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Jay’s London General Mourning Warehouse, Regent Street, London

Posted in Historical articles, History, London, Music, Trade on Wednesday, 31 July 2013

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Times and Telegraph Galop, picture, image, illustration

The Times and Telegraph Galop by Emily E Armstrong, music sheet cover by T Packer

Jay’s London General Mourning Warehouse opened in 1841 and quickly established itself as one of the principal shops for mourning attire. It was especially noted for its black silk full mourning, though half mourning was also popular and became increasingly the norm. In providing dress and accessories for funerals and longer periods of mourning, it was careful to offer goods in a wide price range so as to attract the lower middle classes as well as the wealthier Londoners. The firm’s buyers travelled every year to the silk marts of Europe to buy black silk at the most reasonable price. As mourning conventions changed, so did the shop, and by the end of the nineteenth century it was also selling ordinary clothing in sombre colours appropriate to work as well as sad occasions. Prolonged periods of mourning became restricted to royalty and the aristocracy, and the custom of sending flowers to funerals grew enormously among the middle classes, whose busy working lives no longer permitted lengthy funerary formalities. The shop can be seen on the right in this music sheet from the late Victorian period, showing newspaper sellers in the foreground waving The Telegraph and The Times at passengers on an omnibus.

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