A Marks and Spencer’s trip – back in time

I heard via a little bird that my local M&S near work was celebrating 100 years of trading a few weeks ago. Naturally I made sure I popped along to see what it was all about.

Marks and Spencer in Hammersmith, London is usually most notable for the hungry hoards of workers who descend upon it every lunchtime. They swarm the aisles and come 14:00 little remains on the shelves apart from the odd rather sad looking egg and cress sandwich. In truth I rarely brave the madness unless I need tights. So as I made my way to the store I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but the little bird (in a form of an email) had used some great archive pictures so I was hoping it would brighten up my Thursday lunch time as the weather was awful. Picture from email below:

As we made it to the entrance I spotted some old photos of the store in the window, one of them was from 1932:

Inside it was a lot busier than normal and lots was happening. They had displayed some M&S outfits from over the years at the front of the store and they had a lady singing to set the tone. I really liked the original Marks and Spencer uniform which was in a glass display case which I think they should bring back – very retro. If only they had them when I had done my work experience back in 1997!

They had displays of old adverts from over the years, a raffle on and wine tasting.  Why not it was after 12.00 after all!

I met a wonderful staff member giving out leaflets for the M&S company archive. This got me very interested as I didn’t know they had one. She explained that she had gone to the archive which is based in Leeds a while back and as a result had donated a dress her mother had owned. Now if anyone requests to see that dress it will be under her mother’s name and her memory will live on. She said her mother had always loved the shop and it seemed fitting. I was really touched and pleased she had shared her story with me (all while wearing a vintage apron which looked great on her). Check out the website about the archive for yourself it’s worth a look. I would like to go if I am up in Leeds at any point.

As you know I like to talk and so stopping at one staff member was not enough! As I was taking more pictures of the archive photos I was introduced to the store manager. He told me that the staff members of the store had all collected pieces for the event and after these treasures would go to the company archive. It was clear everyone had worked really hard on the event, I couldn’t help joke they should have called me for pieces!

Take a look at me with a few of their finds:

After the event I had to go through my bits to see what old pieces I had from Marks and Spencer. I found a brown leather bag I use for the summer as it’s small, a winter tartan skirt that would look great in the office and in my Mrs Fox’s collection I found the below dress:

In honor of this piece and because I go on holiday in less than 2 weeks (I really need to sort out some outfits for this) I bought this amazing St Michael summer skirt.  I wear it with pride knowing a little more about the company. Plus it was only £3.50!

The skirt in action:

Hope you like it as much as I do.

What’s your best Marks and Spencer outfit (come on admit it there’s one somewhere in the wardrobe)?

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