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‘Memories Of The 1980s’
1980s Sweet Memories
by Gibsons

As happens from time to time, I am making a short diversion away from the ‘bookish’ posts you will usually find here, to share one of my other pastimes with you.

Yes! I am a not so secret dissectologist – or someone who enjoys jigsaw puzzle assembly.

Full box image of the jigsaw puzzle Gibsoons 1980s Sweet Memories

Clicking on this Amazon link will allow you to magnify individual montages, for a closer look at all the sweet treats! – although there were some here, that even I did not recognise, nor remember!

MEMORIES OF THE 1980s – (1980s Sweet Memories)

Full box image of the jigsaw puzzle Gibsoons 1980s Sweet MemoriesThe 1980s heralded a new high tech age – mobile phones, home computers and camcorders. At that time it was good to find calm comfort amongst familiar sweet brands and those penny chews. Now it is the time to be nostalgic and reminisce with this jigsaw as the pieces from the past fit together once more.

As the price of confectionary rose during the eighties, the language for selling them moved up a gear. Packs offered “10% extra; at least 3p off; special price; new low price; new longer size; trial price; only 20p” and “one extra Rolo free.”

It was during this decade that barcodes appeared on every product, and the move to flow-wrap packaging began to replace the use of silver foil paper, that had been so much part of chocolate bar wrappers for generations.

New brands included Terry’s Bitz and Pyramint, Rowntree’s Black Magic bar, Cadbury’s Wispa and the novelty interlocking plastic container of ipso sweets to be found in Woolworths stores. On the way out were familiar friends like Fry’s Five Centre, Waifa, Bar Six and the boxed assortment Weekend.

While some pack designs moved tentatively from their original format – Bounty bar added a coconut tree – most clung onto the consistency that had made them popular. For instance, Toblerone had retained the same graphics since launch in 1908. Even so, it was in 1990 that Marathon made the dramatic name change to Snickers, and Opal Fruits became Starburst in 1998.

Image of Gibsons jigsaw Puzzle 1980s Sweet Memories - expanded view no box visible

This evocative and nostalgic series of sweet memory jigsaws will remind us all of running down to the corner shop to buy our favourite treats. Through this series, the changing face of familiar wrappers can be seen, along with the products that have come and gone. Whatever our age, they have played a part in our lives – and our memories.

The items that make up these jigsaws come from the Robert Opie Collection, which is housed at the Museum of Brands in London’s Notting Hill and the Museum of Memories in Weston-Super-Mare. Having saved the packaging and promotional materials around him since he was at school, Robert Opie gathered together the earlier story of mass manufacture from many sources.

In 1975 he held an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and then in 1984 founded Britain’s first museum devoted to the story of our consumer society.

The displays give a sense of the evolving culture and lifestyle since Victorian times, represented through the everyday items that we all take for granted – from motor cars, telephones, holidays and entertainment, to all manner of branded groceries, sweets and household goods.

The collection traces the changes in social taste and tempo, the whims of style and fashion, the advent of aviation, the jazz age and the gradual emancipation of women. It’s through the fabric of daily living – the song sheets, toys, souvenirs, postcards, magazines and posters – that the rich tapestry of the British way of life is woven together.

Full box image of the jigsaw puzzle Gibsoons 1980s Sweet Memories

GIBSONS

Gibsons Games is an independent, family-owned British board game and jigsaw puzzle manufacturer, and the oldest of its kind in the United Kingdom.

In 1903, Harry Gibson managed to obtain an unsecured loan of £500 from the Royal Bank of Scotland in Bishopsgate, London. This generous sum enabled him to start a business, which at that time was called The International Card Co. Trading from offices in Aldersgate Street, he supplied retailers with a range of products including card games and postcards; an unlikely combination these days, but back then, most towns would have a number of stationers in the High Street and they became Harry Percy’s first customers.

The International Card business was sold to the De La Rue Company and H. P. Gibson & Sons Limited was formed in 1919. The International Series brand continued to be used on some products right up to the early 1980s, but H P Gibson & Sons Ltd made its name with the ‘HPG’ brand of indoor games, with old favourites such as L’Attaque and Dover Patrol; huge sellers before and after the Second World War. Sadly the company’s premises, along with all its manufacturing equipment were destroyed during the Blitz in 1940 and when the war ended, it was almost a case of starting from scratch.

Robert and Harry Gibson, sons of the founder, re-established trading from Barrett Street in London’s West End. The company continued to sell its own family games and pastimes, alongside ranges from other established names, including Waddingtons and Chad Valley. 1966 Harry Percy’s grandson, Michael Gibson joined the family business. He remembers his father paying him £11.00 a week out of which he had to pay his mother living expenses. In the late 70s H P Gibson & Sons shortened its name to ‘Gibsons’, and shortly after, in the early 80s, Gibsons introduced their first jigsaw puzzles.

