This advert for the Bon Marché store in Brixton appeared in the Bromley & District Times in early January 1917. The cost of ladies boots was 12s (shillings) 11d (pence), which, if I remember correctly, is about 65p in today’s money!
However, when you think that some families had to manage on £1 (20 shillings) was a lot of money for a working class woman!
Brixton’s Bon Marché department store opened in 1877. It claimed to be the first purpose built department store in the UK and was the brainchild of Mr. James Smith of Tooting. A printer by trade, Smith was also a proprietor of the Sportsman newspaper. After winning a fortune in 1876 at Newmarket with a racehorse he owned call ‘Roseberry’, he used the £80,000 prize money to fund the construction of a department store in Brixton which he was to call Bon Marché
The building was based on the original Bon Marché in Paris, however the the Brixton model was unusual in that it began as a department store, rather than as a small shop that later expanded.
Not to be confused with the modern Bonmarché store chain which was founded in 1982 by Parkash Singh Chima who started his business on market stalls in Wiltex and Hartley in Yorkshire