Shops

Although by 1914 Hampstead was part of London it still functioned like a village. While people who could afford it went into London for something special, they would have done most of their shopping in Hampstead. However shopping was very different. There were no supermarkets or shopping centres and few chain stores.

ordering hat fabric

Ordering hat fabric
© Mary Evans Picture Library

Hampstead High Street without clock tower

Source: Burgh House

Contents

Possible Activities

  • Imagine it is 1914. Create a shopping list for the week, look at the sample list of shops and work out which shops you would have to go to buy what you need.
  • The following were all businesses in Hampstead – a hosier, a hatter, a draper, a grocer, a costumier, a milliner, a corn dealer , a provisions merchant and a jobmaster. Find out what you would expect to purchase at each of them.
  • Discuss the list of shops in Hampstead in 1914. How many of these types of shops can you still find? How many of them are businesses that people no longer use? What sort of shops do you expect to find in Hampstead High Street now – make a list.
  • Draw an imaginary High Street in 1914 and include in it what you think are the most useful and important shops. (This could be a group activity.)
  • Play the Shopping Game

Related Topics

  • Food, eating, shopkeepers and shortages

What was the High Street like in 1914?

Where does your family buy food? There were no supermarkets or shopping centres in 1914. You bought what you needed in a variety of shops, or you may have gone to a street market. One of the oldest local street markets is Queens Crescent in Kentish Town which has been operating since 1862 and is still in existence today.

In 1914 many of the shops were smaller than shops in the High Street are now. There were very few chain shops and most of the shops were named after the people who owned them – like ‘G H Gaze & Co’ who had blouse showrooms at 65 Hampstead High Street.

There was a wide range of different types of shops in Hampstead. There were food shops like butchers, bakers, fishmongers, several dairies and green grocers. In addition you would also have found a milliner, a coal merchant, a builder, a hosier, a boot maker, a job master, a curiosity shop, a carver and gilder, a hatter and a blouse shop. See a fuller list of shops in Hampstead in 1914 below.

Often shopkeepers displayed their goods outside the shop and then brought them indoors at closing time (see the picture above on the right).

Exterior of Express Dairy Company

Exterior of Express Dairy Company | Source: Hampstead Parish Church magazine

You can still see signs of some of the shops that were in Hampstead in 1914. Look at the picture on the right. Above Tesco on Heath Street you can see that this used to be where the Express Dairy company carried out its business. The shop was at the front of the building, and the stables for the delivery horses were behind.

Advertisements – what they tell us about different shops and businesses

F Humphreys advert

Source: Hampstead Parish Church magazine

F. Humphreys & sons – corn dealers. This business dealt with all types of meal – including feed for horses and household flour. They also recognised that cars would take over from horses and also stocked products for them.

Express Dairy advert

Source: Hampstead Parish Church magazine

Express Dairy Company (established 1864). The farms that supplied the milk were nearby in Kenwood and Finchley. The public were encouraged to go in and inspect their dairy to be assured of hygiene.

W Rumbold advert

Source: Hampstead Parish Church magazine

W. Rumbold & son – first class restaurant. Ladies had a separate tea room on the first floor.

J Forster advert

Source: Hampstead Parish Church magazine

J Forster – family grocer – Customers could send an order by post in the morning for groceries they wanted delivered the same day.

A sample of the shops in Hampstead in 1914

To get an idea of the variety of shops in Hampstead in 1914, have a look at the lists below and then do the exercise suggested under Possible Activities above.

Clothes related shops Food related shops Some other shops
Blouse maker

Boot and shoe maker

Childrens’ outfitters

Cleaners and dyers

Costumier

Drapers

Dressmaker

Furrier

Jewellers

Hosier

Ladies outfitter

Leather seller

Milliner

Tailor

Watch maker

Baker

Butcher

Confectioner

Dairy

Fishmonger

Fried fish shop

Fruit merchant or fruiterer

Greengrocer

Grocer

Poulterer

Pork butcher

Provisions merchant

Tobacconist

Wine company

Builder

Chimney sweep

China repairer

Coal merchant

Corn merchant

Cycle maker

Estate agent

Florist

Furniture dealer

Hairdresser

Harness maker

Ironmonger

Job Master

Newsagent

Pharmacist

Stationer and printer

Toy maker

What did the Jobmaster do?

Lansdown Brothers, jobmasters, had a business at 77 Hampstead High Street, next door to Andrew & Sons, saddle and harness makers. What did they do? The photograph on the right, above, is Hampstead High Street looking north towards the Fire Station (now the clock tower). Have a look at the photograph and see if you can work out what the business of a jobmaster was. To give you a clue their business is on the left hand side of the street. Another clue is: think about what a mini-cab office looks like at quiet times.

(Answer – a “Jobmaster” was someone who kept a livery stable and let out horses and carriages for hire to the general public. Today that would be a cross between a car hire business and a minicab firm. The photo on the Introduction page is the Knowles-Brown family in a car outside Lansdown’s premises. For more, see this article about the Jobmaster’s Horse at the end of the 19th century.)

The Shops and Shopping Games

We have developed two games, based on shops in Hampstead, which will be delivered separately. The Shopping Game is aimed at Reception and Year 1 classes and the Shops Games is aimed at older children.

Suggested Questions

  • How do shopping habits in 2014 differ from shopping habits in 1914? In particular where do people buy their food. How do you think these two approaches compare for convenience, quality/ freshness, environmental impact (food miles, packaging)?
  • In 1914 you did most of your shopping in your neighbourhood. How much of your shopping do you do in your neighbourhood today and how far do you have to travel to get what you need?
  • What do you think happened to all the shop assistants and delivery boys once the War was over? Did they go back to their old jobs or did they find new ones?

Further resources

Details of markets in Camden http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/contacts/categories/markets/markets-in-camden.en

BBC Schools World War One- What shops were on the high street www.bbc.co.uk/schools/0/ww1/25235368

Sources

  • Kelly’s Directory of Hampstead for 1910-1911
  • Kelly’s Directory of Hampstead for 1921
  • Hampstead Parish Church Magazine for the year 1914 to 1918

This page was last updated on November 14th, 2014.

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