Whitchurch, Hampshire

This shop window was spotted by Stephen Anderson to whom our thanks.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Whitchurch shop windowCourtesy Stephen Anderson
'Brooke
Bond
[packet of PG tips]
Tea you can really taste'

'Brooke
Bond
Tea'

'A Packet for every Pocket
Lyons'
Tea
Always the best'

If you thought the practice of covering up shop windows with signs (so that display cabinets and chiller units can be set against them within the shop) was a modern phenomenon, this photograph shows that the practice goes back quite a way. This old shop window in Whitchurch seems to be split into two. The right-hand side has been changed/patch repaired and has an overhanging strip above. One wonders if it was once an opening similar to shops which sell ice creams through a window to the street? The signs now fill the space and Brooke Bond are the most numerous (including the dark rectangle at upper right).

Brooke Bond
Brooke Bond & Company was founded by Arthur Brooke, who was born in 1845. In 1869 he opened his first tea shop at 23 Market Street, Manchester. Brooke chose the business name because it was his 'bond' to his customers to provide quality teas, hence Brooke Bond. The firm expanded into wholesale tea sales in the 1870s. Brooke Bond's most famous brand is PG Tips, launched in 1930 under the name Pre-Gestee – a variant of the original name 'Digestive Tea'. The name implied that it could be drunk prior to eating food, as a digestive aid. Grocers and salesmen abbreviated it to PG. The company added 'Tips' referring to the fact that only the tips (the top two leaves and bud) of the tea plants are used in the blend.

Lyons' Tea
J. Lyons & Co. was a British restaurant chain, food manufacturing, and hotel conglomerate founded in 1884. In 1918, to increase sales in northern England, Lyons bought the old established tea company Horniman & Sons. From the 1930s Lyons began to develop a pioneering range of teas, biscuits and cakes that were sold in grocery stores across the world. To the public, J. Lyons & Co. were best known for their chain of tea shops which opened from 1894 and finally closed in 1981, and for the Lyons Corner Houses in the West End of London. It was logical that Lyons' Tea was promoted into the domestic tea market.



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