Archives give old adverts a fresh airing

From "Milk's gotta lotta bottle" to "Go to work on an egg", from the Guinness toucan to the Benson and Hedges chameleon, all the advertising classics are tucked away in a quiet corner of Norfolk.

From "Milk's gotta lotta bottle" to "Go to work on an egg", from the Guinness toucan to the Benson and Hedges chameleon, all the advertising classics are tucked away in a quiet corner of Norfolk.

Now students and historians will be able to consult the world's largest archive of British advertising far more easily, after a new research and study centre opened.

Around 70 people were at the History of Advertising Trust (HAT) in Raveningham, near Beccles, yesterday for the opening of the Michael Cudlipp Research and Study Centre and a new archive extension.

It means the unique collection has twice as much space, new roller shelving, and dedicated study space. For the first time there will be space for more than one member of the public at a time to consult the archives, and even for small groups.

Chief executive Barry Cox said: "For the last three years all available space was used for incoming collections. We ended up in really cramped conditions for staff and vir-tually no space for visitors."

The new centre is named after the trust's previous chief executive - and also its first - who died of a heart attack in 2004 at the age of 70. It was Mr Cudlipp, who joined the Sunday Times as Fleet Street's youngest news editor at the age of 23 and was later chief editor of LBC radio, who started the plans for an extension.

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Opening the new centre yesterday, his widow Jane said: "Those of you who knew Michael knew he had a dream, and his dream was a world class centre of research and study for the advertising industry.

"But Michael was not a dreamer, he was a doer. His dedication was an inspiration to all that knew him."

The charity was founded in 1976, and moved to Norfolk in 1992 because it was cheaper than London. After four years in a converted cattle shed it moved to its current premises in 1996, but the growing collection meant that more space was needed.

Now it has millions of images and more than 50,000 television commercials, including Britain's first, for Gibbs SR toothpaste in 1955.

It has recently been given the archives of the British Television Advertising Awards, made up of all the entries to the awards since the 1970s, including the famous 1970s Martians adverts for Smash instant mashed potato.

Curator Chloe Veale said: "We are not just about advertising images, we are about the history of the advertising industry. We keep 130 industry journals here."

The trust's new website, www.hatads.org.uk, was also launched yesterday, and offers a guide to the contents of the HAT collections, a service which will be developed further.

Members of the public pay a small charge to consult the archive by appointment and receive guidance from staff. HAT also has two travelling exhibitions which visit museums and libraries around the country.

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