Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by M&S Company Archive.


Aim of resource:

This resource is part of 'Heart of the High Street', a series that focuses on selected M&S high street stores across the UK, the aim of which is to provide local  history resources in the shape of case study histories.
The images in the following pages show the development of the Bishop Auckland M&S store through time (you can download all the images in a PDF document - see Supporting Links).
Also included in this resource are highlights of archival evidence from the store’s own records, giving you snapshots of the life of the store (see Downloads in Resources)

Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the history of a particular high street store
  • Understanding of how local M&S stores have changed over time and which characteristics have remained the same
  • Skills to use primary sources to gain an understanding of life in the past

Curriculum Links


  • History: Changes within living memory and significant historical events, people and places in their own locality
  • Maths: Addition, subtraction and working with money, sequence events in chronological order
  • Geography: Studying the geography of their school and its surroundings


  • History: A local history study
  • Maths: Practical application of maths – money, percentages and fractions
  • Geography: Observe, measure and record human features of landscape in the local area and changes in locations over time


  • History: A local history study, challenges for Britain 1901 to present day and social, cultural and technological change in post-war British society
  • Maths: Interpreting and solving problems, statistics, fractions, percentages
  • Geography: Analysis and conclusions from geographical data

Discussion Ideas

KS1 – History and Maths 
  • Take a look at the Bishop Auckland store history (see Resources).   Does it sound like a fun place to work, and why? 
  • Look at the 1929 staff photo. How is this store different to shops nowadays?
  • How is the store in the photo from 1911 different from the store in the photo from 2001?
  • How many people worked at the Bishop Auckland store in 1929? How many were women?
KS2 History, Geography and Maths
  • Are there any shops near school? What do they sell?
  • Does your family shop at M&S? What do they buy from there?
  • M&S stores in some places (such as Manchester) moved all over the city to find the right spot, but the Bishop Auckland store just moved a few doors down street, why do  you think that was?
  • The Newgate Street store closed in 2012, how many years was it open?
KS3 History, Geography and Maths
  • Does your family shop at M&S? If so, why do you shop there and what do you buy? If you don’t shop there, who do you think does?
  • In 1930 the Newgate Street store moved to bigger premises and was extended again in 1938. What does that tell you about how well M&S was doing as a business?
  • Why was Newgate Street a good choice of location for starting a business in 1911? Or in 1930 when it moved further along the street?
  • The site M&S moved to in 1930 was another Penny Bazaar that had gone out of business, what do you think might have happened?
  • If M&S occupied 15-17 Newgate Street, how many properties made up the site? 
  • If number 17 had been changed to number 23 on the street, what number do you think the original number 23 would have become?

Why not try the currency convertor on the National Archives website to see how much old M&S prices would be in today’s money? (see Supporting Links).