Visit Gibsons at their website

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Image of Gibsons jigsaw Puzzle 1980s Sweet Memories - expanded view no box visible

1980s Sweet Memories, like so many of my jigsaws, was a charity shop purchase, from Dorothy House Hospice shop in Warminster, Wiltshire, where I volunteer.

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article promoting Gibsons puzzles.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a purchase, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from person to person. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract 5 out of 5 stars.

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
  • Well I know this was fun to work since it’s similar to many I’ve enjoyed in recent years. I do recognize several of the names shown as they’re sold here under the same names (Mars, Milky Way, Kit Kat, and a few others). Some I recognize just from reading stories set in the UK and from following UK bloggers.

    I always enjoy seeing what you’ve been working on when it comes to puzzles, Yvonne! Hope you’re in the midst of a fun one now. I’m currently doing one with an irregular border.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I have to admit that over the months, I have amassed pretty much the full set in this puzzle range, both the ‘sweet memories’ and the ‘shopping basket’, both covering several decades. I have tried to intersperse them with other different styles of jigsaw, but perhaps I won’t feature them all here, lest it becomes a bit ‘samey’

      By the 1980s, we were married and had large financial commitments, so there was never really enough spare cash for many sweet treats, which might account for the fact that even I didn’t recognise some of the brands, such as ‘ipso’, ‘Bar Noir’, and ‘Britz’ and I am the first one to admit that I have a very sweet tooth!

      I did have to do a double take when I read the blurb on the back of the box and realised that the Marathon bar had changed its name to Snickers, right back in 1990. I can always remember the hue and cry when that happened, as folks said that it would never be the same again, and here we are , still able to buy it today!

      In the past, I have worked jigsaws with irregular borders and they were always a challenge. Although I have to admit that I prefer a puzzle with irregular shaped pieces – now they are always fun to make.

      I shall look forward to seeing your finished puzzle 🙂

  • Fun post! I remember most of the chocolate bars and sweets but one or two are not familiar at all. I used to love Milky Ways and then suddenly they changed the recipe for the filling and it became inedibly sweet and sickly. And once upon a time it was quite a struggle to finish a Mars Bar!

    • Hi Cath,

      I’m not sure what my favourite bars were, probably Marathon, Bounty (milk chocolate) and Mars – plus one which isn’t on the box, the Finger of Fudge bars!

      Mars bars always used to be best cold from the fridge and then eaten a layer at a time – but you can’t do that anymore, as the new consistency makes it impossible!

      Some of those on the box I will never have tried anyway, as I don’t like dark chocolate. I know it is supposed to be better for you, however if that was all there was available, I would probably be healthier anyway, as I would definitely stop eating the stuff!

      I’m afraid that my taste in jigsaws tends to veer towards the fun end of the spectrum and not quite up to the standards of your last 3,000 piece puzzle, which was amazing!

      It’s nice to see the sun again today 🙂

  • I like this one with all the vintage candy, enjoy it and stay well. My husband started a jigsaw puzzle himself. If he finishes it, I will share a pic. I myself don’t do them, I can’t stay focused on the tiny pieces lol.

    • Hi Naida,

      Both my youngest niece who has been furloughed from work and Dave’s sister who is self-employed and has seen her business decimated, have both been trying to acquire jigsaw puzzles to help them pass the lockdown weeks away – and that is something I never thought I would hear, as they both used to laugh at me when I said I had a puzzle on the go!

      Getting hold of jigsaws is really difficult now though, as everybody must have had the same idea and delivery times are horrendous. Me, I tend to get all my jigsaws from the charity shop where I volunteered, at a fraction of the price of a new one, and I have quite a little stash to keep me going for some time yet. I know that it can’t be guaranteed that all the pieces are there, however over the past 20 years of volunteering, I have got to know many of the regular donors, so I know which stock to trust is going to be complete!

      I just find them so relaxing, although they can be time wasters – not that that matters right now!

      I hope that you are finding plenty to do to pass the time and please stay safe 🙂

  • I love this! I miss so many of these sweets because I can’t eat proper chocolate anymore. In the 1980s my pocket money was more often than not spent on penny sweets but occasionally I would choose a chocolate bar instead.

    • Hi Nikki,

      I find that so may of the sweets I could eat back in my childhood (1960s) and which are still around today, I can no longer eat, as the new recipes contain just too much sugar substitute and other additives.

      The penny sweets were just the best, weren’t they? There are some traditional sweet shops still around, mostly in the tourist hotspots, where they have tried to recreate some of those selections, but once again, they don’t really work for me any more.

      I will still opt for a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate over anything else 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you are all staying safe 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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