Victorian London - Shops and Shopping - Bazaars

    Almost endless would be task of enumerating the fine and elegant shops presented to view in the streets of London, and the dazzling array of commodities displayed in the windows. The furnishing ironmonger sets off his polished grates, fenders, candlesticks, &c., to the best advantage; the cabinetmaker, with his french-polished mahogany and his chintz furniture, does his best to tempt the passer-by; the tobacconist, abandoning the twisted clay-pipes and the pigtail tobacco of former days, displays his elegant snuff-boxes, cigar-cases, meerschaums, and hookahs; the perfumer decks his windows with waxen ladies looking ineffably sweet, and gentlemen whose luxuriant moustaches are only equalled by the rosy hue of their cheeks, and oils, creams, and cosmetics from Circassia, Macassar, &c. - nominally, at least; and so on throughout the list of those who supply the wants, real and imaginary, of purchasers. But there are, besides these shops, two or three classes of establishments which occupy distinct and separate positions in respect to the mode in which sales and purchases are made; such as bazaars and general dealers, which merit our notice.
    A modern English bazaar is, after all, not a genuine representative of the class. It is a mingled assemblage of sundry wares rather than wares of one kind. The markets of London might more fittingly claim the designation of bazaars, in respect to the class of commodities sold in each. Gay, writing above a century ago, says - 
    ` Shall the large mutton smoke upon your boards?
     Such Newgate's copious market best affords;
     Wouldst thou with mighty beef augment thy meal?
     Seek Leadenhall; St. James's sends thee veal!
     Thames Street gives cheeses; Covent Garden fruits;
     Moorfields old books; and Monmouth Street old suits.'
    This, which in some of the items is applicable to our own day, represents the true bazaar principle of the East. However, as our bazaars are retail shops, we will take a rapid glance at them.
    The Soho Bazaar stands at the head of its class. It was founded many years ago by a gentleman of some notoriety, and has been uniformly a well-managed concern. It occupies several houses on the north-west corner of Soho Square, and consists of stalls or open counters ranged on both sides of aisles or passages, on two separate floors of the building. These stalls are rented by females, who pay, we believe, something between two and three shillings per day for each. The articles sold at these stalls are almost exclusively pertaining to the dress and personal decoration of ladies and children; such as millinery, lace, gloves, jewellery, &c., and, in the height of ' the season,' the long array of carriages drawn up near the building testifies to the extent of the visits paid by the highborn and the wealthy to this place. Some of the rules of the establishment are very stringent. A plain and modest style of dress, on the part of the young females who serve at the stalls, is invariably insisted on, a matron being at hand to superintend the whole; every stall must have its wares displayed by a particular hour in the morning, under penalty of a fine from the renter; the rent is paid day by day, and if the renter be ill, she has to pay for the services of a substitute, the substitute being such an one as is approved by the principals of the establishment. Nothing can be plainer or more simple than the exterior of this bazaar, but it has all the features of a well-ordered institution.
    The Pantheon Bazaar is a place of more show and pretensions. It was originally a theatre, one of the most fashionable in London; but having met with the discomfitures which have befallen so many of our theatres, it remained untenanted for many years, and was at length entirely remodelled and converted into a bazaar. When we have passed through the entrance porch in Oxford Street, we find ourselves in a vestibule, containing a few sculptures, and from thence a flight of steps lead up to a range of rooms occupied as a picture gallery. These pictures, which are in most cases of rather moderate merit, are placed here for sale, the proprietors of the bazaar receiving a commission or percentage on any picture which may find a purchaser. From these rooms an entrance is obtained to the gallery, or upper-floor of the toy-bazaar, one of the most tasteful places of the kind in London. We look down upon the ground story, from this open gallery, and find it arranged with counters in a very systematical order, loaded with uncountable trinkets. On one counter are articles of millinery; on another lace; on a third gloves and hosiery; on others cutlery, jewellery, toys, children's dresses, children's books, sheets of music, albums and pocket-books, porcelain ornaments, cut-glass ornaments, alabaster figures, artificial flowers, feathers, and a host of other things, principally of a light and ornamental character. Each counter is attended by a young female, as at the Soho Bazaar. On one side of the toy-bazaar is an aviary, supplied with birds for sale in cages; and adjacent to it is a conservatory where plants are displayed in neat array.
    The Pantechnicon is a bazaar for the sale of larger commodities. It is situated in the immediate vicinity of Belgrave Square, and occupies two masses of building on the opposite sides of a narrow street. Carriages constitute one of the principal classes of articles sold at this bazaar: they are ranged in a very long building, and comprise all the usual varieties, from the dress carriage to the light gig, each carriage having its selling price marked on a ticket attached to it. Another department is for the sale of furniture, and consists of several long rooms or galleries filled with pianofortes, tables, chairs, sideboards, chests of drawers, bedsteads, carpets, and all the varied range of household furniture, each article, as in the former case, being ticketed with its selling price. There is a wine department' also, consisting of a range of dry vaults for the reception and display of wines. The bazaar contains likewise a toy-department'; but this is not so extensive as those noticed in the preceding paragraphs.
    The Baker Street Bazaar bears some resemblance to the Pantechnicon, inasmuch as it contains a large array of carriages for sale. But it has somewhat fallen off from its original character; for it was opened as a horse bazaar' for the sale, among other things, of horses. Horses are, we believe, no longer exposed here for sale; and the chief commodities displayed are carriages, harness, horse- furniture and accoutrements, furniture, stoves, and ' furnishing ironmongery.' The ' wax-work' and the ' artificial ice' are exhibitions no way connected with the bazaar other than occupying a portion of the too-extensive premises.
    There is, in the upper part of the Gray's Inn Road, a building called the North London Repository, which gained some kind of celebrity a few years ago as a locality where the principle of ' labour-exchange' was put to the test. Every article sold had a price fixed upon it, such as would afford sixpence per hour for the time and labour of the artificer who made it, and this was to be bartered for some other article priced in a similar way. The scheme was an utter failure; and the building appropriated to it has been since converted into a kind of furniture and carriage depot, or bazaar.
    If the Burlington or Lowther Arcades contained shops of one kind only, they would bear a closer resemblance to the Oriental bazaars than any other places in London; for they are arranged in the long vaulted manner which pictures represent those of the East to be; but they contain paper-hangers, bootmakers, book and print sellers, music-sellers, besides toy-sellers and others. The Lowther Bazaar, opposite to the Lowther Arcade, is simply a large shop, carried on by one owner, but decked out with a variety of fanciful wares. The Opera Colonnade was once somewhat of a bazaar; but it has been shorn of many of its attractions, and is a spiritless affair.
