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August 20, 2021 11:57 AM   Subscribe

UK grocer Sainsbury’s have digitized and uploaded their entire collection of store-brand packaging materials, mostly dating from the 1950s-1980s. [via @mathowie]

The full archive is a surprisingly comprehensive treasure-trove that contains images of nearly every shop ever operated by the chain, recipes, catalogues, and more.
posted by schmod (12 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Fantastic! As a writer of fiction that sometimes leans historical, this kind of thing is invaluable. The internet can be weirdly scanty on rich, vivid detail about the past - I don't just want to know what happened in any given year, but how it felt to live then and the things that gave people's lives texture specific to those times. I spent an evening this week immersed in the 1993-1994 Argos catalogue, initially for research and then just for pure nostalgia. There are a lot of things I don't love about the present, but basically never having to leave my house for research is awesome.
posted by terretu at 12:36 PM on August 20, 2021 [5 favorites]

I spent an evening this week immersed in the 1993-1994 Argos catalogue, initially for research and then just for pure nostalgia.

Wow, I remember poring over this exact version of that catalogue. I bought the Timex "Outdoor Pursuits" watch on page 91/92 and loved it. Probably still have it somewhere.

It's actually astounding how the prices on most items still look about right, nearly 30 years later.
posted by automatronic at 1:28 PM on August 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Impressions: I forgot about decimalization for a bit and was baffled by the pricing, esp versions like '1/2' until I saw a good old 9d price. What's a Bath Chap? And finally, ah, baked things I know from Bake Off.

Thank you for posting! Love these archives of daily use design.
posted by cobaltnine at 1:50 PM on August 20, 2021

The supermarket occasionally print reusable bags with images from their archive on them. I picked up one with this cat food label on one of my UK visits in 2019.
posted by acb at 3:08 PM on August 20, 2021

What's a Bath Chap?

A more generic version of a Bath Oliver?
posted by acb at 3:09 PM on August 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Morrisons, Debenhams, Selfridges, Harrods, Boots, Waterstones...

Sainsbury's stands alone athwart history.
posted by theory at 5:59 PM on August 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Is this the new website for Scarfolk? It is, isn’t it?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 6:40 PM on August 20, 2021

This fills me with a very surprising amount of longing, since I grew up in the United States in the 1980s and have never set foot inside a Sainsbury's. It reminds me of watching all the 60's and 70's British children's programming that early Nickelodeon and my local PBS station aired, sometime in between my 104th and 105th viewing of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Somewhere in my brain, there is a Narnian doppelganger of early 1970s England, filled with strange haircuts and sweaters (jumpers?) and weird candy and washed-out colors; I had largely forgotten about it, but this archive transported me there instantly.

Also, the typography is fantastic.
posted by jordemort at 7:10 PM on August 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

Okay, so far I’ve found wrappers for Tuesday Fresh Sliced Bread and Wednesday Fresh Sliced Bread. Should I continue to look for the rest of the days of the week?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:56 PM on August 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Bookmarked for much later perusal! Retail and advertising history is fascinating.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:04 PM on August 20, 2021

posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:06 PM on August 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

Ahh! The tub of chocolate ice cream that haunted our freezer for years! Long after its original contents had been eaten, it lived on in the chest freezer as a holder for frozen spaghetti sauce. I cannot believe how many times I fell into the trap of thinking we had a tub of ice cream still.

Also, the lemonade in this picture is the essence of childhood picnics... little bottles of room-temperature fizzy lemonade, as often as not drunk in the car while the rain beat down on the roof. Fond memories!
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:42 AM on August 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

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