Published to tie in with the forthcoming BBC series, Shopgirls is a nostalgic, sweeping history full of the life stories of the women behind the counters of Britain's most famous -- and not so famous -- stores.
Shopgirls should be heroines, as celebrated as steelworkers in the Industrial Revolution. A million of us were shop assistants by the turn of the twentieth century and since then retail has grown exponentially to become Britain's largest area of economic activity. But the young women at the heart of this economic and cultural revolution, the shop assistants themselves, have largely been ignored.
Shopgirls will tell the story of the lives of the girls who have worked behind the counters of our nation's shops from the drapery stores of the 1860s when young women's employment outside the home was taking off, through the Edwardian era's tumultuous social upheavals, two world wars and all the way to the working class revolution of the 1960s and the shock of the Biba bombing. This lively and ambitious book sets out to uncover the shopgirls' life stories, work cultures and economic contributions in a way never done before.