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First published in 1964, Alison Adburgham’s Shops and Shopping, 1880-1914: Where and in What Matter the Well-Dressed Englishwoman Bought Her Clothes is a rightly celebrated and groundbreaking contribution to the social history of retail selling.
Adburgham charts the Victorian origins and subsequent ascent of the ‘department store’, a mode of shopping that offered the customer an enviable selection of wares, a fixed price, and a recreational browsing experience that began with goods placed temptingly behind plate-glass and continued through shops carefully arranged so that customers might wander. These great emporia changed the labours and livelihoods of craftspeople and small shop-keepers, enhanced the reputation of England’s capital and regional cities, and even altered the social climate of England.
Immaculately researched from primary sources, Shops and Shopping is one of the key texts in the scholarly analysis of early mass consumer culture.
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