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Aberystwyth: shopping in the 1920s and 2020s

In the 1920s, Aberystwyth had a large number of independent small shops - there were very few of the chains of stores that we are familiar with today. These local shops were vital in supplying preserved foods, footwear, clothing and basic necessities like candles, matches and crockery. Some of these vendors have disappeared almost entirely such as wheelwrights, coal merchants, dairyman and saddle and harness makers. Others we still recognise but not always their methods of retailing. For example we buy off-the-peg clothes today, but back then it was still common to employ a tailor or dressmaker to make items for you. Few of us today would dream of asking the shoe shop to make a pair of boots specifically for our foot size, but in the early part of the 20th century shops which kept a range of sizes of the same shoe in stock were a relatively recent innovation in retailing. This collection of photographs shows the shops of Aberystwyth referred to in Tourist guides to the town dating to the early 1900s and 1920s and, back then, included brewers and mineral water manufacturers, diaries, milliners, gown and blouse specialists, and a piano forte and music warehouse. See if you can identify which shops had a particular rivalry going on from the wording of their adverts. We have included some of the wording in the texts.

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