    Next let us glance at the shops where commodities having already rendered service to one set of purchasers are exposed to the view of a second, or perhaps a third. The pawnbroker, the dealer in marine stores, the common broker, the ' old-iron shop.' - these are terms which point to our meaning. As to the multifarious articles displayed in the window of a pawnbroker, they have had a probation of a year and a day, and have been brought from the hidden recesses of the pawnbroker's store-rooms again to see the light. Each article - whether it be a telescope, a gown, a pair of pistols, a coat, a watch, a Bible - has its own tale of sorrow and poverty, and is suggestive of reflection on the ruinous rate of interest and loss at which the poor borrow money.
    But a more remarkable class of such shops includes those which are commonly known as ' broker's shops' and which contain almost every imaginable kind of commodity. Let a pedestrian walk through Monmouth Street and St. Andrew's Street, the New Cut, or any other part of London in a dense and poor neighbourhood, and observe the motley assemblage of articles, some good enough, but not in general requisition, some useful, but shabby, some to all appearance useless, yet all for sale, and he will acquire a general notion of the miscellaneous nature of the lower class of shop trading. Old furniture shops, or curiosity shops, such as we find in Wardour Street, are a new species - and amongst the most interesting. Humbler collections of curiosities are to be found in Monmouth Street, St. Andrew's Street, and the New Cut. We cannot, however, mention Monmouth Street without thinking of its array of second-hand clothing. Gay spoke of it more than a century ago, and it remains the same in principle to the present day. As fashions change, so does the cut of the garments in Monmouth Street change; but the dealers never change: they are the same people, actuated by the same motives, trafficking on the same system, as in by-gone days. In no other part of London is the use of cellar-shops so conspicuous as in Monmouth Street. Every house has its cellar, to which access is gained by a flight of steps from the open street; and every cellar is a shop, mostly for the sale of second-hand boots and shoes, which are ranged round the margin of the entrance; while countless children - noisy, dirty, but happy brats - are loitering within and without.
    Holywell Street, in the Strand, and Field Lane, near Saffron Hill, are two other places where second-hand garments are exposed for sale. The former still maintains a character given to it long ago, that a passenger needs all his resolution to prevent being dragged into the shops whether he will or no; so importunate are the entreaties by which he is invited to buy a brand-new coat, or a splendid waistcoat. Field Lane has a reputation somewhat more equivocal. Its open unsashed windows are loaded with silk handkerchiefs, displayed in dazzling array; and if it be asked how they all came there, we may perhaps arrive at an answer by solving the following police-problem: given, the number of handkerchiefs picked from pockets in the course of a year, to find the number exposed for sale in Field Lane in an equal period. In the immediate vicinity of Drury Lane is another curious assemblage of shops for the sale of old commodities: a small street is occupied almost entirely by open shops or stalls belonging to piece-brokers,' who purchase old garments, and cut out from them such pieces as may be sound enough to patch up other garments; whereby a market is furnished which supplies many a ' jobbing' tailor.
    A word or two respecting the daily economy of London shops. It is curious to mark the symptoms of the waking of huge London from its nightly sleep. Stage-coach travellers, unless where driven to a new system by railroads, have often means of observing this waking when entering or leaving London at a very early hour. There is an hour - after the fashionables have left their balls and parties, the rakes have reached their houses, and the houseless wanderers have found somewhere to lay their heads, but before the sober tradesmen begin the day's labour - when London is particularly still and silent. Had we written this a year ago, we might have had to allude to the poor sooty boy's shrill cry of ' Sweep!' but we may now only speak of the early breakfast-stalls, the early milkmen, and a few others, whose employment takes them into the street at an early hour. Very few. shops indeed, even in the height of summer, are opened before six o'clock; but at that hour the apprentices and shopmen may be seen taking down the shutters from the windows. Time has been when these shutters slid in grooves at the top and bottom of the window, but they now rest on a well-polished brass sill at the bottom, and are fastened with much neatness. The splendour of modern shops has in some cases reached to the shutters themselves, which are highly polished, and not unfrequently figured and decorated with gold; while in the recently-constructed windows of large dimensions sliding shutters of sheet-iron are occasionally used. When the shutters, whatever be their kind, are taken down, we soon see busy indications of cleansing operations going on: how sedulously the glass is wiped, the floor swept, the counters dusted, let the busy apprentice tell. Then comes the shopman or the master, who lays out in the window the goods intended to be displayed that day. Some trades, it is true, allow the goods to remain in the window all night; but in many the shop-window is cleared every evening, again to be filled the next morning. There is singular art and dexterity displayed in this part of the day's proceedings, in laying out the commodities in the most attractive form, especially in the mercers' and drapers' shops. Then, hour after hour, as the streets become gradually filled with walkers and riders, the shopkeeper prepares to receive his customers, whose hours of purchasing depend greatly on the nature of the commodities purchased; the baker has most trade in the morning and afternoon, the butcher and the greengrocer in the forenoon, the publican at noon and in the evening, and so on. In occupations relating to the sale of provisions, a small number of persons can transact a tolerably large trade; but in the drapery line the number of hands is remarkably large, there being some of these establishments in which the shopmen, clerks, cashiers, &c., amount to from fifty to a hundred. One of these, called the ' shop-walker,' has a singular office to fill: his duty being to ' walk the shop,' with a view to see who enters it, and point out to them at what counter, or at what part of the counter, they may be served with the particular commodity required.
    As the evening comes on, the dazzling jets of gas become kindled in one shop after another, till our principal streets have a brilliancy rivalling that of day. The evening-walkers are often a different class from the mid-day walkers, and make purchases of a different kind: some, too, seem to expect that shops shall be kept open for their accommodation till nine, ten, or eleven o'clock, while others uniformly close at seven or eight o'clock. This question of shop- shutting has been a subject of much discussion lately; the shop- men to drapers, druggists, and many other retail traders, having urged the justice of terminating the daily business at such a time as will leave them an hour or two for relaxation or reading. This does not seem to be unreasonable; but, at the same time, a little caution seems to be needful in carrying the plan into practice, since the convenience of the purchasers, in respect to the hours at which they make their purchases, must always be an element to be considered.
    That some streets should be exclusively private, while others are as exclusively occupied by shopkeepers, is a system for which there is good and sufficient reason. It is, in fact, one mode of exemplifying the bazaar-system, in which, when purchases are to be made, a saving of time is effected by congregating the sellers near together. The sellers, too, serve each other, and each thrives by the aid of his neighbour.

