The changing Trend of Shopfronts: A Journey Down The Memory Lane

    Anything and Everything that exists has a history. Shop fronts in London have taken a long time to get modified into what we see them as they are today. The shift has been great but gradual since the times shopping used to be just visiting the temporary stalls. In the olden days, the market place was not a permanent feature but a temporary arrangement which could be here one day and somewhere else the other day. But with time, the markets became permanent. England saw the creation of 40,000 shops by the end of the 17th century. Of course, the need for shop fronts in London grew with it, so did their importance.

    A look at the shopfronts

    The designs may have changed now but the functions remain almost the same.

    Shopfronts of the middle ages

    During the Medieval Period (476-1492), the shops had become more common. But the high cost of glass made it impossible for the common shopkeepers to avail and install it. It was indeed a luxury for the common shopkeepers. The trend thus was in favor of wooden shutters, which were more affordable. The wooden window shutter consisted of a top shutter and a bottom shutter. While the top shutter was used to protect the products from the ill effects of the natural elements, the bottom shutters were used to fold up in the form of a table. The table was used to showcase the products which had a special offer attached to them.

    Georgian Period (1714-1830)

    This period saw shopfronts in the form of bow-fronted windows which were installed on either side of a central door, which was half glazed. By the end of the eighteenth century, the design had become very popular. Towards the nineteenth century, the shopfronts underwent a change. Now they used to come in the form of plate glass, steel or cast iron. Such shopfronts are a rarity in modern times. Small towns may have some examples of such shopfronts, but they are difficult to find.

    Victorian Period (1837-1901)

    This era was marked by urban expansion. With the rapid urbanization came the need for an increase in the number of shops and of course the shopfronts. Tall windows,  timber, glass or decorative cast iron was what constituted the shopfronts of that period. Timber security shutters and sun blinds also became a popular choice.

    Early 20th-Century Period (1900-1940)

    The Georgian and Victorian period still had a strong hold even during this time. But with the passage of war periods, the shopfronts became more daring and striking. The shopfronts during this period were crafted from hardwood and brass. The material might have changed but the designs didn’t change much from the Victorian design. The proof can be seen while eyeing the details of the 1925 Paris Exhibition. It shows the presence of smooth shopfronts, angular windows and striking messages across the display boards. So now you know when the winds of change started blowing as far as the shopfronts are considered.

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