Treasure trove of vintage carrier bags unearthed in Matlock set for auction

A curious collection of vintage Derbyshire carrier bags dating back to the 1950s have been uncovered in Matlock and are set to be auctioned off this summer.

By Ed Dingwall
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 9:36 am
Updated Thursday, 26th May 2022, 9:36 am

The bags come from all sorts of shops and offer a glimpse of a very different high street with an earlier configuration of independent businesses thrived and no Amazon to contend with.

The 73-year-old owner 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. The large shopping bags went in an ottoman by the bed.

“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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The bags come from retailers all over Derbyshire dating back to the 1950s.

The collection includes bags from Matlock’s Hall & Co and Geoff Stevens Menswear, clothing outlet Potters of Buxton, Chesterfield department store Swallows, plus Ranby’s and the Bible and Book Shop in Derby.

It has yet to be decided when the lot will go under the hammer but Charles Hanson, of Hansons Auctioneers, is expecting a bagful of interest.

He 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. The logos and lettering are fascinating to look at. This collection could spark a tidal wave of shopping nostalgia.”

Does anyone remember this one?

He added: “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.

“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 had an admirable waste-not, want-not mentality, one which later generations may struggle to comprehend.”

For more information, see hansonsauctioneers.co.uk.