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Shopping first became a national obsession in the Georgian era, when the industrial revolution brought the middle-classes a disposable income and a dazzling range of new things to consume from across the globe.

From markets and shopping parades to department stores and high streets, this nation of shopkeepers retains many of its architectural gems.

To warm up for the high street:

How to spot a Georgian shop



Read our blogs about historic shops

Books on shopping

Historic England has published some fascinating books about our shopping heritage:


Published 15 November 2015

Tracks the development of mainstream commercial architecture and the shopping habits of a nation.

Shopping Parades

Published 26 April 2016

This document gives an overview of the building type from the mid-nineteenth century through to the inter-war years.

Gifts and prints

Browse Archive photos of how we used to shop, from glamorous department stores to 80s shopping malls. You can also buy these images as high quality prints and photo gifts.

Mannequins standing in front of racks of ladies clothing at a department store.
© Historic England

Get involved

Want to share your knowledge and pictures of historic shops with the nation? The List has over 400,000 entries from haberdasheries to milliners, department stores to book shops.  Share your knowledge

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