Featured Acquisition March 2018


The Sudbury Ephemera Archive has many examples of adverts and some are on paper bags. Shops placed all sold goods in a paper bag with their own name on it and if the article had to be returned or exchanged the trader’s bag was proof it was bought from that store. The graphics on these bags are interesting and give an insight into one method of getting a trade name known in the community; the bags for Alston’s, Dixon and Scott, Head and Woodhead are such examples.

Adverts can be found in the local paper or other publications distributed around the town, such as the transport timetable books described in our article Timetables and Public Transport in November 2017. These insert adverts (which often helped to sponsor a publication and keep the price low for the man in the street) are also examples of the sort of graphics used to appeal to the local people.

Another type of advert is the one displayed on a public noticeboard – some were very elaborate but in the days when adverts like these were exposed to the elements they seem to have been kept simple and informative. The Corn Exchange advert is such an example.

The striking colours we are used to today are something which became more common after the Second World War. Printing and publicity processes have evolved rapidly, particularly during the last century, from the independent printing press company to the widespread adoption of home computing, which has given an opportunity to the private person to produce adverts of their own. The latter has also given us the World Wide Web and Social Media as a means of advertising and of course this does not leave the paper trail* we have seen in the past.

There is also the impact of the commercial channels on TV and radio where using oral and musical accompaniment to the advert the audio and visual senses are targeted and again there is no paper evidence for the archive .

The adverts  give us the names of the business families in the town and also where their establishments could be found, as the address is included in the advert. Using this information one could plot the distribution of the commercial enterprises in Sudbury. If you are interested in doing this, why not visit the Sudbury Ephemera Archive to see more of our collection of advertising materials – you can contact us via the link at the bottom of the page.

(*There are electronic initiatives aimed at capturing this information for posterity, such as the UK Web Archive which ‘contains websites that publish research, that reflect the diversity of lives, interests and activities throughout the UK, and demonstrate web innovation.’ Also note that ‘since April 2013 the British Library has begun to archive the whole of the UK web domain.’ See UK Web Archive for more details).


Previous Featured Acquisitions
Painters and Paintings (Featured Acquisition February 2018)
The Importance of Photographic Evidence (Featured Acquisition January 2018)
Timetables and Public Transport (Featured Acquisition November 2017)
Thornton’s Estate Agency Property Details (Featured Acquisition October 2017)
Local Adverts (Featured Acquisition August 2017)
The Sudbury Parish Recorder (Featured Acquisition July 2017)
The Sudbury Borough Surveyor (Featured Acquisition June 2017)
Elections (Featured Acquisition May 2017)
Trinity Congregational Chapel – Spite Chapel (Featured Acquisition March 2017)
Property Deeds (Featured Acquisition February 2017)
Town Events (Featured Acquisition January 2017
Clubs and Societies (Featured Acquisition December 2016)
Sudbury Grammar School (Featured Acquisition November 2016)
Retail (Featured Acquisition October 2016)
Fire! fire! (Featured Acquisition September 2016)
Carnivals, Regattas and Fetes (Featured Acquisition August 2016)
Autograph books from the Belle Vue Red Cross Hospital Sudbury (Featured Acquisition July 2016)
What can we find out from a receipt? (Featured Acquisition June 2016)
The indenture of Henry Brackett, 6th July 1844 (Featured Acquisition May 2016)
Nuisance Books or Inspectors’ Journals (Featured Acquisition April 2016)

For more details of all the items we hold, see our Ephemera Catalogue.

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