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  Shops, Goods and Services




The concept of shopping, as we know it today, developed about 300 years ago. Until 1700, people had bartered and traded goods with each other, bought from markets, fairs and pedlars or direct from craftsmen such as carpenters, potters, weavers, hosiers, tailors, dressmakers and milliners - there were very few shops.  Everything from clothing to household goods was hand made; there was no processed food and nothing was packaged.

The Industrial Revolution of the mid-18th century had a great impact on people’s lives: new production methods led to the introduction of mass-produced and ready to use goods, and by the beginning of the 19th century, this, in turn, had led to the establishment of a new generation of shops selling these new types of product.  

In Tickhill, early 19th century directories reveal shopkeepers, such as grocers, linen dealers, drapers, druggists, butchers, bakers and an earthenware dealer were all starting to trade side by side with established craftsmen, such as straw bonnet and dressmakers, shoemakers, milliners, hatters, tailors, breeches makers, glovers, joiners and cabinet makers, linen weavers and bleachers and makers of nails and sieves. 

1850- 1900

By mid-century, these ‘new’ shopkeepers were starting to dominate high streets throughout the country. In Tickhill the aforementioned were joined by a confectioner, two booksellers and stationers, together with several shopkeepers and dealers in sundries  - all vying for business.    

The emergence of the department store and the chain store, together with the birth of the Co-operative movement in the mid-19th century brought more changes in retailing; customers were offered a greater choice of goods, many of which were branded and pre-packed. Advertising goods and services, together with elaborate window displays to tempt prospective customers, became essential for a successful business. 

Although Tickhill could not claim to have any department stores as such, it certainly had several shops, including Jarvis & Sons and Jenkinson’s that sold a host of different items ranging from groceries and household goods to clothing and home furnishings. Tickhill had to wait until the new century for the opening of its first chain store – Hunter’s Tea Stores in 1906, and this was followed three years later by the Doncaster Mutual Co-operative & Industrial Society, known affectionately as the ‘Co-op’. 

Many family businesses were established in the 19th century, which were to be handed down from father to son and, in many cases, through several generations. Many shopkeepers operated apprenticeship schemes, and once completed, many apprentices went on to establish their own successful businesses. Jarvis  & Sons, Jenkinson’s, Colbeck’s and the Post Office were just some of the successful family businesses that were established in Tickhill during this period. 


The early years of the 20th century saw a gradual decline in old established crafts, as more and more mass produced and ready to wear to goods flooded the market; this became more evident in the1930s, when the threat of war and a shortage of raw materials saw a distinct fall in the manufacture of ‘bespoke’ items. Choice of goods was greatly restricted during the Second World War with the introduction of food rationing in January 1940 and clothing the following year; the availability of furniture and household goods was also limited, and special coupons or ‘dockets’ were issued. Rationing continued into the post-war era, with clothing being de-rationed in 1949 and food in 1954.  

The early post-war years saw the emergence of a new concept in shopping – the self-service supermarket; in suburban areas throughout the country this contributed to the decline of the corner shop and many independent retailers, who could not compete with cut-price and ‘own brand’ goods; the effect on villages however, was less significant. Always ready to keep up with the current trend, Taylor’s, the grocers became the first shop to introduce self-service in Tickhill in the 1960s.   

By the end of the 20th century, many town and city centres had declined, due to the popularity of out-of-town shopping malls and retail parks, which offered free parking for their customers. However, once again like supermarkets in the 1960s, they have had less impact on villages, and in Tickhill today (2009), there is still a wide range of shops and other facilities serving the needs of local people. 


Baines, Edward, A history, directory and gazetteer of the County of York. Vol.1. West Riding.1822.

Beastall, Tom, Tickhill: portrait of an English country town. Waterdale Press. 1995.

Doncaster Chronicle: various references

Doncaster Gazette: various references

Doncaster Gazette Directories: 1891-1938/9

Doncaster Mutual Co-operative & Industrial Society: Committee minute books 1908-1911 .

Hill, Carol, Butcher, baker, cabinetmaker: an illustrated history of the shops and shopkeepers of Doncaster. Waterdale Press. 1989.

Kelly’s Directories of the West Riding of Yorkshire 1867-1936

Pigot & Co. Commercial Directories for Yorkshire, 1828 –1841.

Slater’s Directories of the Northern Counties 1848 &1858

Tickhill census 1841-1901.

Tickhill Tithe Award & Map 1848

White, William, A history, gazetteer and directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Vol.1. 1837.


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