Charles Knight, Knight's London, 1842


May be termed the Noah's Arks of ornamental manufactures, since they would be found to contain specimens of every kind of fancy work, should that genus of poetical industry ever become extinct. Money need not be carried when visiting these resorts, as no one ever thinks of buying anything; the main object of these places being, according to the design of certain benevolent founders, to provide an amusing lounge for idlers, rustics, and children at home for the holidays. The more mercenary stall-keepers realize small incomes by ingeniously placing fragile goods on the edge of the counters, so delicately poised, that the slightest touch knocks them down and breaks them, when payment is usually expected.
    The Soho Bazaar is chiefly remarkable for the diverting and expert manner in which the young ladies who keep the stalls run about backwards and forwards through certain apertures, under the counter, like rabbits in a warren. It is generally presumed that this degree of perfection is obtained by much practice, at home, under a shutter placed on the backs of two chairs; but this appears to be a popular error.
    The Western Exchange is principally used as a short-cut from Bond-street to the Burlington Arcade, in wet weather; and is chiefly celebrated for the extreme difficulty encountered in finding out the entrance from the latter place, which is most ingeniously concealed, to puzzle novices and afford a little harmless perplexity, in a pastry-cook's shop.
    The Pantheon is also a thoroughfare from Oxford-street to Marlborough do., and is mostly frequented by governesses with their charges, and lovers of zoology. At one extremity is a conservatory of unknown plants, and evergreen shrubs, occasionally disposed of to horticulturalists who are equally so; and a fountain and basin, filled with what are presumed at first sight to be live red herrings, but which prove to be gold fish upon close examination. There is also an excellent gallery of perpetual pictures upstairs; to which the public are admitted with orders - never to poke sticks or parasols against them. An ancient attendant perfectly recollects the sale of one of these pictures some years back.

