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Ephemera Events & Exhibitions

  • Ephemera Society Fairs 2015

  • Sunday · 15 March · 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

28 March - 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




Ephemera 35: The Sporting Life

20 - 22 March 2015

US advertising trade car of women in rowing race

The thirty-fifth annual conference of the Ephemera Society of America will take place on Friday, and, on Saturday and Sunday, the finest Ephemera Fair in America, featuring incomparable material and exceptional dealers. Accented with an auction, a banquet, and a book signing, it will be a feast for the mind and heart. Collectors, dealers, academics, students, and even youngsters, will be treated to a wealth of scholarship and ephemera.

The Sporting Life will examine various sports, games, pastimes, and entertaining activities, with the use of historic ephemera. Our speakers are notable scholars, adept at sharing entertaining and historic perspectives, including the effect of changing cultural values, developing printing techniques, and the influences of travel and literature.

The banquet speaker will be UK Ephemera Society member Adrian Seville. His after-dinner presentation will explore the history of the Game of Goose, the most significant race game ever invented, in that it has spawned literally thousands of variants across the countries of continental Europe.

  • ESA 35
  • Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • Old Greenwich
  • Connecticut
  • USA



Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front

Until 8 March 2015


This major exhibition reveals the untold story of London’s Home Front during the First World War; how drivers took their buses to the Front to support the war effort, how women advanced into the transport workforce for the first time and how Londoners came under deadly attack from the air as total war came to the Capital.

Highlights for the ephemerist include First World War recruitment posters, rarely seen propaganda posters specially designed to be displayed in army billets overseas as a reminder of home.

  • London Transport Museum
  • Covent Garden Piazza
  • London WC2E 7BB
  • UK



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



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 12 March 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




Bruce Bairnsfather: Man Who Made the World Laugh

Until 15 March 2015

Portrait of Captain Bruce Bairnsfather An exhibition exploring the life and work of the great British cartoonist Captain Bruce Bairnsfather.

Cover of The Bystander's Fragments from France magazineBairnsfather became world-famous during the First World War as creator of 'Old Bill', a walrus moustached old soldier who appeared in many of his cartoons depicting life on the frontline.

Published weekly in The Bystander magazine, his cartoons caught the imagination of the soldiers at war, and their families back home.

Bairnsfather became a household name and published volumes of his cartoons sold over a million copies. The soldier-artist's immense popularity led to his cartoons being reproduced on a wide range of merchandise, and Old Bill and his creator even became stars of stage and screen.

  • PACCAR Room
  • Royal Shakespeare Theatre
  • Waterside
  • Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Warwickshire CV37 6BB
  • United Kingdom



Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life