20 brands we miss: The famous names we’ve loved and lost over the years

Remember those Pizzaland penny deals? Woolies Pic ’n’ Mix blow-outs? Michael Hogan looks back at famous names we’ve loved and lost.


No teen bedroom was complete without some Blu-Tacked posters – sorry, ‘fine art prints’ – from this high street chain. The stalwarts were muscly-man-holding-baby, tennis-girl-scratching-bum or something ‘funny’ featuring the Love Is… couple.

Chelsea Girl

This boutique chain’s name gave its ra-ra skirts, sparkly tops and shoulder-padded bolero jackets a frisson of King’s Road cool. It later went to the great jumble sale in the sky along with Morgan, Etam, Tammy Girl, Mr Byrite and Principles. Bonus point if you remember Chelsea brother store, Concept Man.


Photo by Suzanne Plunkett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The nation’s general store which closed in 2009, where you could splash your pocket money on everything from clothes, toys and stationery to chart singles – and, most importantly, pick’n’mix (aka nick’n’mix, allegedly).


The 80s TopShop. Its own labels included Clockhouse (fast fashion for girls), Avanti (faux-Italian style for lads) and Man At C&A (slacks ’n’ sweaters for dads). C&A was also first to bring skiwear to British high streets. Mmm, salopettes.

Blockbuster Video 

Photo by Geoff Moore/REX/Shutterstock

They never had the film you wanted. They charged exorbitant late fees. It was full of couples arguing about whether to rent a rom-com or action flick. But a trip to Blockbuster was still a quintessential part of the weekend.

Yellow Pages

Good old Yellow Pages, not just there for the nasty things in life. Pre-internet, this business phone directory was indispensable, with TV ads (including JR Hartley and French polishers) that were memorably quotable too. The last copies were posted out in January.


Photo by Paul Fievez/ANL/REX/Shutterst​ock

Pizza Hut eventually saw off its arch rival, a 70s and 80s favourite most memorable for its ‘pizza for a penny’ discount coupons and TV ads where ‘Pizzaland’ was magically spelt out in stretchy mozzarella.

Our Price

You probably bought your first single at this red-branded record shop, which closed in 2004. It might well have been a ‘cassingle’ too. How modern.

Top Deck shandy

For some reason, it was once considered acceptable to market cans of low-alcohol shandy to children (that’s the 60s and 70s for you). Although admittedly, you’d have to drink a bathful of the stuff to feel any effects.

 Freeman Hardy Willis

If this high street shoe chain, which closed in 1996 after 121 years, didn’t have what you wanted (or what your mum would allow), you’d try the other now no-longer-with-us stores Ravel, Saxone, Stead & Simpson or Dolcis.

 Bird’s Ice Magic 

‘Ice cream will never taste the same again’, declared Birds (and 80s children will enthusiastically agree). This chocolate sauce, which magically set hard to form a crackable shell, came in cone-shaped bottles, like a mountain, with a melting snow-style cap.

Midland Bank 

Midland was one of the high street’s ‘big four’ until it was gobbled up in the 90s by HSBC. Its slogan was ‘The Listening Bank’ and its TV ads starred a cartoon griffin, voiced by Richard Briers.

 Jackie magazine

Boys! Fashion! Music! Make-up! More boys! This iconic weekly was a teen girl’s best friend during the 70s and 80s. Worth your pocket money for the ‘photo love’ stories and Cathy & Claire problem page alone.

 Little Chef

Photo by Francisco Martinez / Alamy Stock Photo

‘Are we halfway there yet, dad?’ The highlight of any long, boring car journey was pulling off the dual carriageway into this roadside diner chain, famed for its ‘Olympic Breakfast’ and ‘Jubilee Pancakes’. Kids also got a lollipop if they cleaned their plate.


Before the internet, there was dear old Ceefax – a text information service on our TVs that seemed liked futuristic witchcraft. Painfully slow, pixellated witchcraft but witchcraft nonetheless.

Clairol Glints

You could ‘Give your hair a little kick’ with these semi-permanent dyes in bold post-punky shades. Clairol also made Wavelengths: heated bendy stylers that were perfect for 80s teens who wanted curls without a perm like mum’s.

Miss Selfridge Kiss and Make-up

If you weren’t adorned with a liberal slick of the teen fashion emporium’s top lipstick colours, Doris Karloff crimson and Iron Maiden pink in the 70s and 80s were you even there?


With their none-more-70s bubble-writing logo, Spangles were square boiled sweets, like a cross between a fizzy Tunes cough lozenge and a fruit Polo. Ideal for sucking while you rode your Raleigh Chopper down to Woolies.

Lunn Poly

From the 60s on, this purveyor of package holidays was the nation’s biggest travel agent chain. As the TV ads went: ‘Lunn Poly? Get away!’ Sadly it did, closing its doors in 2005.

Pink Panther chocolate bar

This strawberry-flavoured chocolate bar was small, creamy and slightly sickly, i.e the stuff that 60s and 70s dreams were made of. It came embossed with either the cool cat himself or his ‘Panthermobile’ car. Well, he was the one and only truly original.