Description

This engraving shows the English grocer’s shop, Carraway’s, catering for the Christmas crowds. Women and children are queuing outside waiting to buy goods such as the ‘Christmas fruits’, ‘fine Malaca raisins’ and ‘coffee’ advertised in the windows and by men wearing sandwich boards in the street.

This is not only representative of how widely customs were observed, as the picture shows both middle and working-class women waiting to collect their produce; but also demonstrates how the expansion of the British Empire and consolidation of trade networks impacted upon the development of Christmas customs. For instance, the ingredients to make Plum pudding, typically including raisins, currants, sugar and spice had to be imported from Spain, Greece, Jamaica and East Asia.

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