The war had an influence on every element of daily life including local businesses. The outbreak of war was a frightening time for many business owners. Lots of businesses changed the way they advertised and the products they stocked in reaction to the war. Many businesses were in constant fear of panic-buying and adapted their stock to appeal to the changing demand during wartime: for example, Sheard Binnington, a furniture shop adjoining the Mansion House, began stocking Red Cross hospital beds and furnishings in response to new demand.
Dennis Roberts & Son, ‘the leading drapers’, at 21-27 St Sepulchre Gate, sold goods to be sent to men at the Front. These ‘war comforts’ would prove to be lucrative for local businesses. As well as comforts, the war also affected fashion and even children’s toys, with Dennis Roberts and Son offering military curve corsets and Sheard, Binnington & Co selling toy military hospitals.
Many business, such as Millards furniture shop, changed their advertising campaigns to reflect war time interests. One effect the war had upon advertising was that anti-German feeling began to spread after war was declared, and business owners went to great lengths to tell their customers that they were not German and did not deal in German goods.