Robert Opie began collecting when he was a young boy. “The first thing I remember saving was at the age of three, when I found a round stone and when I showed my mother she said it was a fossilised sea urchin.” After Opie (pic above) had gone down the well-trodden route of stamp collecting he realised that it would more interesting to find a subject that others were not already studying, but one that also had a point and a purpose to it. One day, when he happened to be in Scotland, there in front of him was the answer – it was the packaging that we were all throwing away. That eureka moment came when Opie was 16, he had just bought a pack of Munchies and a packet of McVitie & Prices ginger nuts from a railway vending machine. Here was a story that was part of everyone’s lives and one that would constantly evolve, becoming a social history of Britain.
Apart from a variety of visitors young and old and from all over the world, there is conference space which marketing agencies and companies hire and the museum also gets hired out for evening events. Opie has noticed how grandparents with young children are often reminded of stories as they go round the museum, and it is a great way of understanding history. Opie likes the John Betjeman quote: “Once you understand the past, the confusion of the present becomes clearer.” museumofbrands