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Teachers' notes and discussion ideas

Activity ideas for KS1-KS3

Timeline (KS1/2)

Print out copies of the images of the exteriors of the Glasgow store (1919, 1925, 1930, 1966 (colour) and 1993).  Working in groups, children can be asked  to put the images into chronological order. For KS1 use fewer images and ask them to put them in order from oldest to newest. 


  • How did you know which one was the oldest?
  • How did you know which one was the newest?
  • Which one is a photograph of how the store looks now?
  • Which is the oldest? How do you know?
  • Which is the most recent/newest? How do you know?
  • What clues did you use to help you decide how old the photographs were?
  • What has changed about the way the store fronts looked over time?
  • Are there any similarities between the way the store looked in 1919 and in 1993?

KS2/3 - What has happened to the old M&S stores?
As M&S grew as a company, they needed bigger stores to keep up with customer demand. M&S moved, extended and rebuilt a number of times on Argyle Street. Can you find out what is in those other buildings today? Could you do fieldwork to find out?
  • 1919 – 28 Argyle Street
  • 1930 – 18-26 Argyle Street
In other cities such as Manchester (see ‘Heart of the High Street: Manchester), the stores moved around the city, but this one simply moved along Argyle Street. Why do you think that is?

You will need to take a close look at the images showing what the buildings used to look like. This might help you pinpoint which building on the street used to be M&S ( download a PDF of the images - see also  Downloads link below).

Try looking online (or ask at your local library or archive) for maps and photographs of the street in the past. You may even be able to look at Trade Directories (old versions of Phone Books) to see what businesses or homes were at those addresses in the past. The Related Links at the bottom of the page might help you.
  • Are the original buildings still standing? Or has something new been built in their place?
  • Is it still a business or is it now a home or something else?
  • What shops surround the M&S store on Argyle Street now? What about in the past?
Create a presentation to share your findings as a group. 

Further questions for KS3
  • What can the answers to the questions above tell you about the Argyle Street area?
  • Try and find copies of maps of Glasgow from earlier time periods (see Related Links at the bottom of the page) and compare the types of buildings and layout of the areas when the shops were originally there. How have the areas changed?
Robert Burns (KS2-3)
The current Glasgow store was built on the site of a pub visited in the 18th century by the poet Robert Burns. There is a tablet on the store which reads ‘ Robert Burns lodged here when this building was the Black Bull Inn. He visited Glasgow June 1787, February and March 1788. Scottish Burns Club tablet.’ The Black Bull was an old coaching inn which later became a warehouse and then the new M&S Argyle Street store was opened on the site in June 1966.  

In the store history, there are a number of snippets of stories from the lives of customers and staff. People's personal experiences seem to be incredibly important in the life of the store. Could you use one of them as a springboard to create a poem about the history of M&S in Glasgow and what it means to people?

Poetry can help you explore emotions and sensations. For this reason it’s a great way of expressing ideas about people’s feelings and experiences.   Think about:

Feelings and Emotions
  • How would staff have felt about receiving good reviews in the newspaper? Receiving retirement gifts? Winning football matches? 
  • How would shoppers have felt about a shop which sold them something they had used every day for 30 years?
  • How would staff feel about working together to raise money for charity?
  • What would the sights, sounds and smells of M&S have been in the past (in Victorian Times, During the First World War, in the 1970s or now for example)?
  • What language would people in the past have used?
  • What language could you use which might remind people of M&S?
  • How could you sum up the team-working spirit of the store? 
How could you share your poems with family and friends?


Archive – the home of collections of historical records.
Fieldwork – collecting information from a different place to where you work or go to school.
Trade Directory – Business listings produced before phone books, these listed names and addresses.

See also the teachers' notes page for curriculum links, further images and a range of discussion ideas for KS1-3.

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

M&S Glasgow, 18-26 Argyle Street, 1950
Interior of M&S Glasgow, 18-26 Argyle Street, 1955
M&S Glasgow, 18-26 Argyle Street, 1961
Shop front of M&S Glasgow, 18-26 Argyle Street, 1963 © M&S Company Archive