Lesser-known London

An occasional blog on events and places in London that aren’t usually found in the usual tourist guides.

No 1: The Museum of Brands

Museum of Brands (1)

I was alerted to the Museum of Brands by a visiting American teacher. It used to be somewhere near Portobello Road but it’s now moved to a slightly tucked-away street off Ladbroke Grove. It is not yet fully open but come January 2016 it will be twice its current size.

Browsing through the packets of washing powder and jam jars and tins of baked beans is like taking a trip through English social history, from Victorian times onwards. I was reminded both how much things have changed and how much they’ve stayed the same, and the products that made it and those that didn’t. Obviously when a brand is recognised it’s not going to change its logo, so Marmite is still very recongisably Marmite and Perrier doesn’t seem to have altered at all.

One is also reminded of changing perceptions of what is ‘appropriate’: so for instance All-Bran is no longer promoted as ‘the natural laxative food’ (it’s now ‘Natural Wheat Bran fibre’), and Guinness is no longer good for you. (Well, that’s a matter of a opinion, but they’re no longer allowed to make the claim.)

The war-less 1920s show the American influence of dance and jazz, so there’s Ragtime Candy and Dance Chocolates and Ragtime Cheroots. The 1940s reflect austerity and recycling in a surprisingly familiar way.

(museumofbrands.com)

(museumofbrands.com)

A little gem, much recommended. Watch the website for the date of its proper opening, somewhere around mid January 2016.

The Museum of Brands, 111-117 Lancaster Road,  W11 1QT www.museumofbrands.com

Opening hours Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm.
Entry Adults £7.50, Concs £5.

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