Great Britain witnessed the emergence of department stores in the later 19th century, with a large variety of stores serving British communities by 1900. Such stores in central London were generally frequented by wealthier clients. Department stores also emerged in Glasgow at the same time, and McDonalds was one example of that development. Buchanan Street, on which McDonalds was located, and Argyle Street were particularly popular shopping streets, especially as the city’s fortunes grew. The outbreak of the First World War had a direct impact on London’s department stores, as well as more indirect effects. For instance, the government commandeered the delivery horses of Dickins & Jones, changing how the store moved its goods. Bradleys began producing officers’ uniforms. All of the stores saw staff enlist in large numbers. The fact that these stores continued to produce catalogues throughout the war hints at dual concerns of maintaining their businesses during the conflict but also that catalogues could serve to boost morale by displaying these beautiful images in contrast to the war. Both concerns allowed the stores to keep up appearances. Department stores in London and the First World War
by Dr Jordan Landes, Research Librarian, Senate House Library