The Formation of the Ministry of Information (PhD Extract)

The Formation of the Ministry of Information (PhD Extract)

senatehouse1-229x300Extract from PhD thesis. © Rebecca Lewis, 2004 (Extracted from the 3rd Chapter). Please note that this information is COPYRIGHTED, so please reference this URL, or the thesis itself.

3: Commissioning, Design & Distribution, with a particular focus on the MOI and the first posters produced

This chapter focuses on the production and distribution of government publicity in the Second World War. The Ministry of Information (MOI) was expected to be the central governmental publicity machine, an institution that sought to regulate its population through discourse. In this chapter we briefly consider its formation and role, including how it drew on previous experience, and gained the power to influence British propaganda, but concentrate more explicitly on the publicity producing divisions. Within this chapter, we reflect upon how the MOI looked to promote self-regulation amongst British subjects, providing them with information, in order to produce what Foucault would term ‘docile’, ‘useful’, ‘functional’ and ‘productive’ bodies contributing to the British war effort. Having seen how the MOI generally worked, and the place of the poster division within that, we will move on to consider how the division commissioned, produced, distributed and displayed posters throughout the war, focusing particularly on the posters produced in the first few weeks of the war.

Most historians dealing with the subject of the wartime MOI have started from the premise that the MOI was a shambolic and disorganised division, unprepared for the start of war.[1] Like any wartime creation, the MOI underwent many changes, and it is certainly difficult to define the structure of the MOI, even just one portion of it, as it continued to reorganise in the face of press criticism. Early on in the preparation stages the planners recognised that the public needed ‘a definite conviction that the whole question of Government Information’ would be ‘in firm and efficient hands’. Tying in with the ‘magic bullet’ theory outlined on page 54, it was believed that the citizen would need to be ‘clearly and swiftly told what he is to do, where he is to do it, how he is to do it and what he should not do’.[2] The Fleet Street Press, however, threatened by the possibility of state regulation and censorship, aggressively targeted the MOI, although news and censorship were no longer functions of the MOI after October 3 1940.[3] Local newspapers looked to the MOI as ‘helpers’ rather than ‘oppressors’, and thus the reputation was higher in the provinces.[4] With many ‘how-to’ books produced during the inter-war years, suggesting that anyone with a measure of common sense and intelligence could be successful in advertising,[5] the ‘average man’ also believed that, although he could not criticise the service departments, he could criticise the MOI.[6] Historians, including Chapman, are now challenging the idea that the MOI was a dysfunctional failure. Chapman used the Films Divisions of the MOI as a reference point to demonstrate how ‘a democratic state created a workable and efficient propaganda organisation almost from scratch… one which played its full part in achieving eventual victory.’[7] Controversy and failure always create more interest for historians, but more attention should be paid to the achievements that the MOI actually made.[8]

Planning for the establishment of the Ministry of Information in a time of war started on October 14 1935, with the formation of a sub-committee of the Committee for Imperial Defence (CID).[9] The formation of the MOI has been well documented in several texts,[10] but we consider here some issues that are central to this thesis. Several disparate agencies had been involved in propaganda in the First World War, with home propaganda the responsibility of the National War Aims Committee, established to combat ‘war weariness’.[11] There was no Ministry of Information until 1918, an unpopular organisation with the British governing élite who found its work distasteful and ‘un-English’.[12] Despite Beaverbrook’s desire for the MOI to have a post-war function, the MOI was disbanded almost immediately the war ended.[13] Interwar developments in physical communication methods and theories of propaganda suggested that for any future large scale war, the efficient conduct of propaganda activities, for which the MOI would be key, ‘might prove to be scarcely less important than those of the fighting services’.[14] The new MOI planners wished to profit from their example, but the records were unable to be found, either destroyed or lost in transit during the intervening decades,[15] although some information was collated.[16]

Enthusiastic volunteers planned the MOI alongside full-time work.[17] Sir John Reith proposed that the home front took ‘clear precedence’ over foreign fronts,[18] but his suggestions were rejected in favour of a paper by Leeper of the Foreign Office. Leeper stressed a similar set up to governmental publicity prior to 1917. He did not appear to have assimilated the fact that the MOI would be aiming at an entirely different audience to that of the First World War, more directly concerned with the Home Front rather than simply recruitment. As Campbell-Stuart noted when he resigned from the MOI in 1940, ‘what had done very well for the Kaiser’s war would not do for the Führer’s’.[19] Robertson noted a comprehensive propaganda policy, using the most up to date publicity, would be required immediately on the outbreak of war. The MOI could not take up where it had left off in the last war, as there had been enormous developments, including the advent of broadcasting, a ‘great and enormous channel’ and film had progressed greatly.[20] Leslie, of the Gas, Light and Coke Company, had been involved in the shadow organisation for the MOI. He had got the impression ‘that the plans were ambitious… in their evident intention to include within the Ministry every possible channel of communication between the Government and the people’.[21]

During the inter-war years, information activities had become an accepted function of government.[22] After the Post Office established a public relations division in 1933,[23] practically all government departments had established a press liaison section.[24] Grant cites the existence of these various agencies as a major problem in the formation of a centralised propaganda department in the Second World War. Each department wanted to conduct propaganda in their own way and objected to centralisation. They felt that those responsible for designing propaganda policy needed to have control over its production as well.[25] From the variety of these agencies arose the idea for national agency, with increased inter-departmental workings forming the basis for the MOI.[26] Tallents and Reith called for a centralised department, particularly with regard to posters and films, which were ‘of a highly technical character’, and required ‘expert staff’.[27] Pre-war, the Ministry of Labour, the Armed Forces and the ARP all ran ‘overlapping and wasteful’ campaigns that competed for recruits, with each department explaining the campaign only from angle of their interest.[28] The MOI expected to ‘be regarded in principle as the centre for all Government publicity concerning the war’, undertaking publicity for wartime departments. Peace-time departments with publicity organisations were expected, at least initially, to continue their own work.[29] The publicity work of government departments was considered by the Select Committee, specifically: the Admiralty, the War Office, the Post Office, the Board of Education (which included the National Fitness Council), and the Ministry of Labour. Although often the objective and type of publicity used were the same, the methods used were fundamentally different.[30] Experts in the United Kingdom were also consulted, particularly the Post Office (GPO), and it was even suggested that their poster production machinery would be taken over.[31] Note had also been made of peace time activities of agencies such as the British Council, and a wide range of commercial companies and agencies, including LPTB, Shell-Mex,[32] Imperial Airways, and Kodak.[33]

Much of the Ministry’s planning was done in secret as the government were fearful of public reactions when seen to be using ‘propaganda’, as seen in the previous chapter, a word which had received many negative connotations since the First World War. In January 1938 a progress report established that a lot of work had been done,[34] although when the MOI was mobilised for two days over the Munich crisis in September 1938,[35] it was shown that there was still much to be done. Although a false alarm, this raised the question of whether the MOI could be left unformed until war had already begun, or whether it could form prior to war. There were problems with either decision, the former leading to confusion due to a lack of preparation, the second ‘essentially meant war, and the Government could not allow the impression to form that it had resigned itself to such a probability’.[36] A plan presented by Sir Stephen Tallents, a senior civil servant with a lot of previous publicity experience, to avoid the unpreparedness of the MOI shown at the Munich crisis, was rejected as it involved some take-over of the work of the peace-time departments.[37] Blamed for the Ministry’s problems, Tallents was dismissed, replaced ‘by a man with no prior experience of propaganda’.[38]