Punch, Jan.-Jun, 1842



THE liberal person who threw open this bazaar as a pleasant cut, in wet weather, from Oxford-street to Marlborough-street, conferred a boon upon the Regent-street Loungers for which they cannot be too grateful. It combines the attractions of the Zoological Gardens and National Gallery, together with a condensed essence of all the most entertaining shop-windows; and the passages between its counters, on the ground-floors, form a curious maze, or labyrinth, exceedingly perplexing to novices anxious to arrive at the other end; whilst the approaches abound in objects of interest to the lounger - the most attractive one being the al fresco and gratuitous exhibition of wax-work at the door of the tailor's opposite. The lounger is lost in admiration of the fit of the coat which adorns the gentleman, and wonders if his waist could possibly be made to look so small.
    The majority of the loungers have a prevalent idea that wherever they may be, they themselves form the chief points of attraction and hence they do not regard objects so much with the intention of looking at them as with the notion that they are being looked at the whiles. This is the reason why many of them incline to the chairs against the pillars, in the gallery up-stairs, the possession of which seats, they think, qualifies them for temporary men-about-town - a term applied to those individuals who make themselves conspicuous everywhere but in respectable private society; and from this exalted situation they gaze upon the crowd below with the high bearing which a person who has been fortunate enough to get an order for a private box at the theatres assumes towards the occupiers of the pit. It is generally supposed to be a variety of the same induces people to give apples and buns to the elephants and bears at the aforesaid Zoological Gardens. They do not care a straw whether or no the animals are hungry; but the act of feeding elevates them for a time above the throng of lookers-on, and makes them (as they think) of importance.
    Should there be any pretty girls behind the stalls - a circumstance by no means uncommon at the Pantheon - the lounger frequently passes backwards and forwards, to create an impression by his stylish appearance; and whilst he is, to all appearance, minutely inspecting with much interest the packets of soap and side-combs at a neighbouring counter, he is inwardly thinking whether his trousers set without twisting, and if his attitude shows off his figure to the best advantage in the eyes of the admired one. We have stated the means of the lounger are limited, and, therefore, he does not lay out much money at the emporiums. Admitting, however, that he could occasionally make a few purchases, these would not much assist his Suit, since the most handsome marchandes appear attached to the sale of feminine wares: and allowing his readiness and power to buy, still babies' caps, habit-shirts, and worked collars, although useful in the abstract, are not much in his line.
    Perhaps the only thing which annoys him is the sudden appearance of the stall-keepers at his elbow, as if waiting for an order, when he stops to look over any amusing counter. This is a pantomimical way of saying, "What do you wish to buy, sir? "-a refinement upon the common practice of less retiring young ladies who preside over bread-stalls at fairs, and who, with a shade more of delicate familiarity are wont to accost passers-by with the salutation, "Now, my dear, let me put up a pound of these spice-nuts for you." By the way, we never correctly understood the exhibition of so much unflinching perseverance in the sale of what we always deemed an exceedingly nasty compound of flour, dirt, and treacle.
    The Conservatory is the portion of the Pantheon which the lounger loves to frequent, next to the galleries. He is a walking price-current of the rise and fall of the stocks - and other flowers;  he knows the value of the various bouquets, and the situation of the  rare plants; and he is upon terms of almost familiar acquaintance with the cockatoos and gold-fish; indeed, his feeling towards the tame macaw is one of real gratitude, for having so often attracted the notice of old gentlemen inclined to zoology, who, solely occupied with scratching the bird's poll, are unmindful of the flashing glances their pretty daughters are throwing around, in the general sunshine of which the delighted lounger participates - thinking, even, that they are meant for him alone.
    Were we allowed to suggest an improvement, it would be that the divan-looking apartment at the extremity ought to be converted into a smoking-room; and, as he passes through it, to make a sortie into Marlborough Street, he steals a momentary glimpse of his appearance in the looking-glass - of course, by pure accident - and assumes an imposing carriage, that he may produce an effect upon the individuals who usually occupy the seats "to see the company go in and out" and appear formed of nursery governesses, old maids, and people from the country, conglomerated together in different proportions; for, in this little passage, hall, compartment, or whatever it may be called, nice persons are rarely to be met with as pretty girls in omnibuses or whitebait at Twickenham. The lounger used at one time to stand in awe of the door-keepers, from his constant visits, which, he thought, attracted their notice; but now they take no heed of him, neither does the Lascar who sweeps the crossing, who, finding his solicitations never replied to, has given the lounger up as a bad job, and placed him, at once, on the free list.

