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Ephemera Society Anniversary Banquet

21 May 2015

Photographs from last night's Ephemera Society anniversary banquet celebrating 40 years and the presentation of the Pepys Medal to the Ephemera Society of America (ESA) for outstanding contributions in the field of ephemera studies.

Image of Valerie Jackson-Harris and Nancy Rosin

The banquet excellently organised by Valerie Jackson-Harris was held in central London. It was a great success and attracted members from the USA, Canada, Malaysia, Japan, Sweden, New Zealand and Germany.

Image of Valerie Jackson-Harris and Sally de Beaumont

Nancy Rosin, president of ESA, accepted the Pepys Medal from the Ephemera Society chairman Valerie Jackson-Harris. Former Chairman, Sally de Beaumont, presented Valerie with a Rose Bouquet, a gift from the membership, in appreciation of all the hard work and dedication she had put into organising the 40th anniversary events.

Image of William Helfand

An additional highlight of the banquet was a candle-festooned birthday cake for American member William Helfand's 89th birthday; "I deny it!" was his humorous riposte.

An unforgettable and charming evening.

Diane de Blois and Robert Dalton Harris

Diane de Blois and Robert Dalton Harris of the Ephemera Society of America

Ephemera librarian Carina Broman

Ephemera librarian Carina Broman from the National Library of Sweden
(the Kungliga biblioteket) in Stockholm


Visit to Centre for Ephemera Studies, Reading

20 May 2015

Yesterday's visit was to the Centre for Ephemera Studies which is housed in and administered by the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication of the University of Reading. We were warmly welcomed by our hosts comprising of departmental staff members and volunteers.

Image of Amoret Tanner with poster

Ephemera Society members, together with our colleagues from the Ephemera Society of America were looking forward to a full day of discussions and viewing of printed ephemera and we were not to be disappointed.

Image of printed ephemera

There was a great air of anticipation as the huge archival boxes of the John Lewis collection were presented for our delight. Elsewhere we were introduced to the Maurice Rickards collection where an earnest discussion followed about the role of certain items which had proved difficult to classify.

Image of Michael Twyman The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the exhibition of selected items from Michael Twyman's French Ephemera Collection; a unique display which is probably the first time such an exhibit of solely French printed ephemera had been shown in Britain.

Hundreds of items had been meticulously chosen ranging from the 17th to early 20th century; all available wall space was covered in vibrant posters.

Michael expertly introduced us to the contents of each section explaining enthusiastically how he had personally acquired the items, what value they were to typography and design students and also the significance they held for the social historian.

Many thanks to everybody involved who helped make this such an excellent event.

Image of French poster


Visit to John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera

19 May 2015

Julie Anne Lambert was our host for an enthralling visit to learn about the history of the collection and view a display of special items from the archives.

Image of ephemera

A special treat was to print a memento of the occasion using one of the Bodleian’s iron hand-presses.

Image of iron hand-press

Image of souvenir


Anniversary Celebrations

May 2015

Monday 18 May is the day the Ephemera Society begins its two weeks of celebrations for its 40th anniversary with behind the scenes visits to institutional archives and collections.

The UK Society has invited members from the Ephemera Society of America (ESA) to share with its own membership the delights and treasures of these notable resources.

We're excited to start our festivities with a visit to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum which will be followed the next day by a trip to the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera in the world.

Major highlights to follow are a visit to the Centre for Ephemera Studies at the University of Reading to view the Maurice Rickards Collection and John Lewis Collection; both collectors were pioneers in the conservation and study of ephemera. In addition members will be invited to view a special exhibition featuring highlights from the Michael Tywman Collection of French Ephemera.

Hard on the heels of these fascinating events the Society has turned the spotlight on the V&A Theatre and Performance collection with a special tour of their archives to see rarely displayed material. The Museum of London has invited us to their collections, followed in the second week of our festivities by a function at the Armourers' Hall, in association with The Grolier Club, where the renowned Peter Jackson London Collection will be on show. The final event of our celebrations is a visit to the College of Arms. Founded by royal charter in 1484 by King Richard III, the College is one of the few remaining official heraldic authorities in Europe.

During the first week the Ephemera Society Banquet will be held in central London where the Pepys Medal will be presented to the Ephemera Society of America. The Society awards the medal for outstanding contributions in the field of ephemera studies.

For the curious among us, or those interested in learning more about printed ephemera or for the collector to acquire new items for their collections, Sunday 24 May offers a golden opportunity:
The Ephemera Society Summer Special Fair held at the Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, Coram Street, London WC1N 1HT from 11am-4pm, all are welcome, entry £3.


