Shopgirls: Life Behind the Counter

Thursday 11 June / 6–8pm

Join the team who created the BBC television series Shopgirls to hear the true story of the incredible women behind the counters of Britain’s most famous – and not so famous – stores.

Historian Pamela Cox and television producer and writer Annabel Hobley reveal the enterprising and courageous accounts of some of the unsung army of shopgirls at the heart of Britain’s retail revolution, from the Victorian age through to the present day.

The history of women in retail encompasses young apprentices, Selfridges staff who needed to fight for their good name, suffragettes, impoverished interwar chain store assistants, the first generation of female graduate trainees, 1940s working mums, the art school entrepreneurs who kick-started the boutique movement of the swinging ’60s and the impressive individuals who championed the rights of these women thoughout.

As this lively talk reveals, the story of British shopgirls - and their spirited camaraderie - is one woven deep into the fabric of our history and changes the way we understand our society. You will never shop in the same way again.

Price £15 / £12 students
The event starts at 6pm with a glass of wine in the Museum foyer and evening view of Riviera Style; the talk follows at 6.15pm for 6.30pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including an opportunity to ask questions at the end. The talk is followed by a book signing. ‘Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter’ is available for purchase from the Fashion and Textile Museum exhibition shop.

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Numbers are limited for this event, please book early to avoid disappointment.
If you have any questions about this event please complete our enquiry form

Pamela Cox is a social historian at the University of Essex. She has presented two major history series for BBC Two - ‘Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter’ (2014) and ‘Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs’ (2012), both produced by Annabel Hobley. Her previous books include Bad Girls (2012) and Becoming Delinquent (2002).

Annabel Hobley is a television producer and writer. Her credits for the BBC, ITV and More4 include Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter; Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs; McQueen & I, a documentary on fashion icons Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow; and The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon, about an extraordinary treasure trove of Edwardian films.

Images from left to right: ‘Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter’ book cover; Shopgirls Illustration Pictures © Harrods Archive

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