It was known that the next war would be fought by the civil population, and it was expected to be a war of nerves, where maintaining public morale was to be of ‘primary importance’. The government would have ‘to go far beyond anything that has been done in the past’, using ‘every existing and conceivable type of advertising publicity and showmanship’, which would have to ‘be utilised and co-ordinated’, producing the argument for a central controlling office for information.[39] Lord Macmillan claimed that not many people felt ‘the urgency and importance of this fourth armament’ or recognised ‘the severe and practical preparation which its effective use involve.’[40] Cooper conceived of the MOI as one of the fighting services: Goebbels propaganda machine was successful because he fought with a vast army at his back, unlimited expenditure, and no opponents in the field.[41] The government could not ‘afford to have the British public less united and less enthusiastic than the German public’. The Home Publicity Division (HPD) complained that they had to ‘compete with an enemy machine, costing millions a year, which touches and influences every phase of the national life and which has taken years to build up’.[42]

The MOI was not formed until the outbreak of war, with Lord Macmillan appointed as Minister of Information on September 4 1939,[43] at which point the MOI was composed of an Executive and an Advisory Council. See Appendix 6 for the layout of the Executive Council on September 8 1939, comprised of thirteen Directorates, composed of four major groups.[44] The MOI went through several Ministers in quick succession. Macmillan, with a Tory seat in the House of Lords, was criticised as he was unable to defend the position of the MOI in the House of Commons.[45] On January 5 1940 he was replaced by Reith, previously director-general of the BBC.[46] Reith looked to Chamberlain for support in standing up to the Service departments,[47] and fought to achieve War Cabinet rank for the MOI.[48] He complained that the MOI had no real authority,[49] and could not properly function without access to all the relevant information.[50] On May 12 1940, Churchill replaced Reith with Duff Cooper, providing the place on the War Cabinet that Reith had coveted.[51] Criticised, particularly for the quality and quantity of MOI staff,[52] Cooper noted that there was plenty of advertising talent within the MOI, but that it was an uncontrollable ‘monster’.[53] He blamed many failures of the MOI on Churchill, who he believed was not interested in the subject.[54] On July 20 1941, Brendan Bracken was appointed Minister of Information. Unlike his predecessors, Bracken, a close associate of Churchill’s throughout the 1930s,[55] could get the press[56] and the Prime Minister to listen to his ideas, was confident in tackling the Ministry’s adversaries, and scorned ‘the exhortation of the British public’.[57]

As the MOI underwent many changes, there were very few divisions that remained in place from the beginning to the end of the war. It was planned that the MOI would be developed in two stages, with Publicity and Collecting Divisions to be established later, but as soon as possible after war was declared.[58] In 1935, it was expected that the Publicity Division would ensure that the national cause was properly presented to the public both at home and abroad. Government and enemy actions were to be explained, examined, and criticised. Its role would be ‘to watch for subjects in which publicity is required’; ‘to prepare material’; and ‘to arrange the distribution of such material through the appropriate channels’. It was expected that there would be separate sections dealing with each type of propaganda medium. The head of each section would advise whether the topic was suitable for his medium, and suggest topics for which it was suited. It was anticipated that there would be a general section to determine all policy and allot media in consultation with heads of sections.[59] In November 1937, preparatory work began,[60] and in July 1938 the planning of the HPD was begun in earnest.[61] Geographical departments would plan and guide publicity, whilst the technical departments would execute, in consultation, the plans.[62] Publicity producing and publicity using divisions, although separate, needed to be ‘thought of as complementary to, rather than independent of’ each other. Producer divisions, with their expert knowledge, were able to give valuable advice as to the form which the material could best take, and could suggest fruitful lines of policy. They could not, however, turn out material that had not been sanctioned by the publicity division for whose use it was intended, being mainly executive agents of the users.[63] The HPD did all publicity work, including leaflets, exhibitions, press advertising, posters, pictures, photographs and documentary films. It was deemed ‘very desirable’ to all the various media under one Controller, to ensure that their use could be balanced within ‘any particular publicity campaign’.[64] The HPD was expected to use outside agencies, both at home and overseas, some specialised, and would be ‘directly dependent’ on the ‘guidance of the Collecting Division, both in deciding its policy and in assessing its results’.[65]

The MOI undertook three main types of campaigns. There were campaigns initiated within, and conducted entirely by, the MOI. There were campaigns undertaken by the Ministry at the request of other Government Departments, including evacuation for the Ministry of Health, salvage for the Ministry of Supply and ‘Dig for Victory’ for the Ministry of Agriculture. There were also campaigns initiated locally by the Regional Information Officer (RIO) on behalf of the MOI, or at the specific request of the Regional Commissioner for Civil Defence or of Regional officers of other government departments.[66] The MOI queried whether the campaign was essential, and, if so, whether legislative or administrative action was necessary, with publicity providing the explanation. If legislative action was necessary, but refused, propaganda campaigns were rejected as propaganda campaigns were not a suitable substitute. Once a campaign was agreed on, decisions needed to be made as to whether the campaign should consist of explanation or a persuasive emotional appeal. Inadequate explanation was deemed pointless, but emotional appeals were considered to have been overused. Any resistance to government requests needed to be understood, whether material or mental factors.[67]

Before undertaking work originating from other departments, the MOI required an official letter asking them to undertake responsibility, and ‘explaining precisely what their policy is and what they want us to do’.[68] The HPD would then decide, in consultation with the General Production Division (GPD), after submission to the Director-General, whether to accept the campaign. The GPD would consider the conditions leading up to the request; whether the conditions are such that publicity can be effective; what kind of publicity can be effective; the extent of the publicity necessary; the effect of the proposed campaign on other campaigns.[69]

If accepted, the Directors of HPD and GPD would then consult with representatives of the requesting department to get ideas and greater detail, although the MOI was not committed to using the ideas suggested. The HPD would then meet with the GPD, Editorial, Films and Radio Relations where everyone could pool their ideas and draw up a rough outline of the campaign, allocating responsibilities to each producing division. Each would then work out the detail of their share of the campaign, and reconvene to settle the order, before submitting to the Director-General for approval. The GPD would take responsibility for posters, undertaking technical work that would be displayed on voluntary sites, and instructing advertising agents to do work on a commission basis where necessary. The HPD would direct and co-ordinate the general working out of the campaign and for work (such as a letter from the Queen to evacuees parents) outside of the technical production divisions.[70] Treasury sanction would then be sought. Once agreement had been reached between the MOI and requesting department, the GPD had a responsibility to see that the plan was carried out, consulting an agreed panel of experts if necessary, and keeping the originating department informed.[71]

By 1940 the HPD was part of the General Division,[72] its duties distributed between the three functional divisions, the Regional Administration Division and RIOs.[73] The Home Morale Emergency Committee (HMEC) was formed in May 1940,[74] essentially an ad hoc committee that made detailed recommendations in order to deal with public morale.[75] Deciding that exhortations were pointless, they decided that people wanted direction and concrete orders.[76] By mid-1940, the HPD had broken down, and the HMEC expanded to become the Home Planning Committee (HPC).[77] The HPC felt that their role could only work if they had financial control, and if all important proposals for campaigns were discussed at weekly meetings,[78] achieving their goal on August 26 1940, when no fresh financial commitments could be made without the HPC’s approval.[79] The HPC met daily after the Policy Committee, when it discussed the measures required to carry out policies which had been decided on, referring back to the Policy Committee for further guidance, if necessary.[80]

