In the past, people did not have shops like the ones we have today. Instead they sold their vegetables or goods from open-air stands, like a market stall. Shoppers would go from stall to stall buying different products.
Goods: nounarticles of commerce; merchandiseStall: noun(in a market) a small often temporary stand or booth for the display and sale of goods
There were also sellers who went from door to door. They carried their goods with them and tried to persuade people in the house to buy them. The people who earned money by selling on the streets were called “hawkers”.
“The creaking sounds of wagon wheelsA sound I waited forThose sounds announced a hawkerWas arriving at our doorThey would come in covered wagonsOf many different stylesTheyd be on the road for months on endTraversing outback miles”
They called out or sang rhymes to letpeople know what they were selling:“Pease pudding and a suck of bacon!”“Milk below Maids!”“Ripe strawberries!““Hot Cross Buns! Hot Cross Buns! Two a penny!”
Pease pudding: peas boiled withonions and carrots, then mashedtogether and made into a sort of cake.The pease-pudding seller carried apiece of bacon on a string. He let eachcutomer suck the bacon for a fewmoments before he pulled it back outof his or her mouth!
Milk Below Maids. - Milk sold at this time was more than likely fresh, if of doubtful purity, for the cowmen kept their cows in hovels in the metropolis itself. It is thought that about 8,000 cows were housed in this way. The milkmaids milked the animals early in the morning, and also later in the day. The cry Milk Below Maids was directed to the servants living in the basements of houses.
In the 18th century, some sellers bought or rented buildings to open as shops. London was one of the most important cities in Europe at that time and visitors were often amazed by the wonderful shops they saw there.
In 1786, a visitor called Sophie van la Roche described Oxford Street in London:“ .. A street taking half an hour to cover from end to end… First one passes a watchmaker’s, then a silk or fan store, now a silversmith’s, a china or glass shop… here crystal flasks of every shape are exhibited… Just as alluring are the confectioners and fruiterers, where, behind the handsome glass windows, pyramids of pinnaples, figs, grapes, oranges and all manner of fruits are on show”
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