Monday, 14 May 2012
The Museum of Brands is gathering together as many of this years’ commemorative Diamond Jubilee products as it can for its Jubilee, Jubilee exhibition. As more and more souvenirs join the exhibition, which also showcases souvenirs from the reigns of Queen Victoria, George V as well as our own Queen, a picture is developing of Jubilee trends. In particular, the trend for home baking and retro foods is reflected in this year’s exhibits.
As one would expect for an occasion that celebrates the last 60 years, the souvenirs gathered for the exhibition give many a nostalgic nod to the first years of the Queen’s reign. Big brands are releasing packaging designs last seen in the 1950s. Kellogg’s have used authentic drawings from the 1950s for its commemorative packs of Rice Krispies, Frosties and Corn Flakes while Heinz have issued the 1950s packaging of spaghetti and baked beans. Meanwhile Cadbury have released a Diamond Jubilee ‘sharing’ pack of Dairy Milk chocolate. The pack features a central crown and a vintage lettering style borrowed from their 1953 packaging – the year of the Queen’s Coronation and also the year that austerity rationing on chocolate ended.
Cadbury say the large pack is ideal for events like street parties, another theme that will of course emerge from the first batch of Diamond Jubilee souvenirs. “All the accoutrements for an old fashioned street party are available such as bunting adorned with the image of the young Queen Elizabeth, ‘God Save the Queen’ serviettes and gold-edged paper plates”, says Robert Opie, founder of the Museum of Brands.
In line with the recent revival of retro food (especially puddings) this year’s street parties look set to feature foods that would not have looked out of place at the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. Jelly is bouncing back in popularity thanks to trendy jellymongers to the stars Bompas and Parr and celebrity chefs Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson who have all put jelly on their menus. Lydia Leith, who caused a stir last year with her Royal Wedding sick bags, has jumped on the bandwagon with a jelly mould in the shape of Her Majesty’s head. The street parties of the 1977 Silver Jubilee were accompanied by party products such as the ‘Jubilade’ soft drink by the Co-Op, who this time have once again got behind street parties by creating a £10,000 fund to provide food and decorations.
Another British tradition experiencing a revival is afternoon tea for which you can buy an array of Jubilee products. For example, the Museum of Brands is displaying a three-tiered afternoon tea cake stand embellished with images of the royal carriage and for tea-lovers a crown-shaped tea cosy is available. Even the cakes for the themed cake stand can be decorated with Jubilee cupcake wrappers and toppers featuring the Queen’s face.
All of these afternoon tea items, as well as a Jubilee tea towel, tea caddy and a tea tray have been produced in a pale blue colour much popularised by leading British designer Cath Kidston who uses the1950s for inspiration.
One’s afternoon biscuits need not be devoid of Jubilee cheer either. McVitie’s Diamond Jubilee tin features the 1966 image of the Queen used on postage stamps. Never before been allowed for use on non-Royal Mail products, McVitie’s has been granted special permission to use it this year. Afternoon tea can be served in a commemorative royal mug, a tradition that has been a stalwart souvenir ever since Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Compared with the florid designs seen on the Victorian Jubilee mugs, one of this year’s mugs has been given a youthful update with the official diamond Jubilee logo designed by a Blue Peter competition winner.
The diamond motif has been taken to extremes by Finish, who have integrated a diamond shape into their dishwasher rinse aid bottle and Tabasco pepper sauce, who were recently awarded a royal warrant, has packaging covered entirely with images of diamonds.
A spokesperson from the Museum of Brands says, “With these first Diamond Jubilee souvenirs, there is a sense of reflection back to the 1950s, when afternoon tea and home-baking were everyday occurrences. Of course there are less traditional souvenirs too. Among this year’s Jubilee novelties are a solar-powered Queen figurine which waves when put in the sun and even temporary tattoos. What we probably won’t be seeing this year is a Diamond Jubilee cigarette, as launched for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Just as the monarchy has had to move with the times, so have the royal souvenirs.”
Jubilee, Jubilee runs at the Museum of Brands, Notting Hill until 31st August 2012.