There have been surprisingly few good general studies of shops and shopping - and even fewer that are still in print. Though it obviously stops short of developments in the last 25 years, the best is probably A History of Shopping by Dorothy Davis (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966). Bill Evans and Andrew Lawson, A Nation of Shopkeepers (Plexus, 1981) is well illustrated and is especiallyrich in the personal reminiscences of traditional shopkeepers - criteria that also apply to Jonathan Brown and Sadie Ward's more specialised The Village Shop (Rural Development Council/David & Charles 1990). As its title suggests, Kenneth Hudson's The Archaeology of the Consumer Society (Heinemann, 1983) takes a broader view of shops and shopping generally. On the purely architectural side, Alan Powers' Shop Fronts (Chatto & Windus, 1989) is an excellent guide. Dee Parfitt's Ireland's Shop Fronts (O'Brien Press, 1977 - still in print) is sheer visual delight and superb value. There are a number of studies of retail design in the present era - some more readable than others - but Fitch on Retail Design by Rodney Fitch and Lance Knobel balances an interesting text with a wealth of colour illustration. The best source of material, however, remains an hour or so spent strolling around local streets and market places...
Many stores welcome your interest in their activities. Sainsbury's, for instance, provides comprehensive Study Packs for schools (available from Public Relations Department, J Sainsbury PLC, Stamford House, Stamford Street, London SE1 9LL), while educational visits to branches maybe arranged through the local Personnel Manager. W H Smith supplies similar packs to schools, available from the Public Relations Department, W H Smith Group pic, Strand House, 7 Holbein Place , London SW1W 8NR . The Body Shop has a range of literature available at its branches and also organises tours of its Watersmead headquarters, taking in all aspects of its operations - contact Charlotte Cleven at The Body Shop International PLC, Watersmead, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17 6LS.
Many museums around the country have preserved historic shopfronts from their area. They may be single shops or even whole streets, and often they have been restored with full interior fittings and stock of the appropriate period. Look for details - including addresses, opening times etc. - in guide books, Tourist Information Centres and the annual Museums and Galleries in Great Britain and Ireland handbook, published by British Leisure Publications.
|1988 - Supermarket Shopping|