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In 100 years, the way we shop has changed dramatically. But checkouts and barcodes did not spell the end of the local family business.

In the early 1900s, most shops worked like a pharmacy does today. Customers sat and waited while the staff member at the counter fetched what they needed. After World War Two, more women were working and families had less time for counter service at the butchers, the bakers and the grocery store. Self-service supermarkets flourished.

Local shops dealt with these changes in different ways. Martin and Triggs froze in time, selling clothes over the counter until 1997. Gammon and Smith took a different route and in the 1970s were one of the first builders’ merchants in the country to offer self-service. Both companies outlived the town’s first supermarkets.

Did you know?

Martin and Triggs didn’t have a telephone or central heating and didn’t accept credit cards. But their customers loved it. They even won an award ‘for maintaining appearance and service in a traditional manner’.

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Privett’s Tailors and Outfitters, 2 High Street, Petersfield, late 1800s – 1969


Edward Privett shirts in Petersfield laundry bags

These shirts are fresh from the Petersfield Laundry on Rushes Road. The laundry has operated from the same site since 1899, originally delivering items by horse and cart.


Edward Privett starched collars

In the 1820s, Hannah Montague was so tired of washing shirts when the collars got dirty that she invented a detachable one. These collars were stiffened using starch and weren’t very comfortable.


Bowler hat

Tress & co. London. Made expressly for Gillott & Hasell Portsmouth. Size 6 ¾.


Pair of spats

Short for ‘spatterdashes’, spats protected ankles from mud and rain. Today wellington boots do the job and spats are rarely seen outside of the military.


Tape measure with crotch piece  

Tailors still use crotch pieces today to avoid touching the crotch when taking measurements.


Bowler hat brush


Tailor’s chalk


Rubber stamp 


Price label


Till box

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Watchmakers die plate and dial

From Leo Williams Jewellers which occupied number 30 on the High Street from 1927 to 1962.


Leo Williams advert cards


WJ Fuller bag

Grocery store WJ Fuller once stood on the corner of Lavant Street and sold a range of products from ‘fancy cakes’ to household brushes.


Buttons and buttonhook

Hillary’s Noted Boots, Petersfield.


Rowland’s furnishing leaflet

Rowland’s furnishing existed in the town for 122 years before closing in 2004.


Shoe brush

From Frisby’s, a shoe shop which once stood on Chapel Street in Petersfield.


Edward Privett advert card

From about 1895 until 1969, Thomas Privett and later his son Edward, ran a men’s outfitter and tailoring business from 2 the High Street.


Cash receipt book

A partially used receipt book thought to have been used at Martin and Triggs, which occupied 25 Lavant Street, Petersfield until it closed in 1997.


Styles for all occasions booklet

From Martin and Triggs, Petersfield.