IT WAS business as usual for Oxford shops as war approached. The summer sales were coming to an end and shop managers were keen to extract those last few coppers from housewives’ purses to fill their tills.

Elliston & Cavell in Magdalen Street was advertising “all remaining remnants at half the marked price”, while Webbers in High Street was offering “record bargains in each department”, with dresses from 3s 11d and blouses from 1s 11d.

H Samuel at Carfax Buildings promised “drastic reductions all round” on jewellery.

If you wanted a piano, Sydney Acott in High Street was the man to contact, while Boswell’s in Cornmarket Street was the place to go if you needed a trunk.

Gill & Company, the ironmongers in High Street, offered everything for the garden, including tools, seats, tents and hammocks.

Ducker and Son bootmakers promised high-quality service to customers, with “Mr Edward Ducker giving personal attention to those requiring special models made”.

Simonds’ celebrated sparkling ales were on sale from 2s 6d per dozen bottles at 30 Queen Street and 1 Cowley Road.

If you were a farmer, there was a good chance you would need Cooper’s sheep dipping powder, available from J Squire, an agricultural and veterinary chemist, at 41 Queen Street.

Coal merchants were also busy, encouraging families to order coal at summer prices and stock up for winter.

Black Cat cigarettes, pictured, were said to be “superior in quality, mildness and freedom from bite”.

Among other advertisements, The Oxford Times carried a long list of vacancies for maids, servants and cooks. In another column, maids, servants and cooks advertised themselves for hire.

Firms such as E J Brooks and Son were advertising house auctions, while Franklin & Jones tried to entice customers to Oxford and Thame cattle markets and the Oxford Ram Fair.

There was no shortage of advice on how to keep clean and treat various ailments.

According to the manufacturers, Hudson’s soap could not be beaten for washing linen, cleaning the home and washing up after meals.

“Its potency against dirt, drudgery and disorder is proverbial,” it boasted.

It was confidently claimed that D C Witts’ kidney and bladder pills were the “greatest and most successful remedy” for complaints in those parts of the body.

There was also apparently an instant cure for men going grey. They were told: “Don’t look old, keep off the ravages of time by darkening the grey streaks with Lockyer’s Sulphur Hair Restorer”. A large bottle of the super substance cost just 1s 6d.

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