Posters from the nanny state

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - BULLETIN -

lib­erty, Equal­ity … Nanny? The demo­cratic prin­ci­ples of free­dom have al­ways con­flicted with the state’s no­tion that it might just know best. In post-war Eng­land, has­sling cit­i­zens reached some­thing of an apoth­e­o­sis. Be­fore the in­ter­net and tele­vi­sion, the best way to get a mes­sage across was on a poster; and a new book, Keep Bri­tain Tidy:And Other Posters From the Nanny State (Thames & Hud­son), col­lects the fin­ger-wag­ging in­junc­tions of the era. Half nostal­gia-in­duc­ing, half an­noy­ing, but al­ways quite beau­ti­ful, the posters evoke a world in which peo­ple sneeze all over each other and never pick up after them­selves, and spies could be lis­ten­ing to your ev­ery ut­ter­ance. There are also count­less in­junc­tions to wash your hands,wear a hel­met, and look after your smile. Judg­ing by the stereo­types about English teeth, the last one didn’t quite work out.

Clock­wise from top ‘Keep Our Se­crets Se­cret’, 1965,Reginald Mount and Eileen Evans,is­sued by HM Gov­ern­ment;‘Yes I Smoke!’, 1963, Reginald Mount, Min­istry of Health; ‘Keep Bri­tain Tidy’, 1962,Hans Unger, Min­istry of Hous­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.