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Ephemera Events & Exhibitions

  • Ephemera Society Fairs 2015

  • Sunday · 19 July · 20 September
  • Doubletree by Hilton
  • 92 Southampton Row
  • London WC1B 4BH
  • United Kingdom
  • All are welcome · Entry £2 · 11am - 4pm
  • Members from 10am with membership cards

  • Ephemera Society Special Fairs 2015

  • Sunday · 24 May · 6 December
  • Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury
  • Coram Street
  • London WC1N 1HT
  • United Kingdom
  • All are welcome · Entry £3 · 11am - 4pm
  • Members from 10am with membership cards



Celebrating 40 years

Pop it in the Post: Your World at the end of the street

Until 2 May 2015

For over 160 years, people in Britain have been able to stick a stamp on a letter and post the letter into a pillar box – keeping in touch with people in cities, towns and villages everywhere. This family-friendly exhibition explores the new and sometimes quirky ideas that made this possible.

Pillar box Discover the story of the letter writing revolution, enabled by the world’s first ever stamp, and the UK’s first pillar boxes. Meet the individuals who made this possible, and understand how millions of people’s lives were changed.

The world was now available to everyone - simply through the pillar box (so-called because of its resemblance to a pillar or to a column) at the end of your street.

2015 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the novelist Anthony Trollope. When working for the Post Office, Trollope first suggested the idea of the pillar box for the UK. They were introduced in 1852.

  • Islington Museum
  • 245 St John Street
  • London EC1V 4NB
  • UK




The Alice Look

Image of Alice and the Queen

2 May - 1 November 2015

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication of one of Britain’s best-known and most-loved children’s books, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This exhibition examines how Alice has influenced style and fashion over the past 150 years.

The Alice Look will bring together garments, photographs, rare editions and illustrations to show Alice as both a follower of fashion and a trendsetter.

  • V&A Museum of Childhood
  • Cambridge Heath Road
  • London E2 9PA
  • UK




Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Until 6 July 2015

Curious and curiouser

The Ransom Center celebrates 150 years of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with an exhibition for the curious and curiouser of all ages. Learn about Lewis Carroll and the real Alice who inspired his story and see one of the few surviving copies of the first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Explore the surprising transformations of Alice and her story as they have travelled through time and across continents. Follow the White Rabbit's path through the exhibition, have a tea party, or watch a 1933 paper filmstrip that has been carefully treated by Ransom Center conservators. The Center's vast collections offer a new look at a story that has delighted generations and inspired artists from Salvador Dalí to Walt Disney.

  • Harry Ransom Center
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • 21st and Guadalupe Streets
  • Austin, Texas
  • USA




Such a curious dream! Alice’s Adventures in
Wonderland at 150

18 May - 5 September 2015

Illustration by John Tenniel

This exhibition will feature unique, colourful and curious Carrolliana from the early 1860s to the present. Drawn largely from the fabulous collection compiled by Harvard alumnus Harcourt Amory, the exhibition will include original drawings by illustrator John Tenniel, foreign editions of the book, parodies, theatrical works and ephemera. Not to be missed: Alice Liddell’s own copy of the suppressed first edition.

  • Edison and Newman Room
  • Houghton Library
  • Harvard Yard
  • Harvard University
  • Cambridge, MA 02138
  • USA




A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution

Until 13 June 2015

Image of poster

From the ‘Votes for Women’ campaign of the early Twentieth Century to the recent Occupy movements, the poster has been used to mobilise, educate and organise.

Bringing together around seventy posters from the V&A’s collection this exhibition looks at the defining features of protest graphics, showcasing the work of diverse artists, graphic designers and print collectives.

  • The Civic
  • Hanson Street
  • Barnsley
  • South Yorkshire S70 2HZ
  • UK
  • Image: Copyright © V&A Museum




Heckling Hitler: World War Two in Cartoons & Comics

Until 12 July 2015

Image of Hitler from Punch magazine 1935

It is difficult for those of us living in the 21st century to realise the impact of cartoon art 70 years ago. To a news-hungry public, anxious about world affairs facing possible invasion, the radio was a lifeline, but it was the topical cartoon with its immediacy and universal accessibility, even to the barely literate, that could speak the message mere words could never convey. The propagandists and media manipulators were swift to recognize this power.

Heckling Hitler shows how World War II unfolded through the eyes of British cartoonists. Throughout the war, cartoonists and comic artists played their part in helping to raise morale. On the home front, their cartoons showed Britain ‘how to make the best of things’ (Heath Robinson) and encouraged people to keep ‘smiling through’ (Joe Lee). Posters produced for the Ministry of Information reminded the public that ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’ (Fougasse) and that ‘Doctor Carrot’ was the ‘children’s friend’. Comic heroes like Desperate Dan and Lord Snooty and his Pals kept the children entertained with stories showing how British pluck and guile would put one over on the dictators.

Image of Hitler from Punch magazine 1942

This exhibition of over 120 original drawings and printed ephemera concentrates mainly on newspaper and magazine cartoons from WWII for the simple reason that these would have been the most widely available to the general public. Included are works by H. M. Bateman, Will Dyson, ‘Fougasse’, Carl Giles, Leslie Grimes, Leslie Illingworth, ‘Jon’, ‘Kem’, Joe Lee, David Low, Donald McGill, ‘Neb’, Eric Roberts, ‘Pont’, William Heath Robinson, Ronald Searle, E. H. Shepard, Sidney Strube, Bert Thomas, ‘Vicky’ and Dudley D. Watkins.

