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Showing posts from January, 2015

Shopping in London with Jane Austen!

The poet Shelley described London’s shops in a letter to Thomas Manning:

‘Oh, the lamps of a night! her rich goldsmiths, print-shops, toy-shops, mercers, hardware men, pastry-cooks, St Paul’s churchyard, the Strand, Exeter Change, Charing Cross, with a man upon a black horse! These are thy gods, O London!’ Most shopkeepers lived with their families above or behind their premises. They were usually specialists in the goods they sold, and very often the craftsman who made them – whether a shoemaker, tailor, hatter, fan-maker, umbrella-maker or jeweller – often there was no distinction between retailer and wholesaler. There were no regular shopping hours – the shopkeeper opened his shop before breakfast and closed it before he retired for the night. Sophie von la Roche, a German novelist, wrote about Oxford Street to her daughters in 1785: We strolled up and down lovely Oxford Street this evening, for some goods look more attractive by artificial light. Just imagine, dear children, a street …