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Memories Of The 1970s
1970s Shopping Basket
Gibsons Puzzles

Image of completed jigsaw vase of purple flowers featured image


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.

Image of Gibsons Jigsaw Puzzle - Memories Of The 1970s - 1970s Shopping Basket

Clicking on this Amazon link will allow you to magnify individual items, for a closer look at all those 1970s shopping basket memories!

NB. The jigsaw I completed was the 1,000 piece version illustrated above. The only link available for enlargement purposes is for the 250 piece tinned version. All illustrations are identical.

MEMORIES OF THE 1970s – (1970s Shopping Basket)

Image of Gibsons Jigsaw Puzzle - Memories Of The 1970s - 1970s Shopping BasketFor many shoppers, the Seventies proved to be an ordeal as they grappled with the reality of decimal coins; the changeover happened in February 1971, and thus the price of a quarter pound of tea went from 1/11d to 9.5p. Two years later, Britain took a leap of faith and joined the European Common Market, and by the end of the decade products had gone metric.

This was a turbulent time economically; an oil crisis and three-day week fuelled inflation which rose for a moment to 25%, and the winter of discontent made housewives wonder whether there would be sugar in the shops.

By the 1970s many familiar brand names were well established. Rice Krispies came to Britain in 1928 and Weetabix in 1932; both Pan Yan Pickle and Horlicks had been on sale since late Victorian times; Twiglets arrived to titillate the taste for cocktails in 1932. Nevertheless, new brands continued to be launched – Alpen set a trend for muesli from 1971 and Country Store followed two years later. Prewett’s whole wheat flakes were quick to mention ‘organically grown’. Pizza in a box began to fill shopping baskets along with Pot Noodle launched in 1977. Fast food retailing began to spread. 

No party would be complete without a supply of Watney’s Party Seven or Four, or a slice of Arctic Roll. By the end of the decade, technology had provided pocket calculators and digital watches, video recording machines and portable VHS home video systems, plus TV games.

Image of Gibsons Jigsaw Puzzle - Memories Of The 1970s - 1970s Shopping Basket

This evocative and nostalgic series of jigsaws illustrate the changing contents of the shopping basket in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The changing face of familiar brands 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.


Image of Gibsons Jigsaw Puzzle - Memories Of The 1970s - 1970s Shopping BasketGibsons 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

Follow Gibsons on Twitter

Connect with Gibsons on Facebook

Image of Gibsons Jigsaw Puzzle - Memories Of The 1970s - 1970s Shopping Basket

1970s Shopping Basket, 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

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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  • I’ve been to the Museum of Brands in London and it was fascinating. I’m interested a bit in marketing and branding, so I enjoyed my visit there and I think I would like to make a puzzle like this one too. 🙂

    • Hi Anca,

      The Museum Of Brands used to be in Gloucester Docks many years ago and we visited a couple of times, as we too enjoy checking out the old branding and marketing.

      Gibsons make a whole series of puzzles based on the Robert Opie collection, including the Shopping Basket, Sweet Memories and the Toy Box. They each have different puzzles covering the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, so there are plenty of different ones to choose from.

      I prefer this style of jigsaw to the traditional ‘chocolate box’ cottages, even though hubbie says they are all time wasters! I find them engrossing and very therapeutic!

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a good weekend 🙂

  • I love designs like this and bet you really enjoyed working this one. I know I would. And unlike the one you shared in my comments yesterday, I actually recognize many of the brands here.

    I also enjoyed your little “history lesson”. The other day something came up in conversation with one of my brothers in which an item was listed by its metric measurement. He made the comment, “thanks to Jimmy Carter, we don’t know how big that is”, referring to the fact President Carter was responsible for us not making that switch. At that point in time, I could easily have made the transition, but now I’m too old! Thank goodness for converter apps for our phones! I will say I much prefer temperature readings in Fahrenheit as opposed to Celsius. It gives a wider range.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Yes! I too remember all of these brands and items, so I am guessing this must have been about the time that products from both sides of the Atlantic appeared on our respective supermarket shelves!

      The blurb about the jigsaw and image sourcing is taken directly from the back of the puzzle box, as both Gibsons and Ravensburger are really good at sharing such information. It is kind of like a book’s premise I suppose and I always enjoy reading it.

      I must admit to still being a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to metrication. Decimalization of coinage was not an issue, but I still tend to convert metric measurements and weights back to imperial and in fact some things are still sold with both lots of signage! Goodness knows what will happen now that we are leaving Europe, perhaps we will change back again? It’s all too much for my poor little brain, especially when all most of us are really worried about right now is staying away from Covid!

      My books and puzzles are keeping me sane and I have a good winter sized stash of both, so hopefully that will see me through 🙂

  • These puzzles are always the most fun to do in my opinion, much more so that photographic scenery with loads of sky that’s all the same colour. I’m currently doing one you did a few months ago, ‘Country Life in the 1900s’ by Ravensburger. I wouldn’t have known about it if it weren’t for you so thanks for that, Yvonne.

    • Hi Cath,

      I have to say, I can’t remember the last time I did a traditional ‘chocolate box’ puzzle, with sky and grass!

      Some might say, and maybe rightfully so, that the multi-image puzzles are easier to do. However I am only concerned with doing a puzzle I enjoy, regardless of its difficulty factor.

      I was a bit too quick off the draw with that Country Life’ jigsaw, as if I had put the review up sooner, or not been so eager to get the puzzle out of the house once I had finished it, when I realized that you liked it so much, I could have sent it on down to you – sorry about that!

      I guess you have worked out that I never do a puzzle more than once either, the same as I seldom, if ever, re-read a book.

      I hope that you are enjoying it and thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  • I like the nostalgia theme, Yvonne. I haven’t tried a 1000 piece puzzle yet but picked up one with a winter theme for the coming months. If I manage to complete it I’ll post a pic (at some point).

    • Hi Mary,

      I have to admit that I seldom get around to scheduling a puzzle post as soon as I have completed it.

      In the same way that it usually takes me quite a while to finish a jigsaw, as I have to limit the amount of time I spend sat at the board each visit, or I tend to get carried away and before I know it a whole afternoon has flown past!

      I don’t tend to make ‘seasonal’ jigsaws either, because as with my books, I have a huge TBR stack of puzzles, so I generally just take the box off the top to make next!

      I look forward to seeing your winter puzzle, when, not if, you finish it!! 🙂

Written by Yvonne