NOSTALGIA lovers in Leeds will soon be able to indulge their passion for the past by finding out more about the story of retail giant Marks and Spencer.
A new building housing the 60,000-piece M&S company archive will open in the city in November, it was confirmed today.
Situated at the University of Leeds, it will be available to academics and students for research and teaching purposes.
But it will also be open to members of the public keen to investigate the history of M&S, started by Michael Marks in Leeds in the 19th century.
The archive includes business papers, advertising materials and merchandise such as clothing, toys and households items. They are currently housed in London and are off limits to the public.
Named after Michael Marks, the new building is the result of a link-up between store and university that was forged in 2009 as part of the former’s 125th anniversary celebrations.
Its opening will create five jobs, including outreach officer, cataloguer and administration assistant.
University vice-chancellor Prof Michael Arthur said: “The collection spans economic, social, artistic and cultural history and will be of interest to [our] staff and students as well as the public.”
M&S company archive head Alison Houston said it was “exciting” to be reconnecting with the firm’s Yorkshire roots.
The finishing touches are due to be put to the three-storey Michael Marks Building’s exterior next month.
Work will then start on the site’s internal fit-out and the collection’s move north.
The ‘Marks In Time’ exhibition at the university’s Parkinson Building of a selection of archive items has now closed.
l The M&S story began in 1884 when Michael Marks opened a stall at Leeds’s Kirkgate Market with a sign next to it saying “Don’t ask the price, it’s a penny”.