The Daily Telegraph recently reviewed Boutiques by Lucien Boucher, a volume of lithographs of Parisian shopfronts published in 1925 and reissued by The Mainstone Press. It records a world poised at a moment of change, as reflected in its high street shopfronts. A grisly ensemble of prosthetic limbs in the Bandagiste’s window recalls the enduring devastation of the First World War, while a jaunty constellation of gramophone horns looks forward to the jazz age.
In 1938, at another moment of flux, Eric Ravilious published High Street, his own lithographic record of the British high street. More than 80 years on, his vision of the urban high street survives, despite the creep of coffee bars and fashion chains, in market towns across the land.
But for how much longer? In January 1948, the first British supermarket opened and self-service shopping was born. Now technology is poised to eliminate both queuing at