Window shopping in Hampshire

Amazingly, the average Briton spent a total of 11 days last year ‘window shopping’ online and with around 1/3 of all purchases now made online, it is easy to see how we tally up the 'window shopping' hours and days.

Whilst we may window shop with a modern twist, the lure of new products to dream about is nothing new.

Today, we will do some ‘window shopping’ of our own and explore the ornate displays which were once seen on Hampshire’s highstreets.

Shop windows were originally just an extra storage area for stock and not much thought was given to their appearance. Shops relied on loyal customers returning to buy their stock.

Oakley and Bavage, a saddler which was located on Turk Street, Alton, Hampshire. Taken between 1905 and 1910.
A display outside L Hall, English and Colonial Butcher, which was located on 6 Factory Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire. Taken between 1905 and 1915.

By the mid-19th century new building and glazing techniques made large windows feasible and affordable. The introduction of gas lighting enabled the merchandise to be illuminated. These new planned displays where used to entice their customers in. Edwardian displays became larger and more elaborate catching the eye of passers-by.

Sherriff and Ward draper shop on the High Street in Winchester. Taken in 1911.
Lipton Ltd. Winchester which was located on 116-117 High Street Winchester. Taken in 1919.
Lipton Ltd. Basingstoke which was located on Church Street, Basingstoke. Taken in around 1910.
Edwin Jones and Company and Clarke Stores, a draper in Wickham. Taken in around 1900 to 1910.

As urban expansion saw new shops in our towns and cities, competition to draw new customers became increasingly fierce.  Advertising processes and using discounts to draw customers in began to be used. This was described by Arnold Bennett in his book The Old Wives’ Tale states was a vulgar and un-genteel practice. The 'old wives' would certainly would have disapproved of Maypole Dairies in Winchester advertising discounted butter at 1s 10d.

Maypole Dairy Co. Ltd which was located on 29A High Street, Winchester. Taken between 1916 and 1919.
A group of people standing outside a shop

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The shop front of G J Southern, a grocer in Alton, Hampshire. This photograph was taken between 1855 and 1870.
The premises of Eldred and Inge, chemists and opticians which were located on 155 High Street, Winchester. Taken between 1906 and 1909.

To explore more of the history of Hampshire through the photographic collections managed by Hampshire Cultural Trust, visit Hampshire in Old Photographs.

Hampshire in Old Photographs
Hampshire in Old Photographs, Winchester. 9.967 vind-ik-leuks · 504 personen praten hierover · 4 waren hier. Explore the history of Hampshire, England through the photographic collections managed by...

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Sam Butcher

Curatorial Assistant who looks after objects and works to make them accessible to the public.
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