In 1939, on the eve of World War Two, The Ministry of Information produced public reassurance posters in uniform design for the purpose of steadying the nerves of the general public and boosting morale at a time of war.
The posters layout was simple with each design carrying a short and authoritative message from the King to his people with large white bold letters on a striking red background along with an image of the Kings crown.As war broke out, the instruction from The Ministry of Information to display the posters was issued and the task of putting up the posters around the country started.
The poster that bore the (now famous) phrase, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ was never officially put on public display; it was reserved for a ‘last case scenario’ such as the German invasion of Britain! Today only a handful of the original posters survive and most are held by the British National Archives. Only two posters are in private hands, one is held by WarTimePosters.co.uk and one by Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland (responsible for starting the recent popularity of the poster). Since its recent discovery, the poster has now captured the attention of the world.
The ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster is also becoming recognised as a British icon around the world alongside other icons British such as the red telephone box.