by ALICE SCARSI
Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising
111-117 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill, London W11 1QT
Tuesday-Saturday, 10.00am-6.00pm / Sunday, 11.00am-5.00pm
Remember those red tin Oxo boxes grandmothers kept their knitting gear in? In the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising, visitors will find out how their favourite designs evolved throughout the years. Thousands of wrappers and disposable boxes are displayed in this supermarket frozen in time.
“It’s a way of keeping track,” said Robert Opie, owner of the museum. People are constantly surrounded by brands and packages, but rarely consider the effort and history behind the things they idly throw away.
It all began 50 years ago, when Opie decided to keep the empty wrapper of his Munchies. Now, he owns a museum showcasing the fruits of his years of labour.
There are old cans of Coke and boxes of Kellogg’s cereal, an ancient-looking bottle of “Children’s Fever Cure” syrup, and Disco Girls dolls dressed in their best 1970s-style clothes. Young visitors will be surprised by how decorative Christmas cracker boxes used to be.
“I have been gathering things for the last 50 years,” Opie said. “The best objects turn up in old shops, homes and printing houses. I often go to Portobello Road Market and I am in contact with a network of collectors and antique dealers.”
Looking at daily litter might not sound like the most appealing day out, but the experience at the Museum of Brands is educational and recalls the warmth of childhood memories with a flourish of nostalgia.