Tain Museum Image Library

The Chocolate Shop
Tain Museum Image Library
The Chocolate Shop

This was taken outside the Chocolate Shop, which my grandfather Leo Pieraccini ran, in 1932, and from left to right the subjects are;
Peggy Shearer; Hugh Duff; Nellie Findlay with Ida Donnachie; Leo Pieraccini; Bobby MacLean; "Jumbo"; Andrew Gardner the Chemist.
Picture added on 08 March 2005
My grandfather Leo Pieraccini had the chocolate shop for 50 years till he died in 1978.
Added by Katherine Donnachie on 11 April 2005
The lad to the far right of this photograph is indeed my father Andrew Fraser Gardiner who died in January 1972 at the age of 55. As Dad was born in December 1916 this would have put him about 15 years of age! and still in short pants! I remember both Leo and Peggy very well and Davie Peters and Geordie Forsyth as I spent happy times in the cafe as a teenager drinking cokes bought for me by my dear uncle Wallace Benson (Mum's brother) Leo had Citroen cars which fascinated us all as they 'went down' when the engine was swiched off. Is the Hughie Duff in the picture the infamous Hughie who never joined up during WWII and who latterly worked for Urquhart's the Butchers? I will be retiring in 2006 and intend to have a good sort out of all my old family photos dating back to the 20s and 30s and moreso the 60s when we four Gardiner girls were growing up.
Added by Vi Symons nee Gardiner on 13 November 2005
I really enjoyed looking at this photo, everyone I speak to has fond memories of the Chocolate shop. It's nice to see photos of the family. The chocolate shop is now the Bookies there's been a lot of work going on there recently but I think it's open for buisness now.
Added by Claire Pieraccini on 21 June 2007
Great picture, it brings back fond memories. My first ever ice cream soda. I was very sad to see it had gone when I visited Tain last.
Added by Pat Fraser on 22 August 2009
I remember going down on a Saturday morning to spend my pocket money at Pieraccini's in the 1960's. My granny was Margaret Davidson of 6, Ross Sreet and I remember she was friends with Andrew Gardiner. My dad was Alistair Davidson and his brother, Allan was the saddler in Tain.
Added by Lizanne Longmuir on 14 September 2009
I'd like to get in touch with Lizanne Longmuir as I remember her grandmother and uncle Allan. My grandmother Agnes Gardiner, Andrew's mother visited Ross Street at east once a week.
Added by Vi Symons on 18 September 2009
What a great man Leo was. Being from Edderton, Leo used to give me and my mates a lift to Tain. At the 30mph zone he used to switch his engine off and it used to free wheel up to the Cchocolate Shop. Leo was allways taking home movies Does any of his grandchildren know what happened to them? Being a bit into photography I would love to know.
Added by Roddy Matheson on 27 September 2009
The museum has a copy on video cassette of some of Leo's movie films.
Added by Margaret Urquhart, Tain & district Museum on 29 September 2009
Roddy- I am putting all the local films my grandpa shot onto DVD; the museum has most on video as margaret said, but there is some more which i'll send them when i get it done! I didnt know he "Frewheeled" into tain- the devil!- he used to do that in edderton coming down from balaharn though!
Added by Paul Donnachie on 29 September 2009
I bought the flat, 6 Lamington Street in 2009 and have completely renovated it. I found inscriptions on the walls, under the wallpaper, "Pieraccini Bros May 1931" To see pictures of the work please go to www.tainflat.co.uk. It was clear during the work that the staircase which now leads up from the main door between the two shop fronts was a later addidition. There where blocked up doors over it, which would suggest the original staircase was curved, leading to a hallway where one or other (most likely the chip shop) is now.

Added by Barry Turner on 05 December 2009
The woman with the child in front of her is my late aunt Nellie Finlayson, nee ( Findlay) who passed away in 2000; her father worked at the railway station at Tain, Wm Findlay Snr who lived with his wife Alexina and family members at Railway cottages.
Added by Brian Findlay on 16 February 2010
Anyone know about "the infamous Hughie"?
Added by Hugh Duff Eaton - Ashburton, New Zealand on 18 February 2010
Andrew Gardner's mum and my granny, Mrs Davidson of 6 Ross Street, were close friends. Andrew was ages with my own father, Alistair Davidson, who left Tain for Glasgow in 1937. Pieraccini's was ALWAYS my first port of call when holidaying at my granny's in the late 50s and early 60s, and the welcome you'd get from the jovial mustachioed italian looking man was something I always looked forward to. It was in Pieraccini's that I first heard Elvis-played on a jukebox in the cafe through the back. Wooden Heart it was.
Added by Allan Davidson on 17 August 2010
Have just realised that I put Uncle Wallace instead of Uncle Lawrence in my comments posted in 2005. Shame on me!
Added by Vi Symons nee Gardiner on 04 September 2010
My earliest recollection of the Chocolate Shop was waiting at the foot of Ross Street for Heckie "Doughtnut" to take me across the street into the Chocolate Shop and buy a chocolate baby for me..

