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TV series on the history of shopgirls starts this week

A three-part documentary series on the dramatic rise in the number of women working in shops over the past 150 years starts on Tuesday, June 24 at 9pm.

Presented by social historian Dr Pamela Cox, Shopgirls: The True Story Of Life Behind The Counter will examine the working conditions faced by women on shop floors in the late Victorian era and how their roles changed over the following decades.

The first episode begins in the mid-19th century, when shops up and down the country were owned and staffed almost wholly by men. This changed when male apprentices started seeking jobs in factories instead of shops and women’s groups began actively promoting the employment of women.

By the turn of the century, nearly a quarter of a million women worked in shops.

The next episode, which will air on July 1, looks at how shopgirls’ lives were revolutionised in the 20th century.

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