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What was on our shelves in the 1900s? Move your mouse over the photograph and click to see more information about different items that were on sale


At the cheese counter it was difficult to decide between the forty or fifty varieties available. The biggest trade by far was in Cheddar, but on offer there were Stiltons decorated with ribbon rosettes, genuine Swiss cheese and specialities such as Roquefort with cream chesses protected under a glass dome on the counter top.

Bacon and Hams

Whole sides of bacon were hung from rails above the shelf behind the counter, and uncooked hams were hung at an angle so that their plumpness could be seen.


One of the three items originally sold by Sainsbury's when they first opened. Eggs were displayed in baskets with hay or straw bedding. The range included preserved foreign eggs, as well as fresh English new laid from the company’s own farms.


In season the range of game was tremendous: wild duck, hazel hen, pheasant, grouse, black cock, partridge, hare and rabbits. British game was only available when there was an ‘r’ in the month but frozen game was available all year round.

Cooked Meats

Sainsbury's stocked Oxford brawn, roast beef, chicken and ham roll, boar’s head, ox tongue, pressed pork, sausages and meat and fish pastes. The premium product was cooked York ham, which was displayed on pink and white china stands


In 1903 John James Sainsbury enlisted the help of George Payne & Co, a tea merchant based near Tower Bridge to create a range of teas for Sainsbury's. They created three different blends, identified by the coloured seals on the packets. Red Label, Blue Label and Green Label were launched at opening of the Ealing branch in 1903. In 1904 the range was extended by the introduction of two further blends: Yellow Label and Brown Label. Red Label was the most expensive blend at 1s 6d per lb and is the oldest Sainsbury brand product still sold today.