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Shopping Victorian Style

Shopping Scene
Shopping Scene (1460 bytes)

As with many modern-day Christmas traditions, the concept of shopping developed during Victorian times. Shopping wasn't always as you know it to be. It took many years of significant technological developments and changes in social structure to get it to the point with which you are familiar now.

Early in the era, shopping was quite different from what it is now (1876). Yes, there were stores, some quite large; however, the rich and middle class, instead of going into them would have their carriages driven to the front door and expected the shopkeepers to bring their wares out to them. Furniture makers brought sample merchandise to their customers' homes and estates. And provision merchants (butchers, fishmongers, etc.) went to the back of the house to the servants' entrance where the housekeeper or cook would make the purchases. And newspaper ads featured a wide range of items such as patented medicines, bicycles, furniture and other goods which could be purchased through the post (mail order).

With the vast exploration undertaken during this period, goods were being imported from foreign lands, and it was after the Great Exhibition of 1851, that the concept of "going shopping" began to develop.

Below I've put together an example of some of the ads you'll find in our newspapers. After that we'll travel into London to do some shopping at T. J. Paxton's, a full-line department store.

pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) The Chelsea News pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) The London Gazette pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) The Hyde Park Globe

Now climb aboard the carriage (by clicking the image) for our London shopping excursion.Victorian Coach (4473 bytes)

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Credits:

Background set and buttons are the creation of webmaster, B. Malheiro. Shopping segment logo also created by webmaster utilizing tutorials from a talented group of PSP artists, The Prestigious Dames whose group is dissolving on December 31, 2005. These images have been digitally watermarked and are not for use on another site.
Coach from usenet public domain clipart.

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