1st May | The History of Shopping – a talk by Linda Sexton

Centuries of shopping until they dropped!

Capel Ladies were taken on on a fascinating journey through centuries of shopping by their May guest speaker, Linda Sexton. Her talk, the History of Shopping, ranged from prehistory until the present day.

Shopping began with the bartering of goods well before coins were introduced. There were meeting places where farmers and other people gathered to exchange their produce which, in time, led to regular markets and later still developed into market towns.

Much of Linda’s spellbinding talk was about shopping in Ipswich, a town since the 6th century. It was illustrated with drawings, maps and photographs. In towns everywhere, streets were named after the type of shops in them. In Ipswich there is Cook Row, the street of bakers.

In wider Suffolk, she gave as a good example of an early shop the National Trust tea shop in Lavenham’s Guildhall. Linda gave very interesting detail about the birth of the corner shops, the founding of the Co-op, the department stores and supermarkets.

In the era of internet shopping, Linda was optimistic that towns, like Ipswich, would continue to attract shoppers because they keep reinventing themselves and still have markets to draw in the crowds.

Penny Thompson

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