London retail innovation, 1900

The smallest shop in London - a shoe salesman with a 1.2 square meter shoe store, 1900. (via Kadrey) READ THE REST

At last, the proper use of the word “innovation” in context.

Well, it’s still bigger than my actual flat.

Luxury! He’s even got a roof over his head.

I’ve seen this photo before but I’ve never been able to figure out if he’s standing in a sunken area or if he’s been amputated at the waist. Given that it dates to 1900, it seems unlikely that surgical techniques of the time would allow for the latter, but who knows?

He looks more like a sidewalk peddler who found a clever way to get out of the rain.

Looks like some “shops” we saw while in Istanbul a few years ago. People here and there selling what little they can to make any money they are able.

I’m skeptical. I don’t see a reference on the source blog. How do they know the area of the shop? Why would a shoe salesman with such little stock not bother to lay it out neatly?

I see misery. Imagine standing chest level to the sidewalk with the sewer drain to your immediate right. Rain water must have seeped into the space along with the dirt of city sidewalks. A passerby could have thoughtlessly tossed a cigarette butt in the man’s face or a dog could lift a leg or a rat crawl in. But that’s just me.

Now that’s what you call directed marketing; the guy’s on target!

It’s a little-known fact*, but this model of shoe salesmanship was to inspire generations of subsequent shoe salesmen to adopt the same approach, but only until the release of Clockwork Orange.

Not a good way to sell Doc Martens to hoodlums.

There’s doors like these in boston. It just goes to the cellar. Bars even have ramps to slide kegs down. This guy is just trying to elicit sympathy to sell shoes. He doesn’t have it bad.

Perhaps he used to be called Paquette la Chantefleurie.

I wish I could find an equivalent flat like that in East London

My guess is he uses the coal cellar of the shop above, and he is looking out of a cellar entrance where the sacks of coal are poured in. He would be fine in summer: in winter, he would have to get out of the way when the coal is delivered, and probably shovel it somewhere else so he could get his shop back. If he is a cobbler, he can work at the window where there is light, and he does not need to display a lot of stock. Cunning.

He’s in a basement; ironically, not what is known as an English basement, at least around here.

The original pop-up shop?

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