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“Shopping was a completely different experience in Victorian times,” says Sally. “When people went to the International Stores, in Cliffe, for example, they would have to queue separately to buy every item they wanted, like oats and sugar. There was no refrigeration so many people shopped every day. The surrounding villages would have basic grocery shops and butchers and bakers but villagers would have to come into town regularly to stock up on other items.”

The diversity of some traders is amazing. Simmonds, the undertaker, also made chairs and cabinets. CA Wells, who ran what is now Forfars, advertised himself as an ‘Engineer (steam hydraulic and gas), Bell-hanger, Gas fitter, Agricultural implement manufacturer and agent, General and furnishing ironmonger, Colour manufacturer and Ironworker’.

My favourite picture is of a cheese shop in North Street, where the Labour Party office is how housed. There are scores of cheese wheels piled in front of the shop, and a number of employees, including small children, standing to the side of them. The kids are a scream: dressed in adult clothing, their faces are blurry as, unlike the adults, they have been unable to stand still while the photo is being taken. Some things never change.


Fowl play: Forbuoys used to be a family butcher…

Where?
Anne of Cleves House, Lewes
When? 10-5pm
How Much? tba
 
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