1960 - 1970

During this decade, customers wanted labour-saving products to improve and bring a modern touch to their lives. Marks & Spencer not only created these modern new items but also got them from the laboratory to the store shelves rapidly. Our customers could have the very latest innovations on a bigger scale than ever before.

M&S innovations included new products made from the man-made fabric terylene. A type of polyester, it was very popular because it was so practical and hardwearing.

yellow-and-white-terylene (ID 1393)

By the end of the 1960s we were also thinking up safe ways of selling dairy products and meats, beginning with chicken. Most stores at the time sold their poultry frozen because of the risks of bacteria causing food poisoning. But M&S believed customers wanted fresh products and began to explore safe ways of selling chilled, rather than frozen, meat.

In order to keep meat fresh M&S invented the ‘cold-chain’ process. Chickens were chilled straight after slaughter, carried in refrigerated trucks, kept in refrigerated storage, and sold from refrigerated counters – all at 4 degrees centigrade. The entire cold-chain process, developed with our suppliers, was specially made to our own design, and was unique at the time.
M&S was the first major British retailer to offer fresh, chilled chicken

This is a girl’s jumper, bought in 1969. It’s made from Orlon, a man-made wool. We now sell a more modern version of Orlon called Cashmillon.

Watch M&S adverts from the 1960s

As miniskirts became fashionable, tights became essential. American Tan was the shade that all of our sales assistants wore in the 1960s.

Lycra was first used within M&S for corsetry. This stretchy fabric was used for girdles, which had replaced the stiffer corsets.

Over the years, staff uniforms have changed according to fashions. The M&S Company Archive holds many different examples.

M&S has always found innovative solutions to customers' changing lifestyles


Add your comment...

David , Kendal
Saturday 3 February
When was m&s kendal cumbria first opened?
Company Archive, Leeds
Thursday 7 February
Hi David, the Kendal store opened on 10th May 1935.
Evaline Foster, Shrewsbury
Sunday 17 February
Who opened the new market st store in1961
M&S Company Archive, Leeds
Monday 18 February
Hi Evaline, we need a bit more info to help with your enquiry. Could you email us at company.archive@marksandspencer.com?
Christine, Hemingby
Thursday 11 April
When did the St Michael Brand cease to exist?
M&S Company Archive, Leeds
Monday 15 April
Hi Christine, St Michael lasted from 1928 until 2000.
Liz Bright , Corby
Tuesday 4 June
When did Marks open in Northampton
M&S Company Archive, Leeds
Wednesday 12 June
Hi Liz, A Penny Bazaar opened at 17 The Drapery in Northampton in 1907. This was followed by a new store at 26-28 Gold Street on the 4th October 1929.
Pam Stubberfield, Isle of Wight
Tuesday 9 July
When did M&S win the Queen’s award for Export?
The Archive Team, Leeds
Thursday 11 July
Hi Pam, We won the Queen's Award for Export in 1993. Best wishes, The Archive Team
Colin Wingfield, High Wycombe
Thursday 5 September
What was Arthur Edward Giffard's job at marks and Spencer
Company Archive, Leeds
Monday 9 September
Hi Colin, Arthur Giffard was Estates Manager. Email us at company.archive@marksandspencer.com if there's anything else we can help with.
Barry Howard, Inverurie
Friday 4 October
Did M&S used to have a farm in north Hampshire in the 1960s
Company Archive, Leeds
Monday 7 October
Hi Barry, We're not sure about this one - could you email company.archive@marksandspencer.com and we'll try to find out more.
Ms Jones, Wirral , Merseyside
Wednesday 29 April
What was the name of the company who made your clothes in the 1960/1970s from Merseyside
Glynnis Walker, Wakefield West Yorkshire.
Wednesday 29 July
I worked for Marks & Spencers from 1969, remember doing an interview with Richard Whitley in Leeds store. It was named Working Together. Do you still have the film?
Barrie, Cramlington, Northumberland
Thursday 1 October
I am sure that we used to buy canned celery hearts in the 1960's. when was it stopped?
Aarti, London
Thursday 19 November
During what period did M&S/St Michael say that over 95% of your goods were produced in Britain?
Archive Team, Leeds
Tuesday 24 November
Hi Aarti, In the 1950s to early 1970s, 99% of our goods were British made. By 1980, the figure was 90% British made – this often appeared on our carrier bags in the 1980s. Best wishes The Archive Team
Antonia, Surrey
Wednesday 25 November
When did M&S sell paintings? I have one and am trying to date it. It says Marks and Spencer London Paris on the back.
The Archive Team, Leeds
Thursday 26 November
Hi Antonia, We'd love to help with your painting. If you could send some pictures of it to company.archive@marksandspencer.com we will see what we can discover!