BUSINESS SOUNDS BRISK in this recording of a London greengrocers’ shop (BBC catalogue number 895975) from November 1956. The catalogue entry doesn’t give the exact location and, assuming the recording team didn’t want to travel any further than necessary, it’s likely the shop was in or near central London.
The entry describes the recording as:
Greengrocer: in shop and pavement stall. Actuality of sales patter, sound of till, customers’ voices and traffic background. A second, quieter voice is occasionally heard selling to a customer.
The greengrocers call out for bananas (a shilling a pound), pears (three pounds for half a crown) and Cox’s Orange Pippins, the best-selling British apple variety until overtaken a few years ago by the sweeter, blander Gala.
The habits of daily shopping at the greengrocer, butcher or fishmonger were still well entrenched in London into the 1970s, even though the first supermarket in the country had opened in Manor Park in 1948.
Audio digitisation and restoration by the London Sound Survey. Many thanks to BBC Worldwide for granting permission to reproduce this recording here.