The Treasury ruling passed in 1940 required that all government advertising, other than that issued by the National Savings Committee, should be issued through the MOI.[81] The MOI never gained actual control over the publicity of the Ministry of Food, or the National Savings movement,[82] whilst other departments appear to have used the MOI only as a formality.[83] There is evidence that, initially at least, the Ministry of Food was prepared to work with the MOI. It understood that the role of the MOI was ‘the defence of the home front’, in which food was an important ‘object of attack’. To assist the MOI to carry out its publicity functions the Ministry of Food supplied ‘information and notes as the basis of argument’. They then worked in close consultation, but it was the ‘affair’ of the MOI ‘to prepare the statement of the case based on our notes and to “put it over”’.[84] The division of responsibility was explained in December 1940 as: ‘most changes in habits (good or bad) are promoted by other Ministries, e.g. rationing, curfew, … changes in beliefs, e.g. belief in official communiqués, are the direct concern of this Ministry’.[85] The financial responsibility was unclear as there was no scheme for the partial allocation of expense, such as the production by one Ministry and distribution by another. For example, if there were to be a general campaign against waste, anti-food-wastage posters would be part of the general scheme, and their cost would be borne by the Ministry of Information, or the Stationary Office Vote. On the other hand, should the Ministry of Food decide to persuade the public not to waste certain special food commodities, the publicity would have to be financed by the department.[86] Waterfield regarded financial responsibility as an important issue as it determined whether the MOI was regarded as the ‘mere servant’ of other departments, or whether it should be regarded as a ‘responsible department’.[87] The danger was that if departments had asked for a campaign to be given coverage and the MOI did not oblige, they would ‘run campaigns themselves’, when the MOI had felt that ‘the absorptive capacity’ of the public had been exceeded.[88]

In July 1940, the MOI appeared unsure as to who exercised control over posters, particularly Government and trade posters.[89] The MOI did not have the power to change the wording of anything that passed through the department, and, in June 1931, Cooper was driven to asking that the Ministry of Information be given more power, or that it be disbanded altogether.[90] In 1942, there was still lack of control, as it had been agreed to comply with Churchill’s decision not to promote post-war aims, but the ABCA posters ‘Your Britain, Fight for It Now’ (figures 18 to 20) were still produced through the MOI.[91] It is unclear when the Campaigns Division formed, but it was in place by the end of the war. Exercising central control, it ensured that every campaign was given its ‘proper relative importance’ amongst all government campaigns, avoiding possible conflicts. Each campaign was planned to make proper use of all suitable media, with associated commercial and government groups protected from uncoordinated demands. Available advertising agencies were used ‘with due regard for the proper spread of Government patronage’.[92] The Campaigns Division, also responsible for press advertising, was ‘directly and technically responsible for the production and distribution of millions of leaflets and posters’, and spent ‘over half-a-million ponds per annum on poster site hire’.[93]

At the outbreak of war, it was expected that £250,000 would be spent in the first two months of war, including £185,000 on propaganda,[94] of which £50,000 was expected to be spent on posters.[95] In the first six months of war, £27,036 was spent on posters, including the costs of design roughs, artist’s fees, site hire, distribution and other costs.[96] In 1942, £4,000,000 was spent on publicity (a 33% increase on the previous year), of which £120,000 was spent on posters, art and exhibitions, with the MOI working as an agency for eighteen government departments.[97] In 1942, probably within the last quarter, £1,009 was spent on art work for posters, £25,306 on site hire, distribution and other costs.[98] In what was probably the first quarter of 1943 £1,724 was spent on art work, and £37,455 on site hire, distribution and other costs.[99] By 1943, 10% of the entire MOI publicity budget was spent on the home front, out of which 4.32% was composed of expenditure on posters.[100]

By May 1939, planning staff had been employed in the GPD, including a General Production Manager to co-ordinate technical planning, an assistant with a specialised knowledge of outdoor publicity, copywriters, research workers and a part-time artist to execute roughs (see Appendix 7).[101] By mid-June the register of artists and collected samples of their work was ready, and the first poster-roughs complete.[102] In normal commercial practice, three months was considered usual from ‘the decision to start the production of a poster and its appearance on hoardings’. After consultation with HMSO, it was hoped that it could be possible to effect the production of a poster in a fortnight, and once war had started, possibly in one week.[103] In some cases this was achieved, with a campaign on behalf of the Ministry of Home Security printed and distributed within ten days of financial authority.[104] The GPD remained in place throughout the war.[105] With an administrative and technical staff of 30, it was ‘responsible for the writing and production of all printed matter’, including articles, pamphlets, leaflets, books, and posters, ‘to meet the requirements of the four primary Divisions’. The GPD could, and did, call ‘to its aid professional advertising firms which specialise in the form of publicity which it is decided to employ’.[106] For posters, newspapers and other publicity, the Department acted as ‘advertising agent to other Ministries’ and was ‘responsible for the preparation and execution of campaigns of varying character and extent’ to meet requirements. The work undertaken in the Ministry was intended to be in the ‘nature of review and control’, as it was not intended to ‘undertake production direct’ except in the absence of ‘suitable external facilities’.[107] In November 1940, discussions were under way as to whether to rename the General Production Department, the Poster and Publicity Division. This would be comprised of five sections: ordering, execution and checking of work; distribution of publicity material; management of campaigns and general administration; publication of periodicals, copy and ideas; design, layout and lettering in the studio.[108] Vaughan complained that this tile was ‘hardly descriptive of the work we do’, and suggested that Publicity Division alone was appropriate if renaming was necessary.[109] The DG said that he preferred the old title of GPD and ordered that it continued to be used.[110] The GPD included the understaffed Outdoor Publicity Department where ‘the poster requirements of 19 Government Departments are at present being negotiated and handled by only 2 seniors, 3 J.A.S. and 6 juniors’. Few campaigns operated ‘without poster publicity’, but posters were handled by ‘understaffed juniors’, and £300,000 worth of paid-for posters sites, and voluntary sites were ready for use, but not being professionally maintained.[111]

Edwin Embleton, Studio Manager for the GPD, was responsible for preparing contracts and ensuring that work was fulfilled by artists and copywriters on time.[112] On occasions it was difficult to recruit[113] and retain workers. Advertising specialists, although they ‘wished to remain patriotic’, were earning half of what they could earn commercially, and as a result Embleton was losing skilled men, particularly as civil service rules did not allow for workers to take moonlight work.[114] The GPD was often over-stretched, but Woodburn believed that this called for better quality, rather than quantity, officers, which cost-cutting measures did not allow for.[115] Reginald Mount worked full time for the MOI throughout the war, and Eileen Evans and Austin Cooper joined later.[116] Outside the MOI other freelancers were used, including Tom Eckersley in the Air Force, Pat Keely at the GPO, Abram Games the only ‘Official War Office Poster Artist’, with Frank Newbould his assistant. The artists all maintained their identity as freelancers in a large design organisation ‘which appears to have positively nurtured creative work’. Designers recall it as a happy working time, designing for a serious purpose, and working largely without restriction. Freeman comments that ‘perhaps because the MOI was new and its policies were evolving it was receptive to innovative design ideas.’[117] Outside agencies were employed on creative production by the GPD as much as possible, but practical limits were imposed by the necessity for close co-operation with user divisions, the need for secrecy and confidentiality with certain material, the need for speed and cost.[118] By March 1941, with a larger staff, the studio was able to contract out less work. Straightforward work such as the ‘finishing up of lettering’ was still given to outside studios, releasing studio artists to concentrate on fresh creative work,.[119] It is unclear whether artists were commissioned or offered their services in every case, although how poster artists had been selected pre- war by other government departments were considered.[120] The MOI desired to be a centre with which writers and artists desiring to use their talents in the national cause can be in touch with a view to securing information, advice and such other facilities as it may be possible to give them.[121]