Sample material from books, aerial leaflets, artwork from The Dandy and The Beano, postcards and other publications produced as overseas propaganda have also been included, as well as some unpublished cartoons drawn in prisoner-of-war camps and by civilians on the home front on scrap paper from the Ministry of Food.

  • Cartoon Museum
  • 35 Little Russell Street
  • London
  • WC1A 2HH
  • UK
  • Top image detail from Punch cartoon by E H Shepard in 1935.
    Lower image detail from Punch cartoon by Bernard Partridge in 1942




Sail Away: Liverpool Shipping Posters

Until 4 October 2015

Image of poster

A century of shipping posters from Merseyside Maritime Museum's collection.

This new display features 14 posters dating from 1888 to 1980, advertising Liverpool shipping companies. Many of these posters have never been on display before.

They are a record of the style, glamour and excitement of a long-gone era when sailing by liner was the only way to travel. Starting out as simple bills of sailing, over time shipping company advertisements developed into highly designed full colour posters that reflected the changing needs and aspirations of passengers.

From emigrant services, through the age of luxury transatlantic liners, to latter day cruise ships, posters are snapshots from a time when global travel was still an unusual and often exotic undertaking. Together these posters show the changing face of passenger travel by sea.

  • Art and the Sea Gallery
  • Merseyside Maritime Museum
  • Albert Dock
  • Liverpool Waterfront
  • Liverpool L3 4AQ
  • UK
  • Image: Copyright © Bibby Line Group Limited, Liverpool




Waterloo: Life & Times

Until 10 May 2015

2015 marks the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and what better way to honour the occasion than an exhibition celebrating this tumultuous period in Europe’s history and its associated heroes (and villains!)

Waterloo: Life & Time will feature fans and fan leaves designed to commemorate significant military campaigns, battles and victories associated with the period leading up to (and following) the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, at which the French were finally defeated by the Allied armies after twenty three years of fighting.

The exhibition will include fans printed with portraits of heroic figures like Nelson and Wellington and fan leaves printed in England but destined for the overseas markets, such as those celebrating the accession to the throne of the Spanish King, Ferdinand VII. Napoleon Bonaparte and his troops, too, feature: depicted often in typically defiant mood on French propaganda fan designs.

Image of  fan

Away from the ‘battle action’ the social scene at this time revolved around glittering balls and assemblies – events at which ladies carried elegant fans decorated with a plethora of sequins and delicately painted with classically themed vignettes; visitors can expect to see a glittering array of such styles dating c. 1800 - 1820. Interweaving historical narratives with fashion and decorative art objects, the exhibition offers a unique perspective on a period often overlooked in popular fan historiographies.

  • The Fan Museum
  • 12 Crooms Hill
  • Greenwich
  • London SE10 8ER
  • UK




Modern Heroism: Printmaking and the legacy
of Napoleon Bonaparte

Until 28 June 2015

Image of Napolean

An exhibition to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon spread liberal reform across Europe and to his supporters his legacy was that of a modern hero.

Post-Napoleonic France was characterised by constant unrest and political upheaval which coincided with a revolution in printmaking as the new technique of lithography flourished.

Quick and cheap to issue in large numbers, lithography became the medium through which a new generation of artists was able to disseminate its art and political views to the masses.

  • The Fitzwilliam Museum
  • Charrington Print Room (16)
  • Trumpington Street
  • Cambridge
  • UK




Sir Alan Cobham’s Flying Circus:
A life of a Pioneering Aviator

Until 11 September 2015

Image of poster

Sir Alan Cobham was a pioneering long distance aviator and technical innovator who became famous for his exploits in the interwar years by making aviation accessible and popular throughout the world.

He learnt to fly while in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War and later went on to set many long distance aviation records.

These include becoming the first person to fly from London to Cape Town and back in 1926 for which he received the Air Force Cross, and in the same year to be the first person to fly from London to Australia and back, for which he was knighted by King George V.

Sir Alan Cobham also organised a series of flying tours of the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa which became affectionately known as ‘Sir Alan Cobham’s Flying Circus’. These tours promoted aviation to the public and were a source of inspiration for countless pilots in the Second World War.

  • RAF Museum London
  • Grahame Park Way
  • London NW9 5LL
  • UK




London Gothic

Until 30 April 2015

London Gothic is a free exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives, and is a must see for anyone interested in the history of the London - uncovering rare and fascinating documents from the dark shadows of the capital.

Image of stuffed monkey mounted as lamp holder

From terrible crimes to gruesome legends, London has long been the backdrop to horrifying tales which quickly take root in popular imagination. Through court records which date back to the 17th century, explore dreadful crimes and brutal punishments, from witch trials and alleged hauntings to the spectacle of public execution at Tyburn (the west end of Oxford Street today).

This exhibition digs into the depths of London’s archives to present documents and images which record both fact and fiction, including manuscripts put on public display for the first time including posters and advertisements of 18th and 19th century ‘sideshows’ including ‘The Beautiful Tiger Lady’, ‘The Tattooed Man’ and ‘The Giant Yorkshire Youth’, the exhibition will also feature a newly created version of the grisly ‘mermaid’ displayed at the Turf Coffee House, St James’s Street in 1822.

Along with notable gothic buildings in London, visitors will see the extraordinary plans for a burial pyramid planned for Primrose Hill in the early 19th century. Holding five million bodies in a pyramid 94 stories high, this would have been a London landmark to rival The Shard.

Check opening times

  • London Metropolitan Archives
  • 40 Northampton Road
  • Clerkenwell
  • London EC1R 0HB
  • United Kingdom



Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life