Family time and retail history

I spent a night with my sister Fran in a hotel in Grassington, whilst her ex husband and first friend of Malcolm, Dave spent the night with Malcolm.  It was early August and the weather was variable.  It was just lovely to have a break in Grassington.  We enjoyed popping into different cafés for drinks and nibbles.  We were booked in for a meal at the hotel.  I was pleased to see how dog friendly the town was.  All cafés seemed to allow dogs in and the hotel we were in also was happy for dogs to stay.  I thought it would be an ideal place to come with my beloved and Piper when the weather improved.  I bought some special doggy treats back for Piper and a funny guide on how to care for a dog and a lovely carving of a dog almost identical to Piper for my beloved.  The time passed quickly and it was relaxing despite a lot of wet weather.  My beloved and Piper were glad to have me back home.

On August 10th we had a talk at the Guild about the history of the Retail Trade by Mr G. Brian Greenwood.  Greenwood’s men’s shops were opened in Nidderdale and there is still one in Harrogate.  The first market trading started thousands of years ago initially in the open air.  Department Stores were built at the end of the 18th Century.  Apparently the first escalator was installed in Harrods in 1898; a nurse would be waiting at the top with a tot of brandy for the ladies!  Before the war Selfridge’s had a golf club on the roof and there was also a ladies’ gun club on the roof!  The first multiple department store was in London in 1792 and was W. H. Smiths and Sons. Unique features of department stores were standardised products and prices; as they had multiple buying power they were able to undercut the prices of the small traders.  Multiples were all very similar like Burton’s Men’s Stores.  There were 616 stores by 1952, so there were 10,000 staff based in Leeds and 50,000 suits were made a week.  Boots the Chemist has been there since 1849.  Jessie Boot was initially a herbalist.  There are now many multiples of charities like Save the Children and British Heart Foundations.

Mr Spencer started a business in Leeds in 1884 selling everything for a penny; later he joined with Mr Marks and became as M&S.  Woolworth began in America selling items at 5 and 10 cents stores.    Woolworth came to Liverpool in 1909 items were sold for 3d and 6d for everything in the store.     In 1950 New York had the first self service food shops and in 1951 the first service food shop came to London.  Tesco opened its first shop in 1929 after having started as a market trader.

Benjamin Franklin set up a mail order catalogue which sold science books and other books.  In the UK big business is now conducted over the internet and it continues to grow.  Montgomery Ward had the first catalogue in 1872, which had railway times in different areas of the USA. There continues to be a slow decline in independent traders with the increase in supermarket.  We learnt a few interesting facts about the growth of the retail trade.

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