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.
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)
The 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.
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.
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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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.