The Thomas Cook Collection
Thomas Cook started his company in Leicestershire in 1841 and it transformed the world of travel over a period of almost 180 years.
Thomas Cook was originally a family company that provided sporting and social activities for its workforce.
This small silver badge in the shape of a curling stone was presented to a winner of a curling competition. Stamped 'Cook Shield' on the front and 'Presented by H W Fikkert Esq' on the reverse. Hallmarked Birmingham 1913.
Uniform worn by British Caledonian Airways Cabin Crew.
British Caledonian operated out of Gatwick Airport during the 1970s and 1980s.
In December 1987 British Airways (BA) gained control of the airline. In 1999, Thomas Cook acquired it and merged Caledonian Airways with Flying Colours to form JMC Air Services, a forerunner of the UK arm of the later Thomas Cook Airlines.
From the ski slopes to poolside, travel agent shops to airline crew, there was a uniform that helped make the Thomas Cook staff identifiable with the branding of the time. The collection includes a variety of uniforms from the early 20th century and shows the changes in the company's branding as well as the other travel companies that they acquired over the years.
Thomas Cook was a household name with travel agents on every high street. While the first 'package' excursion was a railway journey of just 12 miles from Leicester to Loughborough, Cook and his company went on to make package tours and travel overseas accessible.
When the company went out of business in 2019, the entire Thomas Cook archive was acquired by the county council following a nationwide bidding process to find a new permanent home for the collection. The archive contains a vast wealth of information on travel history including extensive written records relating to the company’s history from the firm’s foundation in Leicester in 1841. They include unique letters, brochures, posters, passenger lists and guide books produced by the firm.
The paper archive is held by the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, while the objects including uniform, models and advertising artwork are looked after by the museum collections team.