“It is easily overlooked that what is now called vintage was once brand new.”Tony Visconti
The cover of January’s “Which” magazine was asking a rather big question recently: “Which brands stand the test of time?”
I guess we only have to open the kitchen cupboards to answer this. A quick survey of my kitchen reveals Birds custard, Tabasco Sauce and Bournville cocoa powder, all longstanding familiar brands from childhood to today. However the best place for a stroll through your own sensational history is definitely the Museum of Brands.
There’s something rather fabulous about stepping back into your own past. To walk through the “Time Tunnel”, where the museum’s extensive collection is displayed, is also a walk down the collective memory lane.
My main reason for going to the museum was to see the collection of jigsaw puzzles, but in fact I was totally absorbed by the retro packaging and designs. As I moved into the sixties and onwards, sensations were continuously triggered. Memories of sweet tastes or vile ones, good times or bad; the objects created a shared cultural experience that got visitors talking and swopping personal stories. I had a hilarious shared moment with some Australian visitors over the Sixties food packets and memorabilia on display.
The museum has two main parts – the Time Tunnel which walks you through design and branding by decades, from the 1800s to the present day and an exhibition of designs which traces the evolution of very well-known packaging.
It’s also curious how much you forget – my absolute favourite chocolate was once Fry’s five centres and there it was! Research online tells me it disappeared in 1992, but once this was my weekly treat from the mobile grocery that pulled into our street on a friday evening. I’d also forgotten Cadbury’s Ice Breaker, another favourite with its little minty crunchy bits and teal blue wrapping. After several hours I actually felt quite exhausted from all the emotion that was evoked by the most unassuming objects – each one packed with memory, sensation and excitement!
The museum also has a gorgeous little courtyard garden and a great cafe – history, hilarity and tea. Perfect.
©Chez l’abeille 2017