For more information on Sainsbury's history and images from the archive, visit our Collections Online website, 'Story of a Supermarket'.

To browse and search the digital archive of Sainsbury’s in-house magazine JS Journal (now The Journal) from the first issue in December 1946 to the present day, visit JS Journal Online (external link). The digital archive is updated twice yearly and is current to the previous six months.

About the collection

The core of the archive was formed at the time of the company’s centenary in 1969 and has steadily grown  to more than 16,000 items, including documents, objects (ranging from food preparation and testing equipment, to product packaging and staff uniforms), photographs and audiovisual material.

The collection includes a large number of photographs and artefacts, and is particularly strong in the areas of product packaging, advertising and retail stores. However, the archive also includes key company records such as reports and accounts and press releases, as well as material relating to all aspects of the business, including head office operations, food supply, production and distribution, subsidiary companies and staff records.

For further details of the archive holdings, see the summary guide.

Using the archive

In April 2003, the Sainsbury Archive became an independent charitable trust; the establishment of the Sainsbury Study Centre at the Museum of London Docklands opens up access to this rich resource for specialist and general research on a wide range of topics including:

  • business and retail history
  • shopping and eating habits
  • architecture and urban development 
  • advertising, display,  packaging and product design
  • local and family history
The majority of material from the Sainsbury Archive is accessible in the Search Room by appointment. For operational business reasons, or in compliance with Data Protection legislation, some personal or sensitive material may be restricted or closed to the public: contact the Archivist for further advice.

The future

The archive constitutes a living record of Sainsbury’s and new material continues to be transferred to the archive when it has passed out of current business use. The archive also welcomes donations of any other significant items that demonstrate the history and evolution of the Company.