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Florence Cole as a child

British newsagents
in the early 20th century

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This page isased on childhood recollections of shops in Edmonton, north London in Edwardian times.

The newsagents in Silver Street was a very small shop indeed, and it carried newspapers, magazines, books and comics as well as tobacco and cigarettes. It always seemed to me to be a man's shop, as the men bought their tobacco there, and when they bought their evening papers, they would stand and chat about the latest war news. Morning papers were delivered which meant that the shopkeepers had to get up very early in the mornings to organise. The owners were a husband and wife team, along with a lady relative.

Newsagents in Edmonton, 1911

My mother wrote that the newsagents in Edmonton were the Swaystons, but I am unable to find Swayston in the 1911 census. Perhaps they came later or perhaps my mother did not know how to spell the name.

Pat Cryer, webmaster
and daughter of the author

I think the name of the newsagent at 117 was Swainston, a slightly different spelling.

Pat Slocombe

Children's comics were very popular, and I remember there was School Friend for girls. A very popular boys series was Billy Bunter.

Women were not really catered for, although I do recall The Lady and Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.

Two other periodicals were Tits Bits and Strand Magazine. The first was little more than human interest stories whereas The Strand Magazine was filled with interesting information. We really looked forward to these periodicals with their little bits about the outside world.

Newsagents also sold tobacco, which was very widely smoked when I was a child.

Everyday pipes were made of clay and more expensive ones of wood.

If you have an old photo which illustrates the way of life that my mother describes, I would very much appreciate a copy.

Pat Cryer, webmaster

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