BOOTH (leel. bill, MUG. huode, Ger. Bade, AS. brain, to dwell). An unpretentious or tem porary structure, either a dwelling or hut of boughs or canvas, or a tent. The name came to be used especially of the stalls or tents at fairs for the installation and sale of wares, for shows, or refreshments. Throughout Europe, in m•dhcval and later times, trade was carried on chiefly by fairs. as is still the ease in many regions. Then booths were set up in the main square of the town, or just outside the walls, in improvised streets. The term was afterwards applied to a tixed stand or shop in the market place for the weekly market day, and also to the permanent shops or warehouses. The reli gious and civil authorities gained considerable revenue from leasing the right to put up such booths. They must be distinguished from the shops that form a part of regular buildings. The porticoes and approaches of churches, the areas of ancient buildings, the spaces in public squares, and on bridges. were in t ime overcrowded
with such booths. which, from being small, one storied affairs, grew into real houses, with cel lar storeroom, with rear workshop, and second story bedroom. Thus a single apartment with a broad, unglazed show front, closed at night by a double woollen shutter. became the work shop and dwelling of the craftsmen. They some times began as 'squatters,' and efforts to dis lodge them often led to trouble (e.g. at Bury Saint Edmunds, in 1192). In old London the most famous line of booths was on Cheapside, in Edinburgh on High Street ('the Boothraw'). As in the bazars (q.v.) of the East. the various trades were usually grouped together. In Italy this devoting of special streets to single trades still survives. The Ponte Vecchio at Florence has been given over to goldsmiths' booths ever since the Fourteenth Century.