Marks & Spencers
Centenary in the town 5 – 7 September 2013
New Road, Gravesend
M&S Gravesend celebrates centenary of trading Marks & Spencer Gravesend is celebrating its 100 year anniversary of trading with a special centenary event for customers and a trip down memory lane of the store’s history. The store will mark its anniversary with a special three day event from 5 – 7 September, giving customers as well as current and former employees the chance to celebrate the store’s significant milestone.
Across the three day celebrations, a variety of in-store activities will be taking place, including food and wine tasting sessions and bucks fizz on arrival. The Mayor of Gravesham will also be attending the event on Friday 6 September at 11.30am.
Customers will also have the chance to learn more about the 129 year history of M&S, from its beginnings as a Penny Bazaar market stall to an international retailer, courtesy of the M&S Company Archive. A temporary Marks in Time exhibition will showcase M&S’ heritage, including imagery, documents and examples of products sold throughout the company’s history, as well as the first ever employee uniform. Some members of staff will also wear replica uniforms of those worn by employees in Gravesend in 1949.
Katie Berry, Store Manager at M&S Gravesend, said: “So much has happened to M&S Gravesend over the past 100 years, for example we were the first store to be awarded a Kent Quality Award for Parnership Activity in 1996 for our work experience scheme. "
" As one of the longest standing retailers in town, this is an important milestone for both the store and our customers. We are very excited to be welcoming customers to visit us and enjoy our special celebrations to mark this historic occasion. "
M&S Gravesend opened at 39 New Road in 1914 and relocated to New Street in 1927, where it remains today. During the extension of this store in 1959, builders found private papers, a diary and legal documents belonging to a wheelwright’s apprentice named Robert Biggs – all of which were wrapped up in a red linen neckerchief. According to dates found on the documents they had lain undiscovered for over 200 years.
Employees from the store have always been very passionate about fundraising. In 1978, two Gravesend sales assistants leapt out of a light aircraft in their first ever parachute jump raising over £130 for the Miss Sparks charity appeal. In 1981, the Gravesend Round Table raised £2,000 with an M&S fashion show and donated £1,000 of the total to ‘Riding for the Disabled’ and in 1989, the store raised £1,000 for the local Lions Hospice Appeal by organising sponsored walks, a swim, cake stall and a jewellery auction.
The M&S Company Archive has a collection of over 70,000 historic items and was unveiled at the University of Leeds’ Michael Marks Building in March 2012. A permanent exhibition, celebrating the role that M&S has played in peoples’ lives since 1884, is available at the M&S Company Archive in Leeds. The exhibition charts the development of the iconic British retailer from its roots at Kirkgate Market to the present day. The exhibition is free and more details can be found on the website - M&S Company Archive and free learning resources are available at Archive and Learning Resources
All text content and B &: W photos taken from an M & S Press Release dated 29 Aug 2013 that was sent to me direct.