Teachers' notes and discussion ideas

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 here and in the following pages show the development of the Glasgow Argyle Street 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 Glasgow store history (see also Downloads link below).   Does it sound like a fun place to work, and why? 
  • What kind of things did the staff do together?
  • In the window display photo from 1929, what do you think the person is doing?
  • How is this store different to shops nowadays?
  • M&S has been at 2-12, 18-26 and 28 Argyle Street. They were all on the same side of the road. Were they on the side with the odd numbers or the even numbers?  
  • M&S Staff at Argyle Street took part in lots of activities together. In 1982 the Argyle Street team won 4-2 in the final of a 5-a-side football tournament. How many goals did they win by? 

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
  • Argyle Street is a major shopping street in Glasgow. Look at the photographs of the Argyle Street store from 1930, 1961, 1963 and 1993. How has the road itself changed? How have the ways people travel around in the city centre changed from each photograph to the next?
  • At the grand reopening of the store in 1966, the manager opened the doors 25 minutes early. If they were due to open at 9.00am, what time did they actually open?
  • If building started on the 2-12 Argyle Street store in 1963 and finished in 1966, how long did it take to build?
  • In 1961 a customer wrote to say she’d been using an M&S comb for 30 years. What year did she buy it? 

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 1767, Robert Burns stayed in the pub which was on the site of the current M&S store. In what ways do you think the street would have looked different then? What sort of shops might have been along the street next to the pub then? When will it be the 250th anniversary of his visit?
  • When M&S was at 28 Argyle Street the building was one shop wide. When they moved to 18-26 Argyle Street, the store was the size of five shops all together (because all the even numbers were on the same side of the road). How many properties made up 2-12 Argyle Street? What does that tell you about how well M&S was doing as a business?
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. 

View other relevant M&S resources on My Learning or scroll down to the bottom of the page for a list of external links and resources on this topic.