The Old Umbrella Shop
The National Trust acquired the Old Umbrella Shop in 1979. The heritage facade and interior were retained and the retail operations continued. Part community museum, part information centre and part retail business, the shop is now operated by any extraordinary group of more than 90 National Trust volunteers who continue to uphold the remarkable legacy of the Shott family and also preserve the store's continuous history.
The story of Launceston’s Old Umbrella Shop began in 1920 when Robert Walter Shott (1858 – 1935) who had recently moved from Melbourne where he had operated a successful umbrella shop since the late 1880s – opened the business in George Street as R Shott & Son. Robert had already gained a reputation in Melbourne for his ingenuity and the extraordinary quality of his work, after he invented the folding umbrella frame which he sold to the Fox Umbrella Company.
Soon after opening in Launceston, Robert gained a name in the community for his excellent craftsmanship of umbrellas and other items. He started using Tasmanian timbers in his products and was chosen to present a walking stick to the Prince of Wales during the Royal Visit to Tasmania in 1920.