M&S has come a long way since Michael Marks opened his first market stall in Kirkgate Market.  We now have over 790 stores in the UK, more than 450 stores worldwide, and employ almost 86,000 people.  We sell high-quality, great value food and remain the UK market leaders in womenswear, lingerie and menswear. We’re proud of our heritage, and acknowledged the rich history of our business with the addition of ‘EST. 1884’ to the M&S brand mark in 2015.

The archive is held at the Michael Marks building which opened its doors in 2012. Our new home enables us to open up our collection for wider use in our education and outreach programme, visitor exhibition and in our reading room for further research.

The archive collection contains over 70,000 items which documents the history of M&S from the 1880s to the present day, making it a unique resource on the retail history of the UK.  The collection continues to grow and develop, which means that we can support access to internal and external users and help preserve retail history for the future.  Our priorities for collecting include key trends in homeware and menswear, documents relating to international operations, and recording the growth of digital material and online shopping.  We’d love to hear from you if you have anything you’d like to donate to the collection.

The archive inspires new designs, such as this 1960s-inspired dress with beaded collar from the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, and our striking Best of British suits (Autumn/Winter 2013 collection).


T50-157 (ID 2669) 

best of british (ID 2667)

Our location on the University of Leeds campus, and our partnership with Leeds has allowed us to offer a broad range of opportunities to support young people into the workplace. From mentoring programmes to student projects and work placements, young people get the chance to work with colleagues across the business, learning the skills they need for the future.

We also know that the history of M&S is important to lots of people, and there are plenty of ways you can get involved:

Become a volunteer and get hands-on with the collection!  We offer a range of volunteer opportunities including preservation work to help us to care for the archive collection, or helping us to run special events that will get more people engage with the past and present of M&S.

Share your memories of M&S with us. Whether it’s your first memory of M&S in your home town, your favourite product, or your experiences as a customer or employee.

Come to one of our exciting events! We’ve got something to suit everyone, so keep an eye on the events page of our website.

Follow our progress as the Company Archive continues to grow and develop.

Tweet us @MandSHeritage

We're safeguarding the heritage of M&S for the future

As a brand with influence over 250,000 workers worldwide, we work to improve the livelihoods of our suppliers and their communities.

We are reducing how much of our clothing and packaging ends up as landfill by improving packaging, recycling more and using fewer plastic bags.

We've improved labelling to make it easier for you to eat well, and have trained 1,500 Health Advisors to provide advice on healthy living.


Add your comment...

Anna Lourari, Ealing Broadway
Sunday 25 February
Great and quick way of literally scrolling thrugh the history of M&S
Elise, Doncaster
Tuesday 1 October
Very interesting read about M&S from the penny bazzar to raising money for a spitfire to today where the company employ over 86,000 staff
jake, bishop
Thursday 23 January
Bob, Earth
Monday 6 December
Cleony Brohier, Reading, UK
Wednesday 15 June
I am due to start a Marks & Start taster session with the Berkshire store tomorrow (Thursday 16th June 2022). I am doing my research and am a big fan of M & S
Archive Team, Leeds
Thursday 16 June
Hi Cleony, Great to hear you're enjoying your research, and good luck for your taster session! The Archive Team
Liv, Marks n spencers
Tuesday 15 November
Wow so interesting! Massive fan of Percy pigs