The MOI was expected to get the best value, and to obtain quotations from artists as non-competitive tenders always ‘attract criticism’,[122] although later it was said that competitive tendering was expected to increase the cost.[123]

Dame Laura Knight, an established classically trained artist, was asked, in October 1939, whether she was ‘interested in the possibility of producing a Pictorial poster to be used in Government publicity?’[124] Later, a ‘preliminary sketch’ was requested, common practice in government departments, for which ten guineas would be paid. A further sixty guineas would be paid for the finished design, processed only if the design was passed.[125] Knight complained that she never made preliminary sketches as size ‘makes so much difference to composition’.[126] After debate it was noted that exceptions for any artist, however distinguished, could not be made as it would be unfair to other artists who had to work under the conditions.[127] Knight was given ten to twelve days to produce a rough picture, allowing 8” for wording, and signed a formal contract giving up the right to copyright.[128] The wording, in some cases at least, was not considered an integral part of the design, with five guineas paid for the ‘lettering for a 20 x 15 poster’.[129] Kenneth Clark was given £100, expected to last six months, to pay artists who produced roughs that were not used as posters, for which payment would not normally exceed five guineas.[130] This was the figure offered to Harold Pym, contacted through the War Artists and Illustrators, for a rough design depicting an ‘aerial dog fight’, double crown size, for display in the Middle East, with the MOI ‘under no obligation’ to accept the rough.[131] Publicity artists were not in a reserved occupation. In February 1941, the War Office was asked to allow Harold Pym an extra fortnight’s leave to complete poster work he was preparing for the MOI, after he was called into Service at short notice.[132] In July 1941, having already handled poster work for the MOI, the War Artists and Illustrators wanted to present further specimens of their artists work to the MOI.[133] Despite complaints that there was a lack of skilled poster artists, Harrington, who had ‘considerable experience in poster design and advertising layout including lettering’,[134] was told there were no vacancies in the Studio.[135] He was an artist who had experience of industrial publicity, and had ideas for amplifying the ‘Go to it’ slogan.[136] McKnight Kauffer offered his services to the MOI, but as an ‘alien’ he was paid on a fee rather than a salary basis, and found himself doing ‘hack work’, and thus left for America in late 1939.[137] He did not feel that the best use was being made of his skills, and had he felt he was indispensable at the MOI he would have stayed on.[138] By June 1942 the seriousness of the situation was recognised and a series of letters was sent out to skilled men in the forces, asking whether they were happy to have their name put forward to be released from the forces to work for the MOI.[139]

Finished poster designs would be forwarded to His Majesty’s Stationary Office (HMSO) ‘together with specifications of quantities for printing and distribution’.[140] In planning to use HMSO, it was questioned whether it could continue to provide the required service at ‘a very much accelerated rate’. The HMSO normally took about three weeks to produce about 30,000 coloured posters,[141] which were also more expensive and time consuming, but more effective.[142] Lord Davidson suggested that speed could be improved by employing printers direct, without going through HMSO. Vaughan, however, noted that HMSO had the best machinery ‘for ascertaining at any time the state of availability of the print trade’, and urgent work could still be placed with printing firms nationwide who were able to take it when necessary.[143] Posters were to be produced using HMSO stock copy, with a high standard to be maintained as work would be associated with the department. Proofs were provided to printers to check the accuracy of type-setting. Writers were to be prevented from regarding them as an opportunity to alter the original subject matter, which would cost more time and money. Before sending to the printer, all proofs were signed by the author, reader and production assistant.[144]

The control of paper was important, particularly once paper was rationed on February 12 1940,[145] with paper more important to the MOI than any other department.[146] It was not anticipated the printers would have any difficulty finding paper at the start of the war, although paper for colour printing required time to mature, and delays would occur if sufficient stock did not exist.[147] The GPD was responsible for the MOI ration, and corresponded with HMSO, the Paper Control and individual printers.[148] With 26.5 tons of paper used for posters by December 1940, decisions had to be made as to whether the stocks of the MOI or the requesting department were used. It was anticipated that printing stocks would come from the HMSO, or from commercial firms hired at MOI instigation.[149] With shrinking newspapers, more use was being made of posters on commercial sites by late 1941, with an average poster display using seventeen tons for a thirteen week campaign. The MOI had handled eighteen major campaigns in the preceding twelve months, and assuming similar figures in the future, it was expected that 306 tons per annum would be used, possibly with increased demand.[150] A letter to the DDG noted that paper controls should not be allowed to interfere with campaigns. If campaigns had been deemed necessary and Treasury sanction had been given, Royds would need only to ensure that ‘quantities of printed material involved are absolutely indispensable to the success of the campaign’, and whether reductions could be made that would not ‘fatally’ impair it.[151]

Standard commercial sizes, particularly Demy and Crown were to be used to ensure speed of production, unless circumstances dictated differently.[152] Posters of a hoarding size were to be prepared only for long-term campaigns, with posters of a shop-size to be distributed in anticipation of, for example, food campaigns.[153] The government needed to ensure that it was not seen infringing the law, and the size of posters was limited to a maximum size of four-sheets (60” x 40”) under ‘Paper Order No. 16 of May 25 1940’. In June 1940 there were ‘home morale’ campaigns for which the government wished to publish 16 and 48 sheet posters, which were in excess of the maximum permitted size, so a special licence to print was required. Vaughan suggested that the government should be allowed to do so, in the same way that Military Authorities were allowed to ignore speed limits and use unlimited petrol despite public rationing.[154] Government departments were not bound by the law prohibiting large-scale posters, but bill-posters were ‘inclined to complain on the score of wasting paper’, and this was deemed a ‘valid interjection’.[155] Advertiser’s complained at the size restrictions. They recognised the need to conserve paper, but felt that this could be better achieved by giving rations to companies to use as required, rather than by limiting the size of posters. It was argued that filled hoardings added colour to life and by covering bombed buildings would improve morale. The MOI was felt to be setting a bad example by fly-posting,,[156] as the public was cajoled by the press to save paper, but every week there was ‘some unnecessary publication’ by the government.[157] In November 1941, legislation was introduced forbidding the use of similar posters near each other.[158]

The distribution of posters was thus vitally important, as Vaughan noted to Woodburn, when there was a threat to the use of Mr Scarborough, who had worked unpaid for the MOI for the first five weeks of war. Scarborough was ‘completely familiar with the whole detail of the distribution of the Ministry’s posters’. This included distribution to factories, mills, banks, chain stores, licensed houses, hotels and restaurants, local authorities, employment exchanges, schools, post offices; and bulk distribution through the regional offices of the National Savings Association, the British Legion and the Boy Scouts Association.

