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As Christmas approaches, many thoughts turn to shopping. 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.

How to spot a Georgian shop

 

Research

Books on shopping

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

Woolworth's

Woolworth's

Published 15 November 2015

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

£50.00

The Changing Face of the High Street: Decline and Revival

The Changing Face of the High Street: Decline and Revival

Published 8 July 2013

This report is the product of research commissioned by English Heritage, in partnership with the Historic Towns Forum, to better understand what has changed in recent years. It looks in detail at the current policy and retail context and what they might mean for historic town centres and high streets.

Shopping Parades

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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