Aide-mémoire: Shopping Lists

On display from 8 October – 31 March 2023

Our new display shows the collection of over 200 shopping lists compiled since 2016 by collector Lucy Ireland Gray in the town of Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. Since then, friends and family have donated lists from around the globe – although the collecting stalled slightly during the national lockdowns when supermarket cleanliness went into overdrive and Lucy was reluctant to collect any discarded lists.

What makes the shopping lists so special is not so much the content, but how they are written, what they are written on, and the personal notes sent to the shopper. Reading them is a personal and emotional insight into the person behind the list.

The new display also provides us with an intimate look at our consumer behaviours in the 21st century. Each list gives an insight into trends, tastes, the continuing popularity of old favourites, the mundane and the downright bizarre! From the spelling and handwriting to the paper they are written on and the order they are written, the lists expose people’s tastes, their habits, their celebrations, and the things they find important. They show a snapshot of everyday domesticity in 21st-century England and share an insight into a person’s life.

Alongside the exhibition, the museum will be hosting activities suitable for children of all ages including brand new interactive activities for preschool children where they can make their own shopping list and find the items to fill their basket.

Admission tickets to the Museum include full access to our exhibitions, displays and trails. By buying a ticket you are helping us to continue with our mission. The Museum of Brands is a registered Charity no. 1093538.