Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by M&S Company Archive.

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 here and in the following pages show the development of the Manchester M&S store through time (you can download all the images in a PDF document to print out - see also Downloads link below).

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 (download Store History - see also Downloads below).

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 history of the Manchester store (see also Downloads below). Does it sound like a fun place to work, why?
  • What is a hero? Donald Gould who worked at the store in the 1930s and 40s was a war hero (you can read about him in the store history).
  • What kind of a man do you think he was?
  • What traits do you think a hero has? Can you find out from the store history if Donald had any of these traits*?
    (*Traits -  qualities or characteristics of a person)
  • In the 1925 interior of the M&S store, some items are priced at more than a penny, what other prices can you see?
  • Packs of pins are priced at 2 pence, how much would 5 sets of pins cost? How many pence is 5 x 2 pence?
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
  • Donald Gould worked at the Manchester store before and after World War Two. You can read more about him in the store history ( see also Downloads below). What else can you find out about him? Where could you look?
  • Have a look at the photograph of the interior of the store in 1925. 
  • 1 penny in 1925 would be worth 12 pence in today’s money. How much would a 4 pence item be in today’s money? 
  • Pins are priced at 2 pence, but there is a 50% off sale. How much will a pack of pins cost you?
KS3 History, Geography and Maths
  • Although the founder of M&S, Michael Marks, lived in Leeds, the first Penny Bazaar was actually in Manchester (Cheetham Hill Road which opened in 1894), and he and his family moved in above the shop. Why do you think he chose Manchester for his first store?

  • In the photograph of the Manchester store from 1929, there is a shop to the right which has closed. What do you think has happened and why?

  • 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 1931, staff at the Manchester store were paid £1 a week, with an extra weeks' pay at Christmas. How much did they get paid a year? If the staff got a 10% increase in their wages, how much would they earn a week? 

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 Related Links at the bottom of the page.

You can also download all the images in a PDF document - see Downloads link below.