Sugar and Spice: Grocers and Groceries in Provincial England, 1650-1830

Paperback | December 8, 2016

byJon Stobart

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Consumers in eighteenth-century England were firmly embedded in an expanding world of goods, one that incorporated a range of novel foods (tobacco, chocolate, coffee, and tea) and new supplies of more established commodities, including sugar, spices, and dried fruits. Much has been writtenabout the attraction of these goods, which went from being novelties or expensive luxuries in the mid-seventeenth century to central elements of the British diet a century or so later. They have been linked to the rise of Britain as a commercial and imperial power, whilst their consumption is seenas transforming many aspects of British society and culture, from mealtimes to gender identity. Despite this huge significance to ideas of consumer change, we know remarkably little about the everyday processes through which groceries were sold, bought, and consumed. In tracing the lines of supply that carried groceries from merchants to consumers, Sugar and Spice reveals not only how changes in retailing and shopping were central to the broader transformation of consumption and consumer practices, but also questions established ideas about the motivationsunderpinning consumer choices. It demonstrates the dynamic nature of eighteenth-century retailing; the importance of advertisements in promoting sales and shaping consumer perceptions, and the role of groceries in making shopping an everyday activity. At the same time, it shows how both retailersand their customers were influenced by the practicalities and pleasures of consumption. They were active agents in consumer change, shaping their own practices rather than caught up in a single socially-inclusive cultural project such as politeness or respectability.

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Consumers in eighteenth-century England were firmly embedded in an expanding world of goods, one that incorporated a range of novel foods (tobacco, chocolate, coffee, and tea) and new supplies of more established commodities, including sugar, spices, and dried fruits. Much has been writtenabout the attraction of these goods, which went...

Jon Stobart has published widely on the history of consumption, retailing, and leisure in eighteenth-century England, and has particular interests in the spatiality of consumption and the operation of the second-hand market.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:December 8, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198795963

ISBN - 13:9780198795964

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Ancient and Modern: The grocery trade in early-modern England2. A New World of Goods: Groceries in the long eighteenth century3. From Colony to Counter: Networks of supply4. Geographies of Selling: The grocery trades in provincial towns5. Selling Spaces: Display and storage of groceries6. Selling Groceries: Service, credit, and price7. Exotic, Empire, or Everyday? Advertising groceries8. Baskets of Goods: Customers and shopping practices9. Tea and Cakes: Consuming groceries10. Cups, Caddies, and Castors: Groceries and domestic material cultureConclusionsBibliography