The price of a meal 100 years ago

Judith Ellis

Invoices to Ladbrooks from around the country
Invoices to Ladbrooks from around the country
Invoices from Campden traders
Invoices from Campden traders

Printed receipts from shops may soon be a thing of the past as we move on with contactless payments, a sad loss for for future historians who will not get that ‘feel’ for the human touch of buying and selling.

We are getting great pleasure (as well as dirty fingers!) from looking through a quantity of old bills and receipts from the Ladbrook collection. In the late 1800s, Charles Ladbrook, and then his son Edwin, kept their records of sales of meat from their shop and receipts for their purchases of coal, carcases, even their boots, providing us with the opportunity to study the life of a trader at that time.

Some of the billheads were lavishly illustrated, advertising their own wares but also featuring items such as ‘Milkmaid Milk’ from John Hobbs, who kept the shop now trading as ‘Fillet & Bone’. It will take quite a while to sort the bundles, and some bills that are too damaged will be binned. But there will be enough to tell the story …. did prices go up over the decades? Could everyone afford meat? Was the winter menu different?

If you are interested, please get in touch – first of all we need help in cleaning the pieces of paper of decades of dust!

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