Marks & Spencer archive set to open doors to the public

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A BUILDING containing an archive of 70,000 items relating to Marks & Spencer will open to the public on Friday March 16.

The new Michael Marks Building at Leeds University will house the company’s full archive, which has been moved from its previous home in London.

The move will make the archive fully accessible to the public for the first time whilst also opening up the collections to academics and students.

Highlights from the collection will be on display in a dedicated area that will be regularly updated. The exhibition is designed to walk visitors through the company’s 128 year history, from the first buttons sold on Michael Marks’ Penny Bazaar stall in Leeds’ Kirkgate Market and highlighting the product innovation and business growth that have established M&S as an iconic British retailer.

The building’s bespoke design also comprises conference facilities, a dedicated reading room, temperature and humidity controlled units to house M&S’ vast collections and additional space for archived items from the University’s extensive library collections and staff areas.

Alison Houston, Head of the M&S Company Archive, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be just days away from opening the doors of the Michael Marks Building to the public, academics and students for the first time.

“This marks the next chapter in our successful partnership with the University of Leeds and brings the full Company Archive back to the home of M&S.”

A new website, has been launched to coincide with the opening.