National Library celebrates 'Sale of the centuries'
Love it or loath it, shopping is part of our daily life. Shops dominate the high streets today as they have done for centuries. But where did the Scots go for their groceries in the days before supermarkets and online ordering? When did shopping on a Saturday afternoon become more of a leisure activity than a chore.
The National Library of Scotland's forthcoming exhibition 'Sale of the centuries' provides a glimpse of our changing relationship with shops and shopping, over more than three centuries, from the early markets and fairs, through the growth of the corner shop and the High Street, to the age of the grand department store and beyond.
Amongst the items on display is a Scotmid staff record slip, showing the employment record of milkman Thomas S Connery from Edinburgh — the Oscar winning actor Sean Connery. The slip shows his name, address, salary over a number of years, and notes of him leaving for National Service.
Material on display from the National Library's collections will include items such as diaries, shopping bills, tradesmen's accounts, ledgers, catalogues and advertisements, photographs and maps and town plans. A variety of loaned artefacts, such as grocers' scales, a shop till, toys and a pricing printing press will also contribute to the story.
Drawing on the personal testimonies and accounts of Scotsmen and women the exhibition will allow the visitor to learn and experience what people bought, where they shopped, who did the shopping and the shift in attitudes towards shopping.
In ideal time for Christmas, the exhibition runs from Thursday 8 December until Sunday 12 February in the National Library of Scotland's George IV Bridge building. Entry is free. A series of free events and workshops has been organised to complement the exhibition.
21 November 2005