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Trading in the Edwardian Era- Photographic Overview of the Markets and Shops in the 1900s

Ian Smith

The Edwardian era stands out as a time of peace and plenty. There were no severe depressions, and prosperity was widespread. Britain’s growth rate, manufacturing output and GDP (but not GDP per capita) fell behind its rivals, the United States and Germany but the nation still led the world in trade, finance and shipping, and had strong bases in manufacturing and mining.The industrial sector was slow to adjust to global changes, and there was a striking preference for leisure over entrepreneurship among the elite. However, major achievements should be underlined. London was the financial centre of the world—far more efficient and wide-ranging than New York, Paris or Berlin. Britain had built up a vast reserve of overseas credits in its formal Empire, as well as in its informal empire in Latin America and other nations. It had huge financial holdings in the United States, especially in railways. These assets proved vital in paying for supplies in the first years of the World War. The amenities, especially in urban life, were accumulating—prosperity was highly visible. The working classes were beginning to protest politically for a greater voice in government, but the level of industrial unrest on economic issues was not high until about 1908.

Below there is an interesting photographic overview of the markets, street vendors and shops during the Edwardian era. Take a look:

Billingsgate Market, ca.1910

Billingsgate Market, ca.1910

Book sale at Caledonian Roadd Market, ca.1910

Book sale at Caledonian Roadd Market, ca.1910

Boy selling fish from a basket in Boston street market, October 1909

Boy and man selling fish from a basket in Boston street market, October 1909

Caledonian Road Market, ca.1910

Caledonian Road Market, ca.1910

Clare Market, ca. 1900

Clare Market, ca. 1900

Covent Garden Market, ca.1910

Covent Garden Market, ca.1910

Covent Garden Market, London, early 1900s

Covent Garden Market, London, early 1900s

Floral hall at Covent Garden Market, 1910

Floral hall at Covent Garden Market, 1910

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