Stop, Look, Listen: Stunning vintage posters book celebrates 100 years of making Britain safer
Safety First features superb historical safety posters (1930s-1970s) from a recently rediscovered ‘missing’ archive
A fabulous collection of vintage British safety posters – that were thought to be lost forever – will be published on 18 June as part of the forthcoming centenary of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). A special launch event will take place at the House of Lords on 15 June.
Safety First, by design expert Dr Paul Rennie of Central St Martins College of Art & Design, features scores of accident prevention posters and slogans that evoke nostalgia for a bygone Britain and will bring back childhood memories for many of us – who can forget the Green Cross Code or the antics of Tufty Fluffytail?
The RoSPA poster archive, the breadth of which was only discovered by accident when a warehouse was being cleared, features work by some of the foremost graphic designers of the time, including Fougasse, who produced the famous World War II Careless Talk Costs Lives poster campaign.
Covering themes such as road, industrial, leisure and home safety, the vintage posters are clever, striking and often amusing. But they are also of great historical value as they provide a valuable chronicle of how we used to work, rest and play in 20th century Britain.
RoSPA’s president, Lord McKenzie of Luton, said: “Even in this information-saturated age of social media and 24-hour news, there is much that these now ‘vintage’ posters can tell us about the power of accident prevention: that a little effort, a little forward planning – and above all, a little knowledge, can make a big difference in our quest to get the balance right between carelessness on the one hand, and risk-aversion on the other.
“It is fitting that as our charity prepares for its centenary, the rediscovery of these posters should stand at the intersection of a proud past and a promising future – promising, because RoSPA stands ready to serve the nation again, by providing our families, colleagues and friends with all of the skills and confidence they need to lead more fulfilling lives – free of the fear of accidental injury.”
Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA’s chief executive, said: “We always knew that we had some poster artwork in storage, but it was only when we cleared our old warehouse that we discovered the sheer extent of our collection and the quality and age of the items. These posters would have carried simple yet important safety messages into homes and workplaces, helping people to prevent accidents to themselves, their loved ones and colleagues. Many of the messages are just as valid today as when they were created decades ago.”
Safety First will be available at all good bookshops and online – price £16.99. While stocks last, you can buy a copy from this site for just £14.99 inc UK p&p