Scarborough’s work involved the controlled despatch of posters to ‘ensure even coverage of the country’; the minimisation of waste through the despatch of ‘precise quantities and sizes’ requested by exhibitors of posters; and ensuring that exhibitors were not sent more posters than they could show.[159] Whether this plea was successful is unknown, but by August 1940 the Distribution Section within the GPD was responsible for the ‘distribution of all material produced or bought by the Ministry’,[160] and the distribution of posters was generally centralised at Headquarters. Mailings were made direct from the HMSO to firms or organisations nation-wide who undertook to display posters either on commercial or free sites. Distribution through local committees was deemed practicable only in the following cases: where a poster was only to be displayed in ‘certain areas’ or ‘on a particular type of site’, when voluntary bodies were expected to co-operate. In certain emergency cases locally held poster stocks could be distributed,[161] with general stocks of posters with space for over-printing of urgent messages prepared.[162] MOI posters could be obtained by applying to RIOs, and could be displayed at exhibitions, in the course of relevant campaigns, and on freely offered private sites. The MOI was responsible for distributing not only its own posters, but those produced on behalf of other departments.[163] The dangers of a central printing and distribution system were recognised in a war where aerial bombardment was a certainty and Regional and Local Organisations were to be allowed autonomous control if communications were cut with central headquarters.[164] Invitations, signed by the Minister, were potentially to be sent to local Advertising Agents and newspapers ‘to hold themselves in readiness to produce any material, hand-bills, etc. within a few hours if necessary’.[165]

Once year-round campaigns were to be run, it was hoped to employ an Outdoor Publicity Agent, achieving economic benefits and ensuring that poster sites were used continuously.[166] Vaughan described the three leading British Advertising Agencies equipped to handle Outdoor Advertising as S.H. Benson Ltd., Crawfords Ltd., and the London Press Exchange, of which Bensons was considered to offer the most complete service. Other agencies which had ‘less complete facilities for Outdoor Publicity’ would be used for press advertising.[167] Other ‘responsible and efficient’ advertising agencies to ‘whom Government business could be entrusted with confidence’,[168] not previously mentioned, were listed, although the list was not intended to be exhaustive.[169] It was possible that billposting firms could be hired, including The Borough Billposting Co, Walter Hill Ltd., and Willings Ltd. The need to provide work to smaller agencies was also considered, although they were not as well-equipped for handling large campaigns, particularly at short notice. Provincial agents were considered ‘difficult to employ’, but would be used if campaigns were locally limited. With the GPD involved in the selection of agents, campaigns could be worked on by more than one agency, but not more than four.[170]

Bensons had previously done work for the War Office and had been paid 10% of the gross plus a service fee of 5%. This fee covered all the ‘costs of packing, despatching and carriage of posters’. The work involved the selection of suitable sites in agreement with bill-posting contractors, monthly inspections, and recommendations of free sites. The inspections ensured that sites remained clean and in good condition, and the opportunity to improve the site position if other advertisers released a site.[171] Bensons initially did work for the MOI, but were replaced by a cheaper firm of billposting contractors. Vaughan complained that the new contractors ‘had no system of inspection of sites and no men to carry out such a system’, whilst Benson’s retained 22 men. Uninspected sites could not be used in an emergency, and GPD felt the MOI was being ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ in employing contractors Newton and Walter Hill for a commission of 10% instead of Bensons at 15%. The Committee agreed that an inspection service was vital, and just needed to establish in writing that no one else could give the same service as Bensons before they were made sole agents for the MOI.[172] The Advisory Committee decided that they would not employ billposting firms who were also site owners. Bensons and Outdoor Publicity were to be given responsibility for all government billposting work, but were expected to take in smaller firms to give a fair spread of the work during the war.[173]

By 1942 posters were expected to be displayed ‘wherever free posting can be obtained and for economy reasons should only be fixed at points where there is a considerable amount of pedestrian traffic or large bodies gathered together’. This would include railway stations, cinema and theatre entrances, shopping thoroughfares, schools, church notice boards, town halls, women’s institutes, lecture centres of Civil Defence Units and all places where bodies of people are gathered together for special purposes.[174]

Questionnaire respondents noted that they had seen posters all over railway stations, and many town locations were mentioned. Few mentioned rural locations, with ‘none seen in smaller villages that I remember’.[175] On some occasions, it appears that the distribution process was not careful enough, as appeals to ‘save water’ were regarded as particularly unnecessary near a Scottish loch with an inexhaustible water supply.[176]

CHAPTER CONTINUES….

NOTE: All references to ‘PRO’ below are whilst it was the Public Record Office, now the National Archives, for whom I worked on a key digital project.


[1] For instance, see Grant, M., Propaganda and the Role of State in Inter-War Britain, 1994, pp.1-4; McLaine, I., Ministry of Morale: Home Front Morale and the Ministry of Information in World War Two, 1979, p.3; and Taylor, P.M. Munitions of the Mind: War Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Nuclear Age, 1990, pp.188-194.

[2] PRO INF 1/713, ‘Publicity: Home: Sub-Committee Proceedings. September 1938 – June 1939’, undated but pre-war.

[3] See PRO INF 1/261, ‘Memorandum on the report of Mass Observation upon the Red posters’, October 1939, p.5: ‘If the Ministry could be free from such criticism for a few weeks its posters would undoubtedly have a better effect on civilian morale, since some at least of the critical reactions to the posters have been caused by the attacks on the Ministry’, with ‘The reptile press’ handwritten in the margin. For more information, see Balfour, M., Propaganda in the War 1939-45, Organisations, Policies and Publics in Britain and Germany, 1979, p.62, and McLaine, I., op.cit., 1979, pp.35-42.

[4] PRO INF 1/849, ‘Secret Memo drafted by Nicolson’, January 16 1941.

[5] Grant, M., op.cit., 1994, p.33.

[6] Cooper, D., Old Men Forget, 1953, p.286; Macmillan felt this rang true from his own experience in the Second World War. Macmillan, H.P., A Man of Law’s Tale, 1952, p.166.

[7] Chapman, J., The British at War: Cinema, State and Propaganda1939-1945, 1998, p.vii.

[8] Ibid., p.40.

[9] PRO CAB 16/127, ‘MIC 1 Committee of Imperial Defence: Sub-Committee to prepare plans for the establishment of a Ministry of Information.’, October 14 1935.

[10] Balfour, M., op.cit., 1979, pp.53-56; Grant, M., op.cit., 1994, p.223-246; McLaine, I., op.cit., 1979, pp.12-33; Taylor, P.M, ‘If War Should Come: Preparing the Fifth Arm for Total War 1935-1939’, Journal of Contemporary, History, Vol. 16, 1981, pp.33-45; Willcox, T., ‘Towards a Ministry of Information’, History, Vol. 69, October 1984, pp.398-414.

[11] Grant, M., op.cit., 1994, p.29. See also Taylor, P., ‘If War Should Come’, op.cit., 1981, p.33.

[12] Taylor, P.M., The Projection of Britain: British Overseas Publicity and Propaganda 1919-1939, 1981, p.13.

