The Marks & Spencer experience: High Standards and an opinion from the Royle Family

ON our journey down the nostalgic high street we’ve visited Our Price Records, Woolworths, C&A and Rumbelows. The next stop … Marks & Spencer here we come! Whilst the other shops in our nostalgic high street series have disappeared, M&S are still with us – pretty good going a company that began as a Leeds market stall in 1884. When M&S is mentioned, quality products come to mind – clothes that will keep that ‘like new’ look and above average food. Their name sounds quality and they’ve been setting and delivering high standards for as long as I can remember. The Rolls Royce of the high street – quality and reliability assured.

The Royle Family knew quality

You look absolutely gorgeous, Cheryl.
Don’t she, Mam? You look like a china doll.
It’s really tight.
It’s pinching me under the arms.
Is it, heck.
You look gorgeous and all, Mam.
Don’t she, Cheryl? I had to get something good.
Dave’s mum’s got a suit from Marks.
Can’t let the side down, can I?

The Royle Family may have been described the a family who drank enough tea to fill every swimming pool in the country – the family that ensured the tobacco industry made a huge profit – the family whose mundane conservation whilst sitting in front of the telly made viewers roar with laughter, but they knew clothes from Marks were top quality. The above dialogue sums it up. Marks was on a completely different level when compared to the stuff Twiggy flogged to his mates!

Food glorious food

‘You pay a bit more at Marks, but you know you’d get quality.’

M&S have always been renowned for their delicious range of quality foods. Once in the food area of their stores, shoppers would spend a little extra time browsing the new and exciting food on offer. They were pioneers at bringing new and different foods to the high street and their range still dazzles today. They are bold and innovative – check out a few of their achievements:

Whole chilled chicken (instead of frozen) was introduced to their shelves in the 60s

First major retailer to introduce sell by dates in 1973

Indian and Chinese ready meals were first trialed in 1974

Also in 1974, foil wrapped, boil in the bag foods were introduced

The first UK retailer to sell the Chicken Kiev in 1979

Sandwiches were relaunched in 1980 – Prawn & Mayonnaise was the most popular!

The Marks & Spencer experience

The M&S journey continues. Maybe you still have clothes tucked away in the wardrobe that you purchased years ago that still looks like new. Perhaps you have fond memories of some of the delicious foods from the yesteryears (of course we can still get our hands on the delicious range they have today). Can you remember your first Marks & Spencer experience? For many, that first experience led to M&S being part of their weekly shopping experience for many years.

A nostalgic collection of stories featuring a fun and factual look back at British advertising, leisure and entertainment from the 70s & 80s are featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Get the rundown and get your copy by clicking on the image below:

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