and Horehound (our "medicinal" wonder humbug). We also make tablet, treacle toffee and fudge - with a few more new additions on the way in time.
We welcome everyone through our door, and love meeting new faces along with the regulars who have grown up with the shop. Many contact us who have known the Star Rock Shop of old, heard about it or visited on holiday. Therefore as we get the chance to develop this website and an online shop we look forward to providing our traditional rock recipes through the post, along with much more too.
Liz Crossley-Davies - Star Rock Shop