eric ravilious

Globalisation has trampled over the individuality of so many of our towns and cities over the past few years, and this makes me incredibly sad. However, out here in the sticks, the good old days of the High Street are still going strong. My village has a wonderful butcher, a fabulous homeware shop, two clothes boutiques, an antique shop and a florist who also sells vintage finds and handmade cushions. I never fail to buy something when I go for a walk, because I am given a personal service and offered products that are specifically designed to appeal to my lifestyle. I certainly don’t have the same experience when I go to the local town, where all I am offered are the same chain stores that seem to be permanently stuffed with products no one, especially me, particularly wants. Popping down to the village for a browse this weekend, I was reminded of this article on Ben Pentreath’s marvellous blog, which is so true in its assessment of how radical an overhaul is needed in order to revive our High Streets and lure customers away from the internet. In order to encourage people back to High Street shopping, shops need to sell things that people actually want and that they can’t buy online. They need to be specialised and catered for their local clientele. They need to entice and excite; they need to offer a tactile, sensual experience that celebrates the joys of shopping. Eric Ravilious‘ beautiful illustrations in his recently republished book depicting the 1930’s British High Street shows just what we are missing. I only wish more retail gurus would read it and take note. – Rachel