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A Visit to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

24th November 2016

This was the first event of the year proposed and organised efficiently by our new master, Mrs Sally Gill. The visit was a huge success.


The Museum is the brainchild of Mr Robert Opie, son of Iona and Peter Opie, the compilers of the renowned Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. It is not surprising that in childhood Robert was always acutely aware of "the past" - as was explained to us in an introductory talk given by friendly and enthusiastic Museum staff, Rose and Jo. Robert realised, as he was discarding the packaging of favourite sweets, that soon he and others might forget the colourful wrapper (and even the sweets) so that he kept the wrapper. Thus began a lifetime of collecting ....... just packaging of "ordinary things", for example, groceries, household goods and soap powder, tins of beans and biscuits.


This almost obsession, one might think, spread backwards to Victorian times and continues to today. Nowadays Robert has thousands of packages, at this museum and at two further locations. The collection also contains advertisements of all kinds, for holidays and music and exhibitions, and household equipment such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners and for the more technical visitors, radios and train sets, and there are many examples of anniversary china, coronation mugs and royal weddings. Needless to say among the Club visitors there were many conversations beginning "I remember..." as everyone spotted toys and games from their own, truth to tell, dim and distant pasts!


Over a tasty two-course lunch amusing anecdotes were exchanged and conversation continued into the afternoon.  It was sad to leave at about three o'clock, after such an enjoyable outing, to fight the cold wind in the gathering winter darkness and to struggle home. Thanks were extended to all the Museum staff, guides and caterers, and also to Sally, our Master, for her inspired Club event. It is certain that many evenings were spent describing to family and other friends the details of the day, thus ensuring future visits and the continuing success of Robert's fascinating museum.



                                                                                        Frances Johnson

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