The Top Ten: Forgotten brands

 

John Rentoul
Sunday 07 December 2014 01:00
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This list started with Gordon Brown mentioning the 'websphere' in his post-referendum speech in Scotland. Allen Brown said it was the name of IBM's webserver software. Andrew Denny said he thought IBM was going the way of Pan Am – a brand name in daily use that everyone has now forgotten…

1. Berni Inns

One of Peter Hitchens's "ghost brands" in The Cameron Delusion. Nominated by Labour History Group.

2. ICI

Split off drugs and bioscience to Zeneca in 1993, now AstraZeneca; sold off chemicals; remaining paints company bought by Akzo Nobel in 2008.

3. Woolworths

Shops closed 2009. Brand continues as Shop Direct online.

4. Amstrad

I never had a green-screen computer, but I had a PC1512 (two 5¼-inch floppy disk drives) in 1986. Selected by Austin.

5. Midland Bank

Bought by HSBC in 1992 and renamed in 1999. From Adrian McMenamin.

6. C&A

Last British shop closed in 2001, but still operates in much of the rest of Europe and in China. Put forward by Brian Dempsey.

7. Waddingtons

Bought by Hasbro in 1994. From Mark Fraser.

8. Spangles

Boiled sweets made by Mars discontinued in 1984. I liked the acid drop ones. From Mitchell Stirling and Paul Bexon. Graham Thorne's appeal – "They are not forgotten" – was overruled.

9. Green Shield stamps

Suspended 1983. Revived 1987-1991. Catalogue company had already been rebranded as Argos, 1973. Nominated by Keith Howitt.

10. Radio Rentals

Merged with Granada Rentals in 2000 to form boxclever, which went bust in 2003.

Next week: Worst autobiography titles

Coming soon: TV narrators (starting with Laurence Olivier, 'The World at War'). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to top10@independent.co.uk

John Rentoul's 'Listellany: A Miscellany of Very British Top 10s, from Politics to Pop' (Elliott & Thompson, £9.99; e-book £4.99) is out now

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