‘A portal into our beyond’: museum showcases history of brands

Collection of extra than 500,000 objects which include paper cups, jamjars and cleaning soap containers movements to new west London home

Despite his lunchtime excursion of local pound stores, and a pause on the manner again to retrieve a specifically interesting paper cup from a bin, Robert Opie insists he’s a social historian, no longer an obsessed collector.

His Museum of Brands – a display of extra than 12,000 bins, cartons, tins, bottles, jars, packets, posters, games, toys and an artwork deco electric fireplace inside the shape of a Scottie canine – has simply discovered its 1/3, and he hopes final, domestic simply off Ladbroke Grove in west London.

Cigarette packs on the show.

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Cigarette packs on the show. Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian
“It’s a portal into your very own beyond,” says Opie, explaining the way it fascinates older human beings recognising the tea programs, soap packing containers and jam labels of their youngsters, at the same time as young adults are astonished to find out their very own pocket cash candies are already museum pieces. “People immediately make the link between those objects and the important thing moments in their personal lives. Very few locations can try this.”

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The presentations can be residence simplest a fraction of the collection he has constructed on account that he turned into a teen, which runs to greater than 500,000 items. Most of it is in steeply-priced storage and remorselessly growing: paper cups, the sort piled up on speedy food counters, is a new class, while the pound stores are an ordinary source of acquainted brands in gaudy new applications.

 

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Cigarette adverts.
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Cigarette adverts. Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian
The instances within the museum are nonetheless being filled – a wall has been reserved for all things Barbie – but the doorways are already open. Visitors spend hours poring over relics of past due nineteenth and early twentieth-century consumerism.

One ad suggests a pair of fashionable corseted Edwardian women observing rapturously at a wall mild, with one exclaiming: “Look at my Electric Wiring!” Cigarette adverts show garlands of plant life and beautiful ladies for lots many years before the primary ominous fitness warnings seem.

Cereal packets at the Museum of Brands.
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Cereal packets at the Museum of Brands. Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian
As we flow into the war years the colors dim on the packages, which now bring warnings to store every scrap of paper and tin. The well-known shows chart when kings have been topped and princes married: the sick-fated union of Charles and Diana, for instance, is well known on a matchbox.

The union flag ornaments the whole lot from a packet of Andrex tissues to a Ginster’s hen and mushroom pie wrapper to rejoice the wonderful collision of the London Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee: “It becomes a splendid mad second,” says Opie fondly.

A shelf is full of video games.
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A shelf packed with toys and video games. Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian
The collection began after Opie discovered himself hungry during an overnight live in Inverness on a Sunday inside the 1960s. All shops were closed, except for the station shop, where he bought a packet of ginger nut biscuits and a few Mackintosh’s chocolate caramel Munchies. He looked at the yellow and red wrappers and believed he held history in his fingers; starting them so cautiously that fifty-three years later they’re nonetheless immaculate, and on show within the museum.

Collecting runs in the own family. His dad and mom, Peter and Iona Opie, built the best non-public collection of youngsters’ books and literature. It is now a part of the robust Bodleian library in Oxford. They were not amazed while their son discovered his curious new interest, quickly increasing to shoe polish tins, cleaning soap powder packets, cereal containers, and coffee jars. “I came from a family wherein gathering was no longer only endorsed but expected,” Opie says. “When I become lots younger and retaining my Lesney Matchbox motors of their bins, it was my father who stated that I need to annotate them with the date and fee.”

The collection capabilities manufacturers through a long time.
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The collection features brands thru the decades. Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian
After investment his collection thru years of running in market studies, Opie located the museum’s first domestic in an vintage warehouse in Gloucester Docks in 1984. The series then moved to Notting Hill in west London and now to a handsome ground floor space in a commercial block nearby, with a beautiful jungle courtyard garden left through the former tenants, the Terrence Higgins Trust.

No visitor could are aware of it, but the series isn’t always complete. Opie has been attempting to find many years, however, has in no way located the authentic straight-sided Marmite jar, or the very first UK packet of Coco Pops. They are obtainable, he is aware of it, and in the future, he will find them.

Supply of palm trees is declining as many felled timber are sold via alcohol manufacturers. The use of pesticides on plantations kills off the weevils. But for Soor, this is an enterprise with the energy to grow.

“The opportunities for product improvement are infinite. We are considering canned larvae similar to canned fish. The shelf-existence then turns into strong so that you can in reality distribute it a whole lot similarly inside the u . S .,” she says.

“We genuinely suppose it’s far the food of the destiny. I assume the economics of meals and the global constraints on the surroundings talk to that.”