Christmas shopping in 1888

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By G Macey, of Chicago

Bath Street

My mum took me Xmas shopping in 1888. We lived behind St James’ Church and we travelled down La Motte Street into Bath Street. We would pop into Anslow tea merchants, as mum liked their tea. On up Bath Street past the JEP [see note below] and go into Guiton's to get some beans, but what we wanted to see was Swangers Christmas show. They always had a wonderful show of poultry, wild game, hare, ptarmigan ducks and, always on a marble slab, a big River Shannon salmon.

We would cross over into Minden Street and make our way to Tregears and pick up some items, then past Le Gallais, Eraut and past Le Couter's. Swanger moved to this store in later days.

School books came from Rowe's, the stationer, and then we look at Orviss. Mum wanted something from the drapers and we would cross over to BB Creasey, next to the vegetable market. We continue past Falle's the grocers, and cross over near the Victoria Club. Past the cab stand and into the meat market.

Quite a sight: all the butchers had a show. Some of the names I remember are Oldridge, Pugsley, Norris and Albert; what a show of domestic meats, mutton, pork, quarters of beef, poultry - Geese, chickens, capons all without refrigeration.

Post Office

We would come out and mum would go to the post office at the top of Halkett Place. We would then make our way back past the Red Lion, the ‘’Nouvelle Chronique’’ and Belfords, before stopping at Piquet the chemist. Mum would buy a packet of Seidlitz powders for her headaches. We would then buy some roast chestnuts from the old lady between Piquet and Noel and Porter.

Noel and Porter would have a mechanical toy in the entrance: a coloured boy, and he would roll his eyes which kept us kids amused. Then off down King Street, Colbrook, Voisin’s, De Gruchy’s. Mum would pop into Luce’s for some Eau de Cologne. On to Charing Cross for a bottle of cordial from Le Monniers.

On the way back we would stop at Beghins for a pair of slippers for dad, then home past Hollingshed, Gallichan and Le Geyt, most jewellers. Into Queen Street past Amy and Baker and Krichefski.

Up Colomberie past Parpallons, Ricketts, Bakers to Le Riches Stores and then home to make some paper chains.

This letter was written by G Macey of 5140 South Newland Avenue, Chicago

  • [Editor’s note: Although Walter Guiton’s printing works was established in Bath Street in 1888, the newspaper which he was to print and then acquire, the ‘’Evening Post’’ was not published until 1890]
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