Thursday, October 25, 2012

Owen, the North, the flame

Co-op and flag
Excellent post this week on The Northener Blog at The Guardian. It is entitled "When Manchester & Salford Lit The Co-op Flame".

"10,000 people gather in Manchester next week for Co-operatives United, the conference of the International Co-operative Alliance which is celebrating the UN International Year of the Co-operative. Michael Herbert looks back to the radical days of the movement in the city and neighbouring Salford."

Here is a fact from the post - the first Co-operative Congress was held in the Spread Eagle public houe on Chapel Street, Salford.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Relics from the 1970's

 Back to the 1970's. It's over 40 years ago, but sometimes when you listen to the radio it is like it never went away.

That old 45 rpm might have been digitized to mp3 so living on but other items from that era are now relics in cupboards.

The trading stamps in place of the dividend. If you asking are they worth anything? Only if someone wants to buy them, and in short no.

The little badges, about 3 cm in diameter were readily available for all sorts of advertising, propaganda and political campaigns from the 1960's onwards.

Not sure how many would have worn this old co-op badge. The cloverleaf design dates from 1968. The colour scheme doesn't make it the most attractive. It was probably given away free and some body's smart idea of low cost marketing. Again you may ask is it worth anything. Only if someone wants to buy them, and in short no.

Compare it to the iconic CND symbol available at the same time in badge form. One of the best known symbols and a design classic dating from 1958 by Gerald Holtom. It is still available to purchase.

If you have any of this ephemera don't throw it out. Fashions change, they don't make it anymore and values can go up.

Related post : Own Brand 1970's.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pic-Nic 1934

There is something charming about the picnic. Been checking out what you would have had back in the 1920's and 1930's. The CWS advert here dates from 1934 and reads like a typical salad dinner you would eat in the summer months.

Not quite the Enid Blyton "Famous Five" (written between 1942 - 1962) who would have had lashings of hard boiled eggs, tomato sandwiches, lemonade, tinned sardines, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread, radishes, Nestlé milk, ginger beer, tins of pineapple chunks, squares of chocolate....

Modern times it could be olives, hummus, fresh peaches and chilled Prosecco from a cooler box. Your mileage may differ. Tupperware boxes of salad or those triangle sandwich packs sold at petrol stations. Maybe the invented traditional of the Ploughman's Lunch.

The advert has a quaint age of innocence. It is old style ready to eat food. If you wished to recreate a 1930's picnic using some of these products then it possible to find current brand equivalents. The fruit squash drink are not yet extinct. Spotted some of those meat paste items at the local co-op. Not a prominent item but still on the shelves. Tinned fruit is a relic when fresh strawberries, albeit not very tasty strawberries, are sold in January.

But the illustration makes it all look spiffing good fun. No wet grass then. Hey, ho we'll all off to scoff  'en plein air', and play some ball games or frisbie afterwards. That's the bit when people think it is pretty smart to do throw and catch.

But the romance of the picnic is still with us, even though the weather hasn't been clement this summer.

The photograph is a colour photograph of a picnic on Stanmore Common in London, taken by R E Owen, 20 May 1929. It's from the National Media Museum which is in looks just how a picnic should with the wicker basket, rugs on the ground and possibly proper glassware...

Further reading : A brief history of the picnic.

You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.