As Britain's population grew and the country became more urbanised and industrialised in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, so the number of shops increased. An army of shopkeepers and shopworkers emerged ready to cater for all clientele and to spend long hours behind the counters of small local shops or the lavish department stores, like Selfridges, that opened during the elegant Edwardian era. Pamela Horn tells the story of the people who worked in the retail trade from the beginning of the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Behind the Counter reveals the largely hidden personal stories of working life in corner shops, 'high class' grocers, dress shops, department stores. For the most part, shopworkers were expected to be obedient and subservient, even to 'live in' as if they were domestic servants. Assistants who lived in were subjected to fines for leaving bedrooms untidy, for bringing in visitors or loitering near their lodgings. Even those who didn't live in were carefully supervised.