Victorian Turkish Baths

by Malcolm Shifrin

Image of book

Victorian Turkish Baths is the first book to bring to light the hidden history of a fascinating institution—the 600-plus dry hot air baths that sprang up across Ireland, Britain and beyond, in the 19th century.

Ephemera Society member Malcolm Shifrin traces the bath’s Irish-Roman antecedents, looking at how its origins were influenced by a combination of the physician Richard Barter’s hydropathic expertise, and the idiosyncratic diplomat David Urquhart's passion for the hammams of the Middle East.

The book reveals how working-class members of a network of political pressure groups built more than 30 of the first Turkish baths in England. It explores the architecture, technology and sociology of the Victorian Turkish bath, examining everything from business and advertising to sex—real and imagined. This book offers a wealth of wondrous detail—from the baths used to treat sick horses to those for first-class passengers on the Titanic.

This book will appeal to those interested in Victorian social history, architecture, social attitudes to leisure, early public health campaigns, pressure groups, gendered spaces and much else besides. The book is complemented by the author’s widely respected website, where readers can find a treasure trove of further information.

To be published September 2015
368pp, Size: 276mm x 219mm Hardback, ISBN: 978-1-84802-230-0


The Museum of Brands

Due to the dramatic growth of the Museum of Brands it is moving to new, larger premises at the London Lighthouse building in Notting Hill.

The Museum chronicles the history of consumer culture through design, packaging and advertising and it opened in Colville Mews, Notting Hill in 2005. Since then its visitor numbers have increased fourfold and having outgrown the current premises it has been looking for a new home for several years. On Sunday 5th July the Museum will close the doors at its current home and reopen in September at the London Lighthouse Building, Lancaster Road, formerly owned by the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Image of Museum of Brands

The Museum is an educational charity that works with the local, national and global community to deliver engaging learning experiences related to its displays.

Robert Opie, Museum Director, said: "With visitor numbers increasing, the new space will allow us to display more of the collection, and improve the visitor experience". A quick look at Tripadvisor reveals the Museum’s consistent five star reviews from visitors originating all over the world, with a variety of interests. Rated as nineteen out of 260 museums in London, a recent visitor commented ‘While kings and queens come and go, and wars are won and lost, people still need washing soap and chocolate and board games and breakfast cereals. This is the museum of consumer history, a massive collection of items and brands. A fascinating, hidden delight.’

The Museum contains branded objects and design classics, nostalgia inducing items such as Spangles, Watneys Party Seven and Fiendish Feet yoghurts. These are presented alongside artefacts of daily life such as household appliances, toys and fashion, which demonstrate our consumer heritage and changing life in Britain over the last 150 years.

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising closes on Sunday 5th July
and will reopen in September 2015. See the website for further updates:


Butlin's Launches New Archive Project with HAT

Image of Butlins advertIn preparation for their 80th anniversary in 2016, Butlin's, founded in 1936 by Sir Billy Butlin, have joined forces with the History of Advertising Trust (HAT) to transport the Butlin's personal brand archive into the twenty-first century. Over the coming years, the partnership will make available their classic PR, advertising, film, photography and memorabilia to be explored by the nation online.

This new archive project aims to unlock the rich nostalgia in the stories of the people who made Butlin's great. From Sir Billy Butlin himself, the Butlin's famous Redcoats, thousands of dedicated team members and millions of Great British holiday makers, this new partnership will allow treasured Butlin's memories to be remembered in their anniversary year and relived by future generations for many years to come.

Image of Butlins coaster 1968HAT aims to have catalogued the Butlin's Heritage Collection by the end of 2015, with many significant items also digitised for view online. In place for Butlin's anniversary in 2016, the interactive functionality of HAT's online portals will also allow members of the public to help piece together missing parts of the eighty years of Butlin's great history.
Image: Coaster from Beachcomber Bar 1968


Virtual Belle Vue

Chetham's Library's digital archive of Belle Vue Gardens include postcards, photographs, slides, guides, programmes, a significant collection of newspaper cuttings, notebooks, ledgers and business accounts stretching from the mid 1800s through to Belle Vue's final days in the 1970s.

Subjects range from fireworks spectacles to circus acts, and from boxing and wrestling to brass band contests, political rallies and trade fairs. The people, the animals, the rides, the happy days out and even the scandals are here.

The launch of this new site is only the start – there's more material to add, and the Library would like your help online to put names to faces, put dates to events and get your stories about your experiences and memories, good or bad. You can add your comments to the site. Belle Vue material of all kinds will also find a permanent home in the Library's collections, and could become part of the online experience, available to all.


Celebrating 40 years quote
Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life