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Wednesday, May 16

Shopping in London during Jane Austen's Time

High Change in Bond Street, 1796, Gilray

In 1800 there were 150 shops in Oxford Street alone, and Jane always made time to treat herself in the city shops and to make purchases on behalf of friends and relatives in the country. She mentions buying muslin and trimmings at Grafton's the drapers, as well as purchases of gloves, stockings, caps, bonnets, china from Wedgwood's shop and tea from Twinings. In Gray's the jewelers on Sackville Street Mr. John Dashwood, encountering his half-sister, excuses himself for not calling on her, as 'one always has so much to do on first coming to town. I am come here to bespeak Fanny a seal.' Also in the shop is a boorish dandy choosing a toothpick case adorned with ivory, gold and pearls. In Emma, Mr Elton takes Harriet's picture to London to be framed in Bond Street, and Frank Churchill goes there to have his hair cut -- though this is only an excuse contrived to conceal his true purpose, which is to purchase a piano for the woman he loves.

For further reading about shopping during the Regency era, check these links:

Let's Go Shopping!

Regency Shopping: Shopping Malls

London's Historic Shopping Arcades

Other posts about shopping on this site: Shopping in Regency England

Burlington Arcade, North Entrance, 1819

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