Shoppers in England from medieval times to the present have been beguiled by attractive merchandise, rarely heeding the details of their surroundings. This appealing book shifts the focus of attention for the first time to the architecture of retail buildings in England. It examines the history and character of retail settings since the Middle Ages, including shops, arcades, market halls, co-operative stores, department stores, multiples, supermarkets, precincts, and malls.
The book traces how various types of retail buildings developed in response to fashion, social and economic conditions, technological advances, and innovations in retailing methods. It reveals how the act of shopping helped to shape urban centers, and how shops of the near and distant past have left their mark on today's high streets. Encompassing topics as diverse as the impact of chains like Marks & Spencer and the revolutionary effect of lifts on store planning, the book provides a unique record of English shop buildings throughout the centuries.