Punch, Jul.-Dec. 1842

BAZAARS. Bazaars owe their introduction into this country to the late Mr. Trotter, an army contractor, whose vast clothing concern in Soho Square, converted in 1815 to its present purpose, was the first establishment of the kind formed in London; it consists of several rooms hung with red cloth, and fitted up with mahogany counters, divided into stands, which are occupied by about 200 females. The various articles here exhibited for sale daily attract numerous visitors; and the Soho Bazaar, successful from its commencement, maintains its attraction, and has long been a fashionable lounge. The Pantheon, although the last established, is, in point of general elegance, and splendour of effect, unquestionably the foremost in rank; and, altogether, forms in itself a very excellent exhibition. The ground floor is occupied by a vestibule that leads to the great ball, a room of noble proportions, from whence a corridor conducts to a beautiful conservatory, filled with the choicest flowers, in the centre of which plays a fountain, its base forming a receptacle for gold and silver fish. From the vestibule a grand staircase conducts to a suite of rooms devoted to the purposes of a picture gallery, and to the galleries that surround the sides of the great hall, the area of which is illuminated by an immense skylight ; these latter apartments are throughout arranged in stands, tastefully disposed, and judiciously adapted to the pursuits of the different traders by whom they are occupied. The Pantechnicon, in Motcomb Street, Belgrave Square, is a vast and splendid establishment, consisting of two parts; the northern division being devoted to the purposes of a picture gallery, a furniture establishment, and a mart for the reception and sale of carriages. the southern division entirely to shops for the sale of various articles. The Bazaar, in Baker Street, originally established by Mr. Maberly, upon a great scale, is at present much diminished in extent, and is principally confined to retail dealers in millinery, perfumery, cutlery, jewellery, toys, &c. &c.

Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

bakerstreetbazaar.gif (120394 bytes)

[Baker Street Horse Bazaar (see below) in used for a cattle show in 1845, ed.]

from The Illustrated London News, 1845

see also St. James's Bazaar - click here [more of an exhibition centre? ed.]

PANTECHNICON, BELGRAYE SQUARE. A large bazaar and carriage and furniture repository so called. Here you may send the whole contents of an extensive house- furniture, wine, pictures, even jewellery; and the utmost possible care will be taken of them, at a comparatively small charge. Rent chargeable weekly, for four-wheel carriages, 3s. phaetons, 2s. 6d.; two-wheel carriages, 1s. 6d.; single harness, 6d.; pair harness, 1s., and so on in proportion. Cleaning a four-wheel carriage, 4s.; two-wheel carriage, 2s. The rent chargeable for warehousing light furniture, not exceeding 2? cwt. to the one hundred cubical feet, is 18s. for the first six months, and the sum of 12s. on entering each succeeding half-year and on all heavy goods, the sum of 5s. per cwt. for the first six months, and the sum of 3s. per cwt. on entering each succeeding half- year. No property can be taken away until such charges and monies paid for advertisements, cartage, postage, or otherwise, (if any), shall be discharged. The building is well ventilated, and considered fire-proof; but the risk (if any) of accidents by fire, civil Commotion, or otherwise, will attach to the owners of the property sent to the Pantechnicon to be warehoused. Separate rooms may be had, enclosed with iron, to which owners of property placed therein may attach their own locks and keep the keys. A commission of 5 per cent, is charged on the amount of all sales.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

PANTHEON. A bazaar for fancy goods on the south side of OXFORD STREET-Originally a theatre and public promenade-built by James Wyatt, and opened for the first time in January, 1772. Dr. Johnson visited it in company with Boswell, and both agreed in thinking it inferior to Ranelagh.  ... This, the first building, was burnt down Jan. 14th, 1792; the second was taken down in 1812 ; and the third (the shell of the present) erected the same year. In 1834 it was converted into a bazaar, when the present well-contrived and suitable structure was erected by Sydney Smirke, A.R.A. It is tastefully decorated with paintings, and the glass-house behind, with its flowers, and birds, and fountains, well deserves a visit. It is said to have cost between 30,0001. and 40,0001. The entrance front in Oxford-street is part of Wyatt's original building; there is another entrance in Marlborough- street. Miss Stephens, afterwards Countess of Essex, made-at the Pantheon, in the character of Barbarina-her first appearance on the state.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850