[13] Ibid., p.46. Balfour, M., op.cit., 1979, p.54 noted that the Nazis, impressed with the British First World War propaganda effort, based their own model on it

[14] PRO INF 1/1, ‘Progress Report for Period Ended January 31st, 1938, by Sir Stephen Tallents, K.CM.G., C.B., C.B.E., Director General Designate, Ministry of Information’, February 1938.

[15] PRO INF 4/1A, ‘D.B. Woodburn to G.C. North’, April 9 1938; PRO INF 1/709, ‘Letter from Valuation Branch, Customs and Excise to Tallents’, September 3 1938; and PRO INF 1/710, ‘Letter addressed to Tallents’, undated but pre-war.

[16] PRO INF 4/1A, Unspecified file, ‘Aims of Home Publicity During the Great War’, undated but 1938. PRO CAB 21/1069, Robertson, C.P., ‘Memorandum on the Creation of a Ministry of Information in War’, 12 September 1935 noted that one official even had to resort to the Encyclopaedia Britannica in order to obtain a definition of ‘propaganda’. Captain Peter Chalmers Mitchell, who had been on the Staff of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, and later served with the Department of Enemy Propaganda, wrote the entry in question.

[17] PRO INF 1/1, ‘Letter from Hildred to Tallents’, January 8 1938, complained that planners were risking both their health and their jobs working long hours at the MOI.

[18] Willcox, T., op.cit., 1984, p.412.

[19] Cruickshank, C., The Fourth Arm: Psychological Warfare 1938-45, 1975, p.28. Campbell-Stuart had worked for the MOI in the First World War.

[20] PRO CAB 16/129, ‘Memo of creation of MOI in event of war prepared by Mr CP Robertson of Press Section of Air Ministry’, September 12 1935.

[21] PRO MH 78/232, ‘Letter from [K.B.] Leslie to K. McGregor’, October 3 1939.

[22] Willcox, T., op.cit., 1984, p.398.

[23] Grant, M., op.cit., 1994, p.46.

[24] PRO CAB 21/1069, ‘Memorandum on the Creation of a Ministry of Information in war by C.P. Robertson, Press Section, Air Ministry’, September 12 1935, p.5.

[25] Grant, M., op.cit., 1994, p.245.

[26] Willcox, T., op.cit., 1984, p.398.

[27] PRO CAB 16/127, ‘Minutes of the First Meeting of the Sub-Committee’, October 25 1935, p.13.

[28] PRO INF 1/10, ‘Functions and Organisation of the Ministry. Memorandum by E.B. Morgan’, early 1939.

[29] PRO CAB 16/127, Colville, J., ‘Minor Changes in C.I.D. Paper No 12530B’, May 4 1938, p.5.

[30] PRO MAF 39/05, ‘Report from the Select Committee on Estimates: Advertising and Publicity by Government Departments’, [1938], p.2.

[31] PRO CAB 16/127, ‘Minutes of the First Meeting of the Sub-Committee’, October 25 1935, p.14; PRO INF 1/711, ‘Publicity in the United Kingdom’, undated but pre-war.

[32] PRO INF 1/709, ‘Publicity Division: Central Organisation: Preliminary. April-October 1939’, undated but pre-war.

[33] PRO INF 1/712, ‘Publicity in the United Kingdom’, undated.

[34] PRO INF 1/1, ‘Progress Report’, op.cit., February 1938.

[35] McLaine, I., op.cit., 1979, p.16.

[36] Taylor, P., ‘If War Should Come’, op.cit., 1981, pp.38-40.

[37] PRO CAB 16/127, ‘Fifth Meeting of the CID sub-committee to prepare plans for the establishment of a Ministry of Information in a time of war’, 14 December 1938.

[38] Taylor, P., ‘If War Should Come’, op.cit., 1981, p.45.

[39] PRO INF 1/10, ‘Functions and Organisation of the Ministry. Memorandum by E.B. Morgan’, early 1939.

[40] Quoted in McLaine, I., op.cit., 1979, p.15. Interested parties echoed this sentiment. See anonymous, ‘Government has Realised Advertising’s Possibilities’, Advertising Review, February 24 1940, p.13, quoting Chapman, G.R., Secretary of the Advertising Association. Chapman described wartime publicity and propaganda as Britain’s ‘fourth arm’, still relatively unused, unlike in German, where such power had been ‘used for an evil rather than a good end’. See also, anonymous, ‘Wartime Advertising, in Battledress, Forms a Second Front’, Vol. 118, No. 1,535, October 22 1942, p.71, quoting Sir Harold Mackintosh, President of the Adveritisng Association.

[41] PRO INF 1/78, The Times, February 7 1941 (Cutting).

[42] PRO INF 1/302, ‘Home Publicity Functions’, early-October 1939.

[43] Cantwell, J., The Second World War: A Guide to Documents in the Public Record Office, 1993, p.113.

[44] PRO INF 1/23, ‘Organisation of the Ministry of Information’, September 8 1939.

[45] PRO PREM 1/389, ‘Letter from Citrine, Gen. Sec of Trades Union Congress’, October 23 1939, listed a deputation to the ‘Prime Minister, Lord Macmillan, Mr Waterfield and Mr Rucker, from National Council of Labour’, October 27 1939. For more on Macmillan, see Macmillan, H.P., op.cit., 1952.

[46] Stuart, C., The Reith Diaries, 1975, p.235.

[47] Ibid., p.236.

[48] Ibid., p.247.

[49] Reith, J., Into the Wind, 1949, p.353.

[50] PRO INF 1/857, ‘Memorandum from A.P. Ryan to the Minister of Information’, June 4 1941.

[51] Cooper, D., op.cit., 1953, p.280. See also Charmley, J., Duff Cooper: The Authorised Biography, 1986, and Hollis, C., ‘Minister of Information: Alfred Duff Cooper’, Picture Post, June 1 1940, pp.16-17.

[52] Chapman, J., op.cit., 1998, p.14, and Weight, R., ‘State, Intelligentsia and the Promotion of National Culture in Britain, 1939-45’, Historical Research, Vol. 69, No. 168, February 1996, p.85.

[53] Cooper, D., op.cit., 1953, p.285.

[54] Ibid., p.288.

[55] Lysaght, C.E., Brendan Bracken: A Biography, 1979, pp.190-191.

[56] HLRO, Hist. Coll. 184, Beaverbrook Papers, C/56, ‘Letter from Beaverbrook to Bracken’, July 21 1941, Beaverbrook, a key figure in the press, congratulated Bracken on his new position, and offered support.

[57] McLaine, I., op.cit., 1979, p.7. HLRO, Hist. Coll. 270, Davidson Papers, ‘Home Morale Emergency Committee: Report to Policy Committee’, June 4 1940, makes it clear that Bracken was not the first to recognise that the public wanted instructions rather than exhortations, and command rather than comfort, as Cooper was Minister at this point.

[58] See PRO INF 1/1, ‘Progress Report’, op.cit., February 1938, p.24 for further details.

[59] PRO CAB 16/128, ‘Sub-Committee Appointed by Committee of Imperial Defence on October 14 1935’, undated, p.17.

[60] PRO INF 1/1, ‘Progress Report’, op.cit., February 1938, p.24.

[61] Grant, M., op.cit., 1994, p.241.

[62] PRO CAB 16/127, ‘Progress Report for Period ending March 31, 1938, by Standing Sub-Committee on the Scheme for a Ministry of Information in Time of War’, October 1938, p.11. The geographical departments were divided into the ‘the Home Country, the Empire overseas, allied countries, neutral countries, and enemy countries’.

