Today I was lucky enough to be able to visit Joe: the most dedicated collector of Rowntree’s memorabilia I’ve ever met. Joe has been collecting Rowntree’s packaging (and moulds, and photos, and jars, and catalogues…) for 55 years and has created his own private museum. Not many people get a chance to see inside this secret location, but this morning I was one of the chosen few.
My photos can’t do justice to the World of After Eight where every surface from floor to ceiling is covered with the thin mint’s logo; the full-size advertising billboard that swallows up the wall above the stairs; the pristine 1920s chocolate foils bright as fireworks; the years-old patina on the chocolate moulds and tins; the never-ending hand-crafted cabinets; the electric Mad Hatter’s tea party; the sweet shop in the hall.
It is perplexing, and it is a paradise, and it is perfect.
A still rarer glimpse into this hidden world is available through three excellently made films on the Rowntree Society website; follow this link to see: http://www.rowntreesociety.org.uk/rowntree-films/