LONDON is not so largely supplied as might be supposed with institutions in the nature of Bazaars; the trade is too widely spread in the leading thoroughfares, which are here devoted to trade. What, are here called Bazaars and Arcades, have shops for the sale of articles of female and fashionable demand. The shops of the Old Exchange, of the New Exchange, and of Exeter Change, were the predecessors of the present establishments, not one of which is of very old date.
    The Pantheon, in Oxford Street, was originally built for a theatre or concert-roots. It now presents a large hall fitted up with stalls for millinery, jewellery, knicknackery, toys, and music, with an upper gallery similarly fitted, and affording a view of the lower area. The attendants of the stalls are young women, and the visitants chiefly women and children. Towards Oxford Street are galleries of pictures for sale. The most remarkable work is a great painting by Haydon, of the Raising of Lazarus. On the ground floor on the Marlborough Street side, by which there is another entrance, is a pretty conservatory, in the oriental style, partly occupied for the sale of florists' flowers and exotic plants, and partly for the sale of parrots, love birds, singing birds, monkeys, loris, white mice, squirrels, and gold fish. This is one of the prettiest parts of the scene.
    The Soho Bazaar, in Soho Square, does not present architectural features, but has fashion in its favour, and its stalls are a favourite female resort. There are no less than 400 saleswomen. The rent of a counter, 4 ft. long, is only a few shillings daily.
    The Bazaar in Baker Street, is best known by Madame Tussaud's Exhibition, and a carriage repository. At Christmas, the Smithfield Club show of fat cattle and agricultural implements is held there. There is a show of ironmongery, stoves, &c.
    The Burlington Arcade, in Piccadilly, is laid out in shops, and is occupied by tradesmen, principally foreigners, of some standing. Here are shops for foreign shoes, flowers, millinery, books and prints, and for hair-dressing.
    The Western Exchange, 10, Old Bond Street, may be considered an accessory of the Burlington Arcade.
    The Lowther Arcade, in the Strand, has less pretensions, but is thronged with children and their attendants, buying toys at the French, German, and Swiss shops.
    The Lowther Bazaar, opposite to it, in the Strand, has stalls for the sale of toys, and there are many objects of interest for the amusement of visitors.
    The Exeter Arcade, in Wellington Street, Strand, is only lately opened, and has as yet neither trade nor visitors.
    The Opera Colonnade runs round the four sides of the Queen's Theatre, in the Haymarket, and is occupied with shops, but is little frequented. In the range, entirely covered in, and parallel with the Haymarket, are several hairdressers' and other shops, where opera glasses and books of the opera can be hired, and great coats, bonnets, &c., left during the opera performances.
    The Piazzas, Covent Garden, formerly a fashionable lounge, have now no peculiar trade feature.
    The Hungerford Arcade is a short range of inconsiderable shops attached to Hungerford Market.
    The Pantechnicon, in Pimlico, is a bazaar for the sale of carriages, pianos, furniture, &c. Furniture and other goods can be warehoused.
    The New Bazaar, about opening in New Oxford Street, promises to be upon a splendid scale; also a new one is now near completion for the use of the good people of Islington, in the Islington Road.

