Keep Calm and Carry On


I've had a Keep Calm and Carry On reproduction wartime poster for a good few years now and although every person I know now has one too, I still love it - the graphics, the colours, the big type and the straight talking, nonsense message - what's not to like, but it was only recently I found out the story behind the original poster from an article on the BBC News:

"In 1939, with war against Germany looming, the Government designed three posters to steady the public's resolve and maintain morale. These featured the crown of King George VI set against a bold red background, and three distinctive slogans - 'Freedom is in Peril', 'Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory', and 'Keep Calm and Carry On'.

Two-and-a-half million copies of 'Keep Calm' were printed, to be distributed in the event of a national catastrophe, but remained in storage throughout the war".

It's thought that the unused poster were pulped and only an odd few are known to still exist. One of those being the poster Stuart Manley, an antique book dealer found in a box of books bought at auction, and the one that started this worldwide obsession with the message.

Stuart Manley's bookshop, Barter Books now sell reproductions of all 3 posters (seen above) on their Ebay store.

You can read the full BBC article here.

Images copyright Barter Books.

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