And Violet, Lizanne and Allan I still remember baby sitting you all
Added by Alix Husain nee Tulloch 9th September 2010
Added by Alix Husain on 09 September 2010
What a great photo ! I loved the chocolate shop.
Paul / Katherine, long time no see. Leo ran a great business and the town is all the poorer for it's demise. All the old local stores seem to be headed into history which is very sad. Dingwall the same last time i was there. My mum still bides in Tain. I get there as often as i can. I'm working in Gran Canaria at the moment and hope to be home for Christmas. I saw a certain Miss Evans name mentioned on the site. Margaret, if you read this, glad to know your fine and it was a privelige to be one of your pupils. TTFN, Cheeries, Graham Marshall
Added by Graham Marshall on 24 October 2010
Greetings to you too Graham. It is nice to hear from former pupils and know that they are doing OK. I stopped teaching back in 1989 and for most of that time have been doing much volunteering work including museum related stuff, and generally enjoying life.

Added by Margaret Urquhart, Tain & District Museum on 26 October 2010
Nice to see the Chocolate Shop as I knew it as a child. Ii used to visit very regularly to spend my pocket money and sometimes with my mother & father on a Saturday night for chips after the pictures and catch the bus back to Tullich farm. My aunty also stopped there a lot as she was a c lippy on the buses with Angus Ferguson or Angie as he was known from portmahomack. My name is James Horne and my mother is Margaret and my father Donald Horne and my aunty " Joey Skinner".
Added by James Horne on 03 January 2011
does anyone have any information on the basements in front of this building?
Added by Frank on 28 November 2011
Surprising that everyone has called it The Chocolate Shop or Pieraccini's but in my days we all called it Per's, My memories from the 60's was the cafe through the back of the shop with the juke box and the great coffee. Who needs Bookie shops bring back the good old days.
Added by Peter McDermid on 28 January 2012
Just out of the picture to the left is the steep staircase which led down to the original chip shop. I remember being sent there for two bob's worth of chips by my grandma Edith Forsyth (of Forsyth the drapers) maybe in the late fifties.
Added by Colin Kinghorn on 21 June 2012
Pieraccini's?! We called it Paraseeny's. I was astonished when I went back to Tain as an adult to see that there was actually an Italian name over the door.
Added by Elspeth Dennis on 27 June 2012
Does anyone remember the battered sausages - a treat every week. Very nice to hear of 'step' cousins. 6 Ross Street was home for a short while in '69, Alan Davidson was my step-father, and what a gentleman too!!!
Added by Gordon Phillips on 25 September 2012
I knew Hughie Duff very well. So too most of the folks in the above picture.
At present I am compiling a book on the district. Called Ring Around the Morrich.
Added by Euilleam Ross on 28 February 2013
Yes this is a good picture. I remember it well. My dad and mother Donald and Margaret Horne used to go in every week. I used to visit from Tain Royal Academy as well for my single cig at lunch-time. Great shop, great owners and it's very sad to see this shop and several others of this type closing. I even remember Lipton's van as well. If any else can remember then feel free to post .
Added by James Horne on 03 March 2013
Our treat was to go to the chocolate shop with our grandfather Alex Ross from Knockbreck Street for an ice cream soda when we came north in the summer - we loved the Berwick cockles too from the shop - happy memories
Added by Lesley Green now Olden on 06 July 2013
I have many memories of pers cafe. I got my very first job there at the age of 13 in 1970. I remember having to go down the stairs between the shop and the chippy and risk life and limb to take crates of coke of the stack (that would be stacked at 10 crates high) and we had to carry at least 2 crates back up the very dark and dingy stairs. But I loved my time there. I worked with Cathy Dean and Davy Peters. George forsythe and Christopher ross were in the chippy.
Added by Cathy Mac on 07 January 2016
It's good too see the shop again last time i saw it was in the early seventees good to see pieraccinni again, my auntie Joy Skinner used to go there a few times a day as she was a clippie on the buses with Angie Ferguson from the port.
Added by James Horne on 10 January 2016
Does anyone know if the Hugh Duff here is Hugh Brooks Duff, son of Adam and Annabella? I'd love to know.
Added by Anne Duff on 22 March 2017
Yes Anne, his name was indeed Hugh Brooks Duff. At this moment in time (Sat evening) I do not have further info.
Come next Thursday I may be able to enlighten you further.

Added by Euilleam Ross on 25 March 2017
Fantastic! Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.
Added by Anne Duff on 26 March 2017
Anne, can you correspond with me by direct e-mail?
I am not certain if 'Brooks' was spelt with an 'e' or not.
I published a small local history book (available on Amazon...Ring Around the Morrich') Hughie is featured therein.
Do contact me when you can so that Hughie's history can be relayed to you.
Added by Euilleam Ross on 29 March 2017
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