Exhibition Talk: Aide-mémoire: Shopping Lists

22 October, 2022

14:00 - 15:00

FREE with general admission

The talk will cover what the lists reveal about the ways people shop, what they buy and for what occasion – from the mundane to the extraordinary! It will delve into the more personal aspects of the lists – what they reveal about the person behind the list – the nuances, their humour, their handwriting, and their spelling.  The collection is a fascinating snapshot of people’s everyday lives.


  • Why and how the collection started
  • Changes during lockdowns
  • What they reveal – potential age of list maker, demographic, popular choices, humour, similarities & differences of abbreviations, spelling, handwriting, paper/item written on
  • Popular brands
  • The Extraordinary
  • The aspect of voyeurism attached to collecting the lists
  • The universality of list-making across all demographics
  • What the collection means to the collector
  • What happens next with regards to the collection

About the Speaker

Lucy Ireland Gray was born in Liverpool and studied Archaeology at Durham University before moving to London to work in publishing PR.  After starting a family and moving to Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire, she now works as the Communications Manager at an all-girls state secondary school.  When not working (or collecting shopping lists!), she paints, creates and writes.  Lucy has performed some of her own poetry at open mic events and several of her short plays have been featured in local playwriting festivals. She is currently working on some short stories.

The Museum’s professional development programme is generously supported by The Marketors’ Trust @marketors

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