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Love it or hate it, we all grew up on branding and advertising — and we still do (we’re looking at you Marks and Spencer, with your clever branding and packaging). But how about collecting your household product boxes, your shaving cream tubes, shower gel bottles or Cadbury chocolate wrappers? Surely these go straight to the rubbish or recycling after use? Well, consumer historian, collector and Museum of Brands founder Robert Opie has a different idea.
Throughout his life, Opie has been collecting. Starting with his rock collection at a very young age, he quickly realised that he wanted to have and collect something else that no one was looking to hold onto. Packaging. When other kids moved onto baseball cards, he started saving packaging from cereal boxes.
His passion for advertising and marketing grew with age until his collection began to span across 200 years of English branding. And his beloved Museum of Brands covers it all with a display of over 14,000 items from daily life and British culture. It’s an insight into how everyday lives have changed through the evolution of consumer brands.
A walk through the jam-packed history fueled ‘Time Tunnel’ allows a new generation to see our beloved brands in their historic and contemporary household packaging; whether it be toys, magazines, newspapers, technology, travel, fashion or design. It’s nostalgia in a hallway.
Opie has said of the relocation: ‘We’re proud to unveil the new Museum of Brands. With increasing visitor numbers, the new space has provided the opportunity to vastly improve the visitor experience and to present a brand new way of understanding British culture and lifestyle since the Industrial Revolution. With such a mass of material, it enables a variety of subjects to be put into context.’
After a grand walk through the historic tunnel, Culture Trip London had a nostalgia-fueled trip into the ‘Brand Histories and Origins’ showcase, which displays an array of brands and their progression and development throughout the years. Think a history of Heinz cans and the development of the Cadbury chocolate bar’s packaging, to name a few pieces on display. Some of these brands have changed in a massive way, others very little at all.
The relocation to their new exclusive location in Notting Hill sees the unveiling of the revamped ‘Time Tunnel’, a cool garden café that offers a quiet solace from the manic days on Portobello Road, as well as a venue for hire and learning spaces. The Museum of Brands is an educational charity that works with the local, national and global community to deliver engaging learning experiences related to its displays.
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10AM – 6PM, Sunday 11AM – 5PM