25.01.2016 Age: 2 yrs

Keep Calm, did you know?

The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was designed by an unknown artist right here in Senate house for the Ministry of Information during the period 27 June – 6 July 1939.

It was produced as part of a series of three "Home Publicity" posters (the others read "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory" and "Freedom Is in Peril. Defend It With All Your Might"). Each poster showed the slogan under a representation of a "Tudor Crown" (a symbol of the state). They were intended to be distributed to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster.

Almost 2,500,000 copies of Keep Calm and Carry On were printed between 23 August 1939 and 3 September 1939 but the poster was not sanctioned for immediate public display. It was instead decided that copies of the poster should remain in "cold storage" for use after serious air raids.

The posters were retained until April 1940, but stocks were then pulped as part of the wider paper salvage campaign.

The remainder of the Ministry of Information publicity campaign was cancelled in October 1939 following criticism of its cost and impact.

In 2000, Stuart Manley, co-owner with his wife Mary of Barter Books, Northumberland, was sorting through a box of used books bought at auction when he uncovered one of the original "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters. The couple framed it and hung it up by the cash register; it attracted so much interest that Manley began to produce and sell copies. Other companies followed suit, and the design rapidly began to be used as the theme for a wide range of products we see today.

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