[63] PRO INF 1/77, ‘Ministry of Information, General Organisation’, undated.

[64] PRO INF 1/712, ‘Publicity: Sub-Committee Proceedings, July – September 1938’, undated.

[65] PRO CAB 16/127, ‘Progress Report for Period ending March 31, 1938, by Standing Sub-Committee on the Scheme for a Ministry of Information in Time of War’, October 1938, p.10.

[66] PRO INF 1/306, ‘Publicity Campaigns: Organisation of Local Information Committees’, undated, but between January-April 1941.

[67] PRO INF 1/251, ‘Home Intelligence, Home Front Propaganda’, undated.

[68] PRO INF 1/340, ‘Notes of Discussion between D.G., D.D.G., A.D.G., Mr Hilton and Mr Surrey Dane on the Allocation of Responsibility for Publicity Campaigns’, undated but probably 1940.

[69] PRO INF 1/86, ‘Memo from Vaughan to DDG: Normal Procedure in the handling of Advertising Campaigns for MOI for other Government Departments’, August 16 1941.

[70] PRO INF 1/340, ‘Notes of Discussion’, op.cit., undated but probably 1940.

[71] PRO INF 1/340, ‘Memorandum on Allocation of Responsibility Between Home Publicity and General Production’, January 23 1940.

[72] PRO INF 1/3, ‘General Division – Progress Report from January 1 to February 21 1940’, February 1940.

[73] PRO INF 1/77, ‘Ministry of Information: Organisation of the Ministry’, February 5 1940.

[74] PRO INF 1/250, ‘Secret: First Interim Report’, May 22 1940.

[75] PRO INF 1/250, ‘Report to Policy Committee’, June 4 1940.

[76] PRO INF 1/250, ‘24th Meeting of the Policy Committee’, undated, and PRO INF 1/251, ‘Notes for the Long-term policy of the Ministry’, August 24 1940.

[77] PRO INF 1/71, ‘Extract: Planning Committee: Wednesday, August 21 1940: Composition and Functions’, August 1940. Frank Pick was the head of the HPC.

[78] PRO INF 1/249, ‘Functions of the Planning Committee, note to Walter Monckton from M. Balfour’, December 1940.

[79] PRO INF 1/253, ‘Memo from Sir Kenneth Clark to DDG: Home Planning Committee’, undated but probably August 1940.

[80] PRO INF 1/252, ‘Copies to P.S. and Lord Davidson from Sir Kenneth Clark’, April 10 1941.

[81] PRO INF 1/3, ‘General Division – Progress Report from January 1 to February 21 1940’, February 1940.

[82] Balfour, M., op.cit., 1979, p.61.

[83] PRO INF 1/3, ‘General Division’, op.cit., February 1940, p.67.

[84] PRO INF 1/343, ‘Letter from the Ministry of Food to Sir Findlater Stewart at the MOI’, October 31 1939.

[85] PRO INF 1/251, ‘Ministry of Information, Plan for Home Publicity’, [December 1940], (emphasis in original).

[86] PRO INF 1/343, ‘Memo from CCA [unreadable] to Mr R.W. Harris’, November 9 1939.

[87] PRO INF 1/341, ‘Letter to Hale, Treasury from Waterfield, MOI’, December 5 1939, pp.1-2.

[88] PRO INF 1/238, ‘Memo from DDG to Mr EHT Wiltshire’, April 20 1942.

[89] PRO INF 1/63, Mr Bamford, ‘Select Committee on National Expenditure: Sub Committee on Home Defence Services Meeting on July 17 1940’, July 1940.

[90] Balfour, M., op.cit., 1979, p.64.

[91] McLaine, I., op.cit., 1979, p.183.

[92] PRO INF 1/942, ‘Campaigns Division: Post-War Position’, July 20 1945.

[93] PRO INF 1/954, ‘Memo to DDG from Mr Buxton’, undated but 1945.

[94] PRO INF 1/54, ‘Letter from D.B. Woodburn to ECW, Secretary of the Treasury’, September 2 1939.

[95] PRO INF 1/54, ‘Letter to Mr Waterfield: Finance’, September 7 1939.

[96] PRO INF 1/60, ‘Payments made September 3 1939 to March 31 1940’, April 8 1940.

[97] PRO INF 1/75, ‘Parliamentary Debates on MOI’, 1943. The MOI did work for: Admiralty; Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries/Department of Agriculture for Scotland; Air Ministry; Board of Education; Ministry of Food (Poster Campaigns); Ministry of Fuel & Power; General Post Office; Ministry of Health; Home Office and Ministry of Home Security; Board of Inland Revenue; Ministry of Labour; Ministry of Pensions; Ministry of Production; Ministry of Supply; Board of Trade; Ministry of War Transport; Ministry of Works & Planning; and the War Office.

[98] Ibid., ‘Statement of Ministry of Information Expenditure and Estimate of Commitments’, January 22 1943.

[99] Ibid., ‘Statement of Ministry of Information Expenditure and Estimate of Commitments’, April 23 1943.

[100] Ibid., ‘Estimate of the Vote for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Information for the year ending March 31 1944’, April 1943.

[101] PRO INF 1/720, ‘Meeting, Programme of Publicity Measures’, May 18 1939.

[102] Ibid., June 8 1939.

[103] Ibid., undated, but June-August 1939. In 1931, a ‘Buy British’ campaign had been achieved in six weeks, but this was only under extreme pressure and in peacetime. In rare cases posters had been got out ten days after the design had been agreed on. HLRO, Hist. Coll. 270, Davidson Papers, ‘Policy Committee’, June 7 1940, discussed the speed at which the Prime Minister’s speech could appear as a poster. It was agreed that within a long-term campaign it would take two-three weeks, but if speed, rather than quality, was of the essence, then one-two days was possible.

[104] PRO INF 1/4, ‘General Division, Progress Report for April’, May 1940.

[105] PRO INF 1/942, ‘General Production Division’, December 31 1944.

[106] PRO CAB 21/1069, ‘Home Division’, undated but pre-war, p.8.

[107] PRO INF 1/78, ‘Ministry of Information: Organisation’, probably November 1940.

[108] PRO INF 1/86, ‘OEPEC Paper No 572, Poster and Publicity Division’, November 14 1940.

[109] Ibid., ‘Memo from Vaughan to DG’, December 6 1940.

[110] Ibid., ‘Memo from Woodburn to Vaughan’, January 29 1941.

[111] PRO INF 1/140, ‘Request for Additional Staff for Campaigns Division’, December 1941.

[112] PRO INF 1/638, See the variety in ‘Contracts with Artists: War Artists and Illustrators. 24 November 1939 – October 1941’.

[113] PRO INF 1/86, ‘OEPEC Paper No 1951, General Production Division: Regrading of Staff’, undated but probably January 1943.

[114] Ibid., ‘Letter from National Register of Industrial Designers to Embleton’, May 13 1942 (with hand written notes by Embleton).

[115] Ibid., ‘Mr Woodburn: Views on Staffing’, January 1943.

[116] PRO INF 1/252, ‘Memo by Vaughan’, November 12 1940.

[117] Freeman, J., ‘Professional Organisations: Stricture or Structure for Graphic Design?’, in Bishop, T. (ed.), Design History: Fad or Function?, 1978, p.34.

