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Saturday, 30 March 2013

Shopping Saturday - Marks in Time


Marks and Spencer is close to the heart of many a Brit, or at least close to their skin - or in their underwear drawer.  Marks in Time is the website of the M&S company Archives, and it recently celebrated its first anniversary. The archive itself is housed in the University of Leeds, and the website is well worth a visit, whether you are a serious student of retail history or you just like looking at old pictures. The site makes very good use of the company's extensive collection of images - photographs of buildings and people, and packaging and merchandise. For the Baby Boomer generation, that iconic 1970's fashion statement platform shoes will take you right back! You can do simple or advanced searches of the catalogue, with an option to select only items with images, and you can choose from a drop-down menu of subjects such as 'wartime', 'food and home', 'children' and so on. When I searched for all items with images in the category 'women', I found, as expected, lots of clothing items, but also wine labels and bars of chocolate. Makes sense, I suppose.

As well as the archive catalogue, there is a history of the company since its famous start as a Penny Bazaar in Leeds Market, complete with a timeline, biographies and memories. There is also a fine collection of resources for schools, including a game where you match the fashion to the decade. I have already spent more time than I intended to exploring - well, it's cold outside! Feel free to do the same.

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