Shopping for fabric

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  • Intro

    The craze for shopping boomed in the Georgian period. Most shopkeepers specialised in particular goods and were experts in their trades: drapers, booksellers, wig makers or hosiers, for example. Customers who entered a shop were allowed to handle goods over the shop counter and were encouraged to experience the merchandise on offer: to feel the latest fabrics, for example, or to try on watches or simply relax in new furniture. Like today, the overall experience of shopping was often as important as the quality of the goods themselves. This image shows the London fabric store, Messrs. Harding, Howell, and co.

     

    With improvements in transport and manufacturing technology, trading opportunities had become faster and more efficient. And with the rapid growth of towns and cities, shopping became an important part of everyday life. Window shopping and the purchase of goods became a cultural activity in its own right, and many exclusive shops were opened in elegant districts: in Pall Mall and the Haymarket in London, for example, and in spa towns like Bath and Harrogate.

     

    Shelfmark: Maps.K.Top.27.20, plate 12

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