Transcriptions of Letters about Shops

Fish and Vegetables

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer

Sir, – I’m a Free-trader; and I don’t like to see that principle invaded. Once upon a time one could get cheap fish in Ryde, because fish come in shoals, and when caught were hawked; now hawking is put down by Act of Parliament, – hence “protection” and fabulous prices. I was never in a town or village in England where fish is so dear as here, and the complaints against it are very great. The same cause of complaint exists against the prices and bad supply of vegetables. The Commissioners ought at once to “open the ports” and let in a little competition.


[This is one of the subjects which has always perplexed the Commissioners, and one upon which a little discussion would perhaps not be thrown away. If hawking be permitted, the difficulty is to know where to draw the line. – Ed.]

Early Closing movement and the Grocers’ Assistants March 1855

Blinds and Uprights, September 1855

Bruised hat due to low awnings! November 1858

The Spider and the Fly episode – 1878  This episode prompted several poems in the local press, which will be found on the Poetry page here.

Sir, I have been in a great many towns, but I never saw one in which the law, as regards bakers, was so systematically set at defiance, as in your beautiful town. My landlady bought a gallon of bread in the lower part of the town last week, which, on being weighed, was found to be ¾ ls. under weight, and I was told they never dreamed of weighing it. What do you keep your police for around here? For ornament. They really do not seem to pitch upon anything but beggars and flower stealers. Let me commend the bakers to their affectionate care, and let them see that each baker’s cart is provided with the scales which the law say it is to carry.

London shops versus Union Street 1885

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