The Museum of Brands, Notting Hill
The Museum of Brands, Notting Hill

The Museum of Brands is a fascinating exploration of popular culture over the past century, as manifested in our habits as consumers. The museum features everything from posters to postcards, from chip packets to fads you might remember from ... well, a while back!

History

This fascinating museum has its origins, not in London, but in Gloucester. From 1984-2001 the Museum of Advertising and Packaging was operated in Gloucester, showcasing thousands of items from the Robert Opie Collection. The museum closed in 2001 but re-opened 4 years later in Notting Hill, London.

What to See

The museum is laid out as a timeline, or 'time tunnel', leading visitors through the way packaging and advertising consumer products have changed since the early Victorian period until today. There are over 12,000 items on display, from familiar brands to others that have disappeared from our modern supermarket shelves.

Some familiar Cadbury's brands on display
Some familiar Cadbury's brands on display

Aside from showing how boxes, cans, posters, and packaging have changed over the last 2 centuries, the museum shows how shopping habits have also changed, how consumers have become more sophisticated and demanding. See how better transportation changed our shopping habits and how the growth of media affected advertising, from newspapers to radio to television and beyond.

It's a trip down memory lane, but its also a fascinating look at social change. Learn how the two world wars affected shopping expectations, and how greater freedom and more disposable income for women changed packaging and brand-based advertising.

The museum covers the growth - and disappearance - of fads and changing fashions, and covers toys, games, magazines, commemorative products, food, cleaning products, cars, music, television, even sweets and snacks; in short, everything we buy and use in our daily lives.

The museum garden
The museum garden

One of the most interesting themes throughout the museum is commemorative products, starting with a wide variety of mugs, bowls, and boxes made for Queen Victoria's Jubilee and including a similar range of products issued for royal weddings over the last century, including the marriage of Princh Charles and Lady Diana.

Decade by decade, the museum shows how culture has changed, and how it hasn't changed at all! Some exhibits will evoke nostalgic childhood memories, others will simply provide a fascinating glimpse into how consumer branding has changed and affected our lives.

Behind the museum is a wonderfully lush garden area with seating where you can enjoy a bite from the on-site cafe.

The museum entrance mural
The museum entrance mural

Getting There

The Museum of Brands is located on Lancaster Street, a very short stroll from Ladbroke Grove tube station (Circle and Metropolitan & City lines). From the station exit turn right and then right at the next corner onto Lancaster Street. The museum is 100 yards down the street on the opposite side.

Image of the Cadbury goods is kindly provided by the Museum of Brands.