Vintage RoSPA poster to mark Her Majesty’s coronation discovered by historian

A RoSPA road safety poster from the time of Her Majesty The Queen’s coronation has been discovered by an historian from the University of Portsmouth.      

The poster appears to depict the 1953 coronation procession being watched by children, and proclaims “God Save the Queen”. It was unearthed by Dr Mike Esbester, a lecturer in history at the University of Portsmouth, who discovered it on eBay as part of his research into accident prevention in 20th century Britain, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Janice Cave, history project manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “RoSPA is well known for its iconic poster art, created throughout the 20th century, and we are absolutely delighted that Dr Esbester has discovered this coronation-themed poster.

“The discovery comes at a time when interest in RoSPA’s vintage artwork is particularly high because, just last year, we uncovered an archive of more than 700 of our historical safety posters, 40 of which we exhibited for the first time last month. Of course, we are also pleased because Her Majesty the Queen is RoSPA’s Patron, and the discovery of this poster is a fitting way to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee.

“Our archives show that RoSPA’s theme to mark Her Majesty’s coronation was ‘Let Courtesy Reign on the Queen's Highway’. However, we do not know any background details about this particular poster and it would be lovely if anyone who remembers it could get in touch.”

Dr Esbester said the poster displayed a gentle approach, “guiding” children and reminding them of their duty to obey policemen and the traffic rules.

The poster seems to have been supplied in black and white, leaving the colouring in to the recipient - in this case possibly a “J Dunford”, whose name is written on the back.

Dr Esbester said: “I’d like to think that J Dunford might see this and remember it and be able to tell us more about the poster and safety education in the 1950s. It may have been coloured in as a school activity, as safety essay and painting competitions had been run since before 1920, attracting hundreds of thousands of entries over the years. I’d be fascinated to hear from the original owner.” 

You can read more about the poster and Dr Esbester’s research on the University of Portsmouth website.

Anyone who remembers the coronation poster is invited to contact Janice Cave on jcave@rospa.com. You can view, and buy prints of, RoSPA’s vintage posters at www.rospaprints.com.

Last month, RoSPA marked Her Majesty’s 60-year reign through the presentation of a special Diamond Jubilee Award to the Olympic Delivery Authority. The award was presented in recognition of the outstanding and exemplary safety and health achievements of the Big Build construction phase for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.



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