Umbrella vendors were perhaps the only people to benetit trom this summer's deluge. Smart Edinburgh shops —Jenners oi Princes Street (ladies’ brollies) and Cunningham & Co all St Andrew Square (gentlemen’s) - report that umbrella sales were double whatthey normally would have been. The Met Oitice rated Scotland’s summer as the worst since its records began in 1868. Bad weather dampened prospects at an excellent year tor the tourist industry, hitting hoteliers, shopkeepers and B & B owners particularly hard. However, a Scottish Tourist Board oiliclal maintains that most advance bookings were kept. ‘What the weather did,’ he says wryly, ‘was to depress tourism somewhat.’ Brollies may have brought small comtort to Scotland’s 14 million visitors. For the rest oi us — contronted
with snow showers torecast tor the East Coast and probably MORE rain iorthe warmer, soggierWest Coast-they remain a constant necessity. But ironically, this essential British accessory was invented to combat sunstroke - something altogether less common in our mournlully temperate climate.
Umbrellas were used as parasols— umbrella irom umbra, Latin tor shade — in the ancient empires at China, Egypt and Babylon, and it was not until later (to be exact, 1634 in Persia), that their present use was discovered.
Even so, the sluggish British were slow to catch on. About 1750, James Hanway, an English philanthropist, attempted to popularise the broily, but provoked a shower at ridicule when he stalked around London with an umbrella in the rain.
The Lisle-ii 813:1?