For all the advances in technology, from digital downloads to curved televisions, there is a part of many British people that cannot steer themselves completely away from the past. As opposed to out with the old and in with the new, for many it’s more a case of in with the old, as well as with what’s new.
In many towns these days there is a shop that specialises in all things yesteryear – and unlike other retail enterprises, they don’t seem to be falling out of business in great numbers due to buyers' changing habits or the presence of the internet.
They are shops not only old fashioned in what they sell, but also in their environment. Far away from the speed, hustle and bustle of modern day shopping, many are almost museum-like in the way that the customers visibly reminisce as they browse.
There doesn’t seem to be a particular type of item that we Britons long for here – it merely appears to be a craving for the past when it comes to most things – no matter how weird or wonderful.
From a popular 1970s board game to an old advertising sign from post-war Britain, items such as these are gleefully snapped up by nostalgia hungry consumers.
The modern day High Street hasn’t escaped this British fascination with things from days gone by either, with many companies recognising the appeal (and opportunity) of going back in time.
Online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, do great business with retro goods sales. Especially the former, who made this type of product available like no other following its launch in 1995.
Far from being just a sentimental thing, our love affair with the past is indeed big business for those companies that have identified the opportunity to supply consumers with their dose of feel-good nostalgia. Across the board, the past is available out there to enjoy and often even own again.
Football supporters take great pride and pleasure in wearing their club’s shirt from the old days, irrespective of their age or the generation gap. Confectioners still carry a good stock of sweets that were popular a century ago.
Then of course after spending decades stored away in garages and lofts, there’s the good old LP record making a comeback – with great success. Not to mention the turntables, and hi-fi systems that they play on.
Polaroid Cameras never seem to be out of fashion, whilst gamers can’t resist returning to the adventures of the eighties and nineties consoles for their fix – despite the advanced nature of modern products.
The list doesn’t stop there. There’s retro furniture makers, comic shops, car dealers and so on, and so on. At car boot sales and markets, items from the past are always of great interest and much sought after.
Across the country there are a great number of nostalgia and retro fairs and shows. The themes can range from vintage clothing through to the ever-popular vinyl record fairs.
There’s also a deep affection for many of the TV series that appeared on the screens of the nation and entertained millions of people. Granted, some are very easily forgotten, but there are many that have enjoyed several renaissances over time.
Classics such as Starsky and Hutch, and Dad’s Army have both received the modern-day treatment and been adapted into big screen movie productions – and they’re not the only ones.
That occasional desire of returning to the warmth and comfort of the past it not just a sentimental journey anymore. Through the preservation, and restoration of many of its treasures, much of it is still very much a reality.
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