Victorian curiosity shops revealed

Gun stores, tripe dressers and feather merchants were among the popular retailers in Victorian times, a new study has revealed.

Leech importers and "curiosity dealers" also did a roaring trade in the Victorian era and are among hundreds of retail trades which are now extinct.

Research among hundreds of trade directories by family history website Ancestry.co.uk covering the 1820-1893 period also showed that the typical shopping basket of the day would include moustache grease, leeches, and a pint of blood.

Butchers would sell slaughtered animal blood as it was thought to combat tuberculosis if drunk once a week, while arsenic could be bought from a chemist to kill rats and mice.

The most popular stores were milliners and dressmakers, shoe shops, book sellers, butchers and wine and spirit merchants.

Miriam Silverman, of Ancestry.co.uk said: "Our ancestors will certainly have headed to the high street to pick up their shopping essentials, but it's interesting just how different this experience would have been and how fascinating the items were that our forebears would have bought regularly."