Marks Spencer Takes Newcastle Store Back Time
Monday, 14 September 2009
Newcastle Marks & Spencer store is to host a special three day exhibition of key pieces from the M&S Company Archive, as part of M&S' 125th birthday celebrations.
The exhibition tour will be visiting 25 M&S stores across the country following the successful launch of 'Marks in Time,' M&S' 125th birthday exhibition at the University of Leeds, which showcases over 200 archive pieces.
From 15th September, a selection of the key items will be on display in the Newcastle store. The exhibition includes some of the earliest M&S merchandise sold in the M&S Penny Bazaars from 1894 to 1925; the first ever UK wide uniform for M&S employees worn in 1949, and commemorative food packaging based on the original 1950s' designs held in the company archive. In addition, the exhibition provides a brief history of M&S told through a range of iconic photographs taken over the last 125 years.
On 17th September, Robert Rumble from the company's archive team will be on hand to guide customers through the exhibition and answer questions about M&S' heritage. The company archive will also be able to accept items from customers who wish to donate their M&S pieces to the archive collection.
Kirsty Shields, Company Archivist, said: "Our 125th birthday exhibition tour has enabled us to showcase a selection of M&S memorabilia to our customers and employees across the country. It's a great opportunity for everyone to get a real taste of our company heritage, especially for those who are unable to visit the full exhibition in Leeds."
'Marks in Time', is a free exhibition housed in the University of Leeds' Centenary Gallery within the Parkinson Building. It showcases the M&S journey from market stall to international retailer and highlights the role M&S has played in British cultural history since Michael Marks, the company's founder, opened his first stall at Leeds' Kirkgate Market in 1884.
The exhibition is the first phase of a unique partnership between M&S and the University of Leeds, who have agreed plans for the relocation of the entire company archive to a purpose-built location on the western campus.
During the exhibition at Newcastle M&S store, customers and employees will also be able to join the 'Friends of the M&S Company Archive' membership scheme. For an annual membership fee of £15 members will receive regular newsletters detailing progress and events at the archive, exclusive postcards, an M&S 125 pin and gift card.
M&S has a dedicated exhibition website which offers an insight into the items on display, http://www.marksintime.marksandspencer.com/. The website also allows members of the public to post their favourite M&S memories.
To download pictures of the M&S archive collection, please visit: www.marksandspencer.com/imagelibrary
For more information on the history of M&S, please visit: www.marksandspencer.com/thecompany
Notes to Editors
The M&S Company Archive - Background
- The M&S Company Archive has been deemed by independent experts as having the potential to be one of the UK's finest commercial archives. It includes clothing, toys, books, homeware and food packaging. It also offers an unrivalled insight into the company's corporate history as it includes an extensive collection of internal and external company documents.
- The Business Archives Council was consulted regarding M&S' archive and arranged for Peter Scott, Professor of International Business History at the University of Reading's Henley Business School, to conduct an academic evaluation.
- His report rated the archive as a collection of international importance, containing a wealth of valuable information regarding Marks & Spencer's heritage, the history of British high street fashion and food retailing.
- The archive is deemed to be of considerable value to scholars due to the economic and social importance of M&S - lending itself to a number of research projects from the evolution of the company, development of staff welfare programmes and financial performance through to the growth of the store network and the range and nature of products provided to a growing mass market.
- Historians of fashion and design will find merchandise artefacts of particular value to track the development of high street fashion. Other material lends itself to historical studies of household consumption and mass marketing through illustration of the evolving relationship between M&S and its customers, which is of considerable importance to British economic and social history.