M&S Penny Bazaars

Discussion ideas

This page suggests ways in which the material in this resource can be used with different subjects, as prompts for discussion and extension activities.  

You can also use the Related Links at the bottom of the page to discover further resources to support the activities below and to stimulate discussion.


KS2 History: 

  • A penny at the time of the first M&S Penny Bazaars was worth about 25p in today's money. How many things can you think of that you could buy for 25p? 

KS3 Human Geography: 

  • The word bazaar means marketplace or  souk. Find out in which countries you would find a souk. Think of some words to describe shopping in a souk.
  • Why do you think Michael Marks used the word 'bazaar' to suggest his market stall was different? 


  • Can you think of a present-day shop that is similar to the Penny Bazaar? Are there any near you, and what sort of goods do they sell?  (the previous page has more discussion ideas about the  first fixed price shops)
  • The takings on the first day the Cross Arcade opened were £175, but all the staff had to be paid and the shop had to be fitted out and kept smart.  What basic expenses of running a store have to be subtracted from the takings to work out the profit?
  • Are there any shops now where you are not allowed to browse? For what reasons would you not be allowed to handle the products?
  • These days the majority of shops encourage browsing - how does M&S distinguish itself from others shops today?  

KS3 Citizenship:  

  • The full time wage for shop assistants in 1906 was 7s 6d a week, which was considered very good in those days.  Find out what the minimum wage for young people is today, and how old you have to be to qualify for it, then discuss whether you think this is fair?  (the Related Links below might help).
  • Look at the staff photograph c.1906 - they are all women apart from the manager and one other male who is wearing a uniform. What might his job have been?  Discuss whether shop assistants today are mainly male or female.  Why do you think that is so?


Haberdashery - small items for sewing such as buttons, ribbons and zips
Hardware - fixtures, equipment, tools and devices for making or repairing objects or structures
Innovation - solutions that meet new needs, novelty, modernisation

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