During the First World War the League of Loyal Women ran the Trench Comforts Shop in Bowman’s Arcade to raise money for the troops. It was reborn in 1920 as the Women’s Work Depot, and in 1922 became a co-operative which shared the profits among the workers. It rented a shop in Gawler Place and sold smocked baby’s clothes, embroidered underwear and even made trousseaus to order. In addition, home made cakes, jams and biscuits stocked its shelves. In 1923 it began offering a darning service for silk stockings after the Governor’s wife and her maid had given lessons to the workers. Initially there was some discussion about who could supply the shop – should they only be women who needed the money. They decided to stock the best, whoever made it.

The shop moved to North Adelaide in 1960 and finally closed in 1986. Fewer and fewer women were making goods to supply the shelves.

By Pat Stretton

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