London: A Museum of Brands

23rd May 2014
Pól Ó Conghaile

Tucked away in a leafy Notting Hill mews is one of London’s best little museums.

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising houses the private collection of Robert Opie, who has amassed some 12,000 products, posters and other vintage materials illustrating how brands evolved through advertising – and how we evolved with them.

The museum takes the form of a zigzagging time tunnel, packing display cases with brands like Bovril, Guinness, Disney, Fry’s, Colman’s and Heinz. Highlights including Cadbury treats (‘the lady loves Milk Tray…’) and the earliest royal souvenirs, including mugs commemorating the marriage of Victoria and Albert in 1840… proving the Wills & Kate tea towels were nothing new.

“Lots of people reach a point where they start recognising things from their childhood,” the attendant tells me. “It’s like, oops, it’s in a museum now!”

For me, it’s the Star Wars figures – unchanged since the late 1970s.

After your visit, be sure to pop into the gift shop, where retro-inspired items range from vintage posters to old fashioned toys, games and scrapbooks (there was life before Pinterest, you know). A little tearoom offers tea, coffee and “retro style ice creams available for our visitors to enjoy on sunny days.”

Best of all, vintage ads play on the TV as you wait.

All that’s missing is Don Draper.

Details: museumofbrands.com; £6.50.