The Pictorial Handbook of London, 1854

see also George Sala in Twice Round the Clock - click here

The Bazaar is an adaptation from the East, the true principle of which is the classification of trades. Thus Paternoster-row, with its books; Newport Market with its butchers' shops; and Monmouth-street with its shoes; are more properly Bazaars  than the miscellaneous stalls assembled under cover, which are in London designated by this name. Exeter 'Change was a great cutlery bazaar; and the row of attorneys' shops in the Lord Mayor's Court Office, in the second Royal Exchange, were a kind of legal Bazaar, the name of each attorney being inscribed upon a projecting signboard. The Crystal Palace of 1851, and the Great Exhibition of 1862, were vast assemblages of Bazaars. The Crystal Palace at Sydenham partakes of this character. 
    The introduction of the Bazaar into the metropolis dates from 1816, when was opened the SOHO BAZAAR, at 4,5, and 6, Soho-square. It was planned solely by Mr. John Trotter, with a truly benevolent motive. At the termination of the War, when a great number of widows, orphans, and relatives of those who had lost their lives on foreign service were in distress and without employment, Mr. Trotter conceived that an establishment at the hands of Government would promote the views of the respectable and industrious (possessing but small means) by affording them advantages to begin business without great risk and outlay of capital. Mr. Trotter, having at that time an extensive range of premises unoccupied, without any idea of personal emolument, offered them to Government, free of expense, for several years, engaging also to undertake their direction and management on the same disinterested terms. His scheme was, however, considered visionary, and his offer rejected. Mr. Trotter then undertook the responsibility himself; the Bazaar was opened 1st February 1816, and by excellent management, the establishment has since flourished; this success being mainly attributable to the selection of persons of respectability as its inmates, for whose protection an efficient superintendence of several matrons is provided. The counters are mostly for fancy goods, and to obtain a tenancy requires a testimonial respectably signed. The success of the Soho Bazaar led to establishments formed by private individuals, but with only temporary success.
    The WESTERN EXCHANGE, Old Bond-street (with an entrance from the Burlington Arcade) was burnt down and not re-established.
    The QUEEN'S BAZAAR, on the north side of Oxford-street, the rear in Castle-street, was destroyed, May 28, 1829, by a fire which commenced at a dioramic exhibition of "the Destruction of York Minster by fire." The Bazaar was rebuilt; but proving unsuccessful, was taken down, and upon the site was built the Princess' Theatre.
    The PANTHEON BAZAAR, on the south side of Oxford-street, with an entrance in Great Marlborough-street, was constructed in 1834, from the designs of Sydney Smirke, A.R.A., within the walls of the Pantheon Theatre, built in 1812; the fronts to Oxford-street and Poland-street being the only remains of the original structure. The magnificent staircase leads to a suite of rooms, in which pictures are placed for sale; and thence to the great Basilical Hall or Bazaar, which is 116 feet long, 88 feet wide, and 60 feet high; it is mostly lighted from curved windows in the roof, which is richly decorated. as are the piers of the arcades, with arabesque scrolls of flowers, fruit and birds; the ornaments of papier-mach? by Bielefield. The style of decoration is from the loggias of the Vatican. The galleries and floor are laid out with counters, and promenades between. From the southern end of the hall is the entrance to an elegant conservatory and aviary, mostly of glass, ornamented in Saracenic style. It was closed in 1867, and the building converted into a wine depot.
    The BAZAAR in Baker-street, Portman-square, was originally established for the sale of horses; but carriages, harness, furniture, stoves, and glass are the commodities now sold here. Madame Tussaud's Wax-work Exhibition occupies the greater part; and here, annually, in December, the Smithfield Club Cattle Show took place.
    The PANTECHNICON, Halkin-street, Belgrave-square, is a Bazaar chiefly for carriages and furniture. Here, too, you may warehouse furniture, wine, pictures, and carriages, for any period, at a light charge compared with house-rent.
    The LOWTHER BAZAAR, nearly opposite the Lowther Arcade, Strand, was a repository of fancy goods, besides a "Magic Cave," and other exhibitions. The establishment was frequently visited by Louis Philippe from 1848 to 1850. The Magic Cave with its cosmoramic pictures, realized 1500l. per annum, at 6d. for each admission. This and the house adjoining, eastward, have fronts of tasteful architectural design.
    ST. JAMES'S BAZAAR, King-street, St. James's-street, was built for Mr. Crockford, in 1832, and has a saloon nearly 200 feet long by 40 wide. Here were exhibited, in 1841, three dioramic tableaux of the second obsequies of Napoleon, in Paris, at December 1841. And in 1844 took place here the first exhibition of Decorative Works for the New Houses of Parliament.
    The COSMORAMA, No. 207-209, Regent-street, originally an exhibition of views of places through large convex lenses, was altered into a Bazaar, subsequently the Prince of Wales's Bazaar.
    The ANTI-CORN-LAW LEAGUE BAZAAR was held in the spring of 1845, when the auditory and stage of Covent-garden Theatre were fitted up for this purpose, and in six weeks, 25,000l. was cleared by the speculation, partly by admission-money. The Theatre was painted as a vast Tudor Hall, by Messrs. Grieve, and illuminated with gas in the day-time; the goods being exhibited for sale on stalls, appropriated to the great manufacturing localities of the United Kingdom. At this time the Theatre was let to the League at 3000 guineas for the term of holding the Bazaar, and one night per week for public meetings throughout one year.
    The PORTLAND BAZAAR, 19, Langham-place, is noted for its "German Fair," and its display of cleverly-modelled toy figures of animals.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867

Near the [Oxford] Circus is the London Crystal Palace, a spacious bazaar for the sale of toys, musical instruments, jewellery &c.

Routledge's Popular Guide to London, [c.1873]


Islington Bazaar, Upper-street, Islington.
London Crystal Palace, Oxford-street, and 9, Great Portland-street.
Soho Bazaar, Soho-square.
Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly
Lowther Arcade, West-Strand; built in the Grecian style.
The Pantechnicon, Motcomb-street, Belgrave-square.
German Fair, 19, Langham-place
Baker-street Bazaar, Baker-street, Portman-square.

