Older people make an exhibition of themselves for M&S in Leeds

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Older people in Leeds took a trip down shopping’s memory lane as they staged an exhibition with a definite homely feel.

The Caring Together in Woodhouse and Little London group runs regular visits to the M&S company archive in the Michael Marks building at the University of Leeds.

Members of the group, which offers support to the over-60s, normally chat and share memories brought back by the archive’s massive collection of items from the retail giant’s proud history.

Yesterday, however, Caring Together regulars put on their very own exhibition at the building, which is on the university’s western campus.

The event featured a fascinating array of M&S items which group members had brought along from their own homes.

Vintage pieces of clothing on display included a housecoat, underwear and even a gingham beach suit dating back to the 1960s.

Archive staff had also tracked down photos of items that group members no longer owned but could remember buying from M&S, such as a glass vase purchased by one woman for her mum using her first week’s wages.

Caring Together activities co-ordinator Sara Allkins said: “We called the event Make an Exhibition of Yourself, which seemed an ideal name.

“We wanted it to recall moments from all our lives, stories told through everyday items bought by us and for us from M&S.”

The M&S company archive’s Caroline Bunce said: “It’s incredible how a small object from our archive, or something from the members’ own homes that they would consider as a very ordinary object, can bring out treasured memories.

“I love hearing all of the different stories and hope we can continue to work with this project to further open up the collection we have.”

The M&S archive took up residence in the Michael Marks building in 2012. The M&S story began in 1884 when Mr Marks opened a stall at Leeds’s Kirkgate Market.

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