This old Horniman’s Tea packet turned up on a market stall a few weeks back. The design is very typical of an ornate Victorian style of overdecoration a number of tea companies used well into the late 1950s to imply a heritage – sometimes imagined (even Tesco used a similar look for a time!) but in this case very real; Horniman’s began business in 1826 and were one of the first firms to package tea in quarter pound bags (so preventing grocers adding hedge clippings and other adulterants to loose tea!).
This particular Hornimans design seems to have lasted a long time, with just the price, originally printed on, changing.


Judging from old adverts I would suggest a date of 1955 for this packet. Not long after this, Hornimans  (they dropped the apostrophe on the packets) and other firms began to drastically simplify their designs to stand out more on the shelves of the new self-service stores. There is an example of this on the later Brooke Bond packet on this site.
Prices were also more volatile and so a space was left where the price could be stamped on shortly before leaving the factory (as in the photo above.)


I do wonder how an empty tea packet has survived some 60 years, but in this case on the inner flap some lad has written “1/3rd ton Army Truck”, clearly a reference to a 1950s Dinky Toy, so it must have been used as a replacement box in some child’s collection.
Anyway, it’s now been added to the small (but daunting!) Easy On The Eye post-war tea packet collection.  The Hornimans brand name survives, but ownership is now traded between multi-nationals.


One thought on “Horniman’s tea

  1. Pingback: Tea packaging | easy on the eye

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