Routledge's Popular Guide to London, [c.1873]

Baker-street Bazaar, 28, Baker-street, Oxford-street.?Specialy noticeable for carriages, and Chinese and Japanese goods. NEAREST Railway Station, Baker-street; Omnibus Routes, Baker-street, Edgware-road, Marylebone. road, and Oxford-street; Cab Rank, Dorset-street. 

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

London Crystal Palace, Oxford-circus, and 9, Great Portland-street, Oxford-street.-.. A bazaar for the sale of toys and the cheaper kind of fancy goods NEAREST Railway Station, Portland-road; Omnibus Routes Oxford-street, Regent-st and Great Portland-street; Cab Rank, Great Portland-street.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

Soho Bazaar, 106, Oxford street?The best and oldest bazaar in London, chiefly devoted to the
supply of the various requirements of ladies and children. NEAREST Railway Station, Gower-street, Omnibus Routes, Gt. Portland-street, Oxford-street, Tottenham-court-road; Cab Rank, Deane-street.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

BAZAARS and ARCADES for the sale of millinery, table ornaments, toys, music and other small articles are to be found at various places at the west end of London. Admission free; usually open from 9 to 6. The stalls are mostly attended by young women. Singing and fancy birds are on sale at the Portland Bazaar; and photographic establishments are attached to some of them.
    Soho Bazaar, west side of Soho Square and Oxford Street.
    Pantechnicon, Motcomb, Belgrave Square; destroyed by fire in 1873, now rebuiling.
    London Crystal Palace Bazaar, north side of Oxford Street, near the Circus, with an entrance in Great Portland Street. Chiefly built of glass and iron, from the designs of Owen Jones, with a roof of coloured glass.
    Portland Bazaar, or German Fair, Langham Place, nearly opposite the Polytechnic Institution.
    Baker Street Bazaar, Baker Street, Portman Square.
    Corinthian Bazaar, Argyle Street, built on the side of Argyle House, at present (1875) empty.
    Burlington Arcade, between Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens, west of Burlington House; 600 feet long, with shops at each side. Closes at 8 in the evening.
    Lowther Arcade, between West Strand and Adelaide Street; 245 feet long, with stalls on each side.

Black's Guide to London and Its Environs, (8th ed.) 1882

    In the days before Trade had made those gigantic strides which have since dumped its votaries amid the once sacred pages of Debrett, when knights were not as common as blackberries, and the Victorian Order had not become a terror in the land, when buttermen sold butter, and furniture-men sold furniture, and before huge emporiums for the sale of everything had come into existence, it was "bazaars" that supplied the maximum of selection with the minimum of locomotion, such as to-day is found in the huge caravenserai yclept "Stores" and in Tottenham Court Road and Westbourne Grove in particular.
    In Soho Square, on the western side, where to-day - and all day - men with pronounced features, forbidding countenances, and of usurious tendencies may be seen in a first floor window exchanging views on the iniquitous restrictions associated with stamped paper, a bazaar existed in the long-ago sixties where dogs that squeaked and elephants that wagged their tails might have been bought by children of tender years who, for aught we know, may have since been plucked of their last feather by the vultures that now hover over those happy hunting grounds.
    Turning into Oxford Street there was the Queen's Bazaar, afterward converted into the Princess's Theatre,still with us, with its dismal dingy frontage and limited shelter for ladies with guttural voices; whilst almost opposite was the Pantheon, with perhaps the most chequered career of all, having been, in turn, the National Opera House, the accepted Masquerade House, a theatre and a bazaar till 1867, when it attained its present proud position as the main tap for the supply of Gilbey's multifarious vintages.
    Still further west was the St. James's Bazaar, built by Crockford, and soon converted into a hell, where some monies changed hands and more properties were sold than in all the other bazaars in the universe.
    But perhaps the most tendacious of life was the Baker Street Bazaar. In its spacious area was situated an unpretentious shop (since spread half up the street) with two or three windows in Bakers Street, while on the hinterland was the bazaar, and over it Tussaud's Waxworks. Entering from King Street was the area occupied annually by the Cattle Show, whilst still further space was avaialable - as we were lately informed by the police reports - for empty coffins, false beards, volatile dukes, lead and bricks in bulk, sleeping and reception rooms, scores of flunkeys, and addenda too multifarious to mention. Never having seen the subterranean Duke nor the bewhiskered Druce, one may be permitted to marvel where all this ghastly conglomeration found shelter, and whether the confusion that must have occurred amongst the Dutch dukes, the English shopmen, the cattle, and the Waxworks can in any way be held responsible for the startling contradictions with which we have lately been regaled.

'One of the Old Brigade' (Donald Shaw), London in the Sixties, 1908