Dementia programme unlocking memories through historic brands gets cash boost

A Kensington and Chelsea museum helping Londoners with dementia to unlock memories has received an £80,000 cash boost.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, awarded the money to the Museum of Brands to fund a new London-wide project exploring the power of everyday household products to evoke the past and inspire new ideas.

Advertising and brands are known to have value in reminiscence work by using the powerful ability of familiar objects and signage from the past to unlock memories.

The Museum has a unique set of resources with the evocative power to engage and stimulate memory through creative, multi-sensory activities. Participants can listen to old advertising jingles, sniff smelling samples such as Lifebuoy Soap - introduced by Lever Brothers in 1895 in England - and handle collections of replica branded goods from years gone by. 

Over 40,000 people aged over 60 have visited the museum since its launch and the organisation has run three dementia-related projects which have been shown to improve older people’s wellbeing.

The £80,000 grant will fund a full-time project worker and project costs, allowing the Museum of Brands to take Brand Memories into care homes for those older people unable to travel.

Alison Gowman, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, commented:

“This project will help people living with dementia – a community that, as their mobility and cognitive abilities diminish, can often miss out.

“By working with other agencies, such as the Alzheimer’s Society, this project will reach hundreds of older people across the capital, providing the opportunity to fondly remember, look back and unlock powerful memories.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to making London a to place to work and live.”

Anna Terry, Development Director of the Museum of Brands said:

“We are delighted to have the support of City Bridge Trust for this exciting new project, which is the cumulation of the knowledge we’ve gained from working with people with dementia over the past 10 years.

“At the Museum of Brands we are committed to reaching wider and bigger audiences and this project marks our first significant outreach initiative, helping us take our inspiring and emotive collection to people who are unable to visit in person.

“We have seen how well people living with dementia respond to the heritage brands, posters and jingles in our collection and look forward to exploring this further. We are grateful to City Bridge Trust for helping us to work with new audiences and expand our remit by supporting the establishment of a new department in our Museum.”

The Brand Memories programme will be supported by a team of Londoners who will gain experience in Museum education and working with the elderly.

A volunteer, Maria Franco said:

“As a qualified teacher with a passion for art and design, the opportunity to volunteer and work at the Museum is exciting. I enjoy gaining new skills such as running workshops, crafting social media posts and sharing the evolution of our everyday products and brands with learners of all ages and nationalities.”

Established in 2002, and first opened in London in 2005, the Museum of Brands is an educational charity and aims to improve quality of life and increase social inclusion for the public through the arts, specifically providing access to over 15,000 objects and preserving the heritage of brands, packaging and advertising.

It also aims to deliver high quality learning experiences for schools and colleges and runs family and community programmes including targeted work such as reminiscence programmes. Last year the museum received 57,000 visitors.

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 7,900 grants totalling over £380 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.


Media Enquiries

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710860884 / 020 7332 1125

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. 

About City Bridge Trust

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of Bridge House Estates, a Registered Charity, with its primary aim the maintenance and support of five Thames bridges: Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Southwark, Blackfriars and the Millennium footbridge.

City Bridge Trust was established in 1995 to make use of funds surplus to bridge requirements and provides grants totalling around £20m per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London. The City of London Corporation is the sole trustee of the Bridge House Estates.

About Museum of Brands:

First opening in London in 2005, the Museum moved into much larger premises in Notting Hill in 2015 to exhibit an extensive collection that showcases 150 years of consumer and brand history. With new areas for exhibitions, events, learning and professional development, the Museum will attract more schools, students and life-long leaners, industry professionals, educators and general public visitors. The Museum is a registered charity no: 1093538