[118] PRO INF 1/86, ‘General Production Division, Staff and Functions’, August 26 1940.

[119] PRO INF 1/87, ‘Mr Embleton to Mr Judd: Art Contracts outside the Ministry’, March 29 1941.

[120] PRO MAF 39/05, ‘Report from the Select Committee on Estimates: Advertising and Publicity by Government Departments’, [1938], p.3. The Admiralty employed artists known to and selected by themselves. The War Office allowed their agents to select artists. The National Fitness Council employed both a full time designer on staff and outside artists. The Post Office and the Ministry of Labour each selected artists from lists which they respectively maintained.

[121] PRO INF 1/302, ‘The Functions and Methods of Home Publicity’, October 17 1939.

[122] PRO INF 1/226, ‘Letter from Waterfield to Macadam’, July 29 1939.

[123] PRO INF 1/849, ‘Policy Committee: Lord Davidson’s Proposals’, June 6 1940.

[124] PRO INF 1/637, ‘Letter from Bevan to Dame Laura Knight’, October 21 1939.

[125] Ibid., ‘Letter from Bevan to Dame Laura Knight’, October 31 1939.

[126] Ibid., ‘Letter from Dame Laura Knight to Bevan’, November 2 1939.

[127] Ibid., ‘Letter from Bevan to Dame Laura Knight’, November 28 1939.

[128] Ibid., ‘Letter from Bevan to Dame Laura Knight’, December 2 1939.

[129] PRO INF 1/638, ‘Letter from Embleton, Studio Manager to Webb of the Braybrook Webb Studio, E.C.1’, December 13 1941.

[130] PRO INF 1/249, ‘Planning Committee – Agenda and Minutes’, October 2 1940.

[131] PRO INF 1/638, ‘Letter from Studio to Mr Werner of the War Artists and Illustrators’, undated.

[132] Ibid., ‘Letter from Director of War Artists and Illustrators to The War Office’, February 10 1941.

[133] Ibid., ‘Letter from R.H.J. Smallwood, War Artists and Illustrators to Chief Publicity Officer, Foreign Office’, July 9 1941.

[134] PRO INF 1/639, ‘Letter from G.W. Harrington to E.Embleton’, undated but probably March 1942.

[135] Ibid., ‘Letter from E.Embleton to G.W. Harrington’, March 19 1942.

[136] Ibid., ‘Letter to Director of Production from G.W. Harrington’, February 4 1941.

[137] Haworth-Booth, M., E. McKnight Kauffer: a Designer and his Public, 1979, p.82. ‘Edward McKnight Kauffer’, Poster Database, LTM, accessed February 2000, quoting Riddell, J., By Underground to Kew: London Transport Posters, 1908-Present, 1994, notes that Kauffer had designed posters for Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. This fact may not have worked in his favour.

[138] Ibid., p.84.

[139] PRO INF 1/86, ‘Series of Letters from Embleton’, June 3 1942. The list comprised of H.G. Smith; C.W.Bacon; B. Chubb; J.W. Bird; F. Cramer; H.A. Seabright; Cuneo; F. Reeves; Laban; J.R. Brinkley; and H.E. Jones.

[140] PRO INF 1/720, ‘Meeting, Programme of Publicity Measures’, May 11 1939.

[141] PRO INF 1/712, ‘Publicity: Sub-Committee Proceedings, July – September 1938’, undated.

[142] PRO INF 1/343, ‘Posters’, October 31 1939.

[143] PRO INF 1/849, ‘Policy Committee: Lord Davidson’s Proposals’, June 6 1940.

[144] PRO INF 1/226, ‘Production and Printing Report’, undated but likely to be summer 1939.

[145] PRO INF 1/238, ‘Memo from M.L.G. Balfour to Mr Bamford’, May 3 1940.

[146] Ibid., ‘MOI Memo on Paper Requirements’, May 27 1940.

[147] PRO INF 1/226, ‘Meeting, The Civil Service Commission’, June 27 1939.

[148] PRO INF 1/238, ‘Letter from MB to Mr Wiltshire’, December 6 1941.

[149] Ibid., ‘Paper Ration for Ministry of Information’, May 7 1940.

[150] Ibid., ‘Memo from Mr Judd to Mr Vaughan’, September 16 1941.

[151] Ibid., ‘Letter to DDG’, undated.

[152] PRO INF 1/226, ‘Production and Printing Report’, undated but likely to be summer 1939.

[153] PRO INF 1/343, ‘Food Publicity’, November 2 1939.

[154] PRO INF 1/238, ‘Letter from Vaughan to Waterfield’, June 28 1940.

[155] PRO INF 1/249, ‘Planning Committee – Agenda & Minutes’, January 30 1941. See also PRO INF 1/251, ‘W.G.V. Vaughan: Home Planning Committee: Ministry of Information Billposting Campaign’, December 17 1940. A similar point is made in PRO INF 1/249, ‘Planning Committee – Agenda & Minutes’, October 23 1940.

[156] Anonymous, ‘4-Sheet Deadline is Bad Business – says Poster Trade’ Advertiser’s Weekly, September 4 1941, Vol. 113, No. 1,476, p.179.

[157] PRO INF 1/238, ‘Letter from G.W. Barley, Glasgow to MOI’, April 10 1943.

[158] Ibid., ‘Memo from Miss de Mouilpied, Films Division to Miss Maxwell’, November 19 1941.

[159] PRO INF 1/33, ‘Note attached to memo from Vaughan to Woodburn’, 1 November 1939.

[160] PRO INF 1/86, ‘General Production Division, Staff and Functions’, August 26 1940.

[161] PRO INF 1/306, ‘Draft Guide for Local Information Committees’, January 10 1941.

[162] PRO INF 1/533, ‘Planning Committee on Home Morale’, May 27 1940.

[163] PRO INF 1/306, ‘Draft Guide for Local Information Committees’, January 10 1941.

[164] PRO INF 1/299, ‘Secret: Ministry of Information O.E.P.E.C., Paper No. 39’, undated but early 1939.

[165] PRO INF 1/533, ‘Memorandum on the Home Front’, undated but early war.

[166] PRO INF 1/341, ‘Memo to Mr Bamford from Mr Vaughan’, November 19 1939, p.3.

[167] Ibid., These were C. Vernon & Son Ltd; Pritchard Wood & Partners Ltd., Mather & Crowther Ltd., C.F. Higham Ltd., Dorland Advertising Ltd., Alfred Pemberton Ltd.

[168] Ibid., These were Saward Baker Ltd., G.S. Royds Ltd., T.B. Browne Ltd., C. Mitchell Ltd.

[169] Ibid., p.1.

[170] Ibid., p.2.

[171] Ibid., p.4.

[172] PRO INF 1/250, ‘Minutes of Meeting: Planning Committee’, September 2 1940.

[173] PRO INF 1/341, ‘Minutes from the Thirteenth Meeting of the Advisory Committee on the Appointment of Advertising Agents’, July 18 1941.

[174] PRO INF 1/344, ‘Letter from Saward, Baker & Co. (Mr Galliano) to Mr Hornsby, MOI’, June 6 1942.

[175] Female, West Sussex, reply to questionnaire, May 1998.

[176] Male, Glasgow, reply to questionnaire, April 1998.

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Second World War Posters

Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.