Vintage carrier bags including Swallows of Chesterfield found in Derbyshire home could spark 'tidal wave of shopping nostalgia'

A curious collection of vintage Derbyshire carrier bags dating back to the 1950s have been uncovered in Matlock.

Thursday, 26th May 2022, 2:24 pm

The 73-year-owner kept the large shopping bags in an ottoman by the bed ‘because everything has a value’.

She said: “I was brought up in very different times. I was taught to value everything. We recycled and treated things with respect. Anything that might be useful was kept.

“A bag from Fletcher’s, a butcher in Matlock, takes me back to my childhood. I remember going there with my mum when I was five or six and watching meat being put into the bag. It must be nearly 70 years old.”

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Swallows of Chesterfield store (photo: R. Wilsher/Chesterfield Library)

The collection includes bags supplied by Swallows of Chesterfield and Geoff Stevens Menswear in Matlock and others relating to shops in Buxton, Derby and Leek, saved by the seller and her family throughout the decades.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “I was both fascinated and flabbergasted by this find in equal measure. I have come across vintage carrier bags before but never in such large numbers, and they’ve been so well cared for. It’s incredible, really. They’re set for auction with a guide price of £40-£60.

“They’re rich in social history value. They will delight older generations in the county thanks to the memories they’re sure to invoke. They offer a glimpse of what shopping in Derbyshire was like around 70 years ago. The logos and lettering are fascinating to look at. This collection could spark a tidal wave of shopping nostalgia.

“Some of the businesses which feature on the bags are no longer with us but I’m pleased to say that others are still going strong which, considering the pandemic and tough economic times, is a wonderful thing.”

Charles added: “In a world calling for more recycling and green initiatives, we should never forget that the people who grew up during and just after the Second World War were born into frugality.

“They developed an admirable waste-not, want-not mentality, one which later generations may struggle to comprehend. Plus, in a world grappling with plastic waste, the vast majority of the vintage bags in this collection are made out of paper.”

The carrier bags will be auctioned during the summer.