Imperial War Museum recruits Mrs Sew and Sew

Mrs Sew and Sew on Twitter Mrs Sew and Sew Engages with New Technology
The other week I referred to the Imperial War Museum’s information ‘Top Tips for Tough Times‘, using advice from the 1940s to those of us stuck in the noughties recession. What they didn’t mention there (a trick missed, I feel), was that they had also set up a blog, and a Twitter feed… a real innovative use of modern technology to bring out relevant information from the 1940s. Anyone who thought my PhD was irrelevant… clearly wrong!  And having tracked down a number of public information shorts to use at conferences, the IWM is now uploading a number of great films to YouTube ! Listen to the creative agency: The Team talk about their work.

I love the start of this blog:

Hello m’ dears!

Mrs Sew&Sew here, reporting from the home front in 1943! The nice people at the Imperial War Museum (yes, it’s even around in our day) have given me a special typewriter, so I can send you telegrams from here. Don’t worry, we’ve set it up so your replies get sent through to me as well, so feel free to have a chat!…. I’ve heard there’s some kind of problem with the banks in 2009, so maybe some of these ideas will come in handy there too. Do let me know if you have any great ideas I can pass onto my neighbours. Or even if they’re not relevant in my time, let me know anyway, and I’ll pass them back to all the lovely people in your time.”


Advertiser’s Weekly, 4th April 1944, p.154 notes…
W.S.Crawford, Ltd invented the figure in order to humanise the ‘make-do-and-mend’ campaign. Made first appearance in the press on May 15, and will feature in forthcoming displays and posters. “Mrs Sew-and-Sew is a pleasant figure, rather like a ventriloquist’s dummy, with a cherubic smile. A wooden figure of her will be placed at the door of advice centres, inviting people to come in, and she will also appear in window displays and exhibitions. Copy for the first advert describes her as a ‘designing woman’. The campaign will then invite women to identify themselves with her domestic habits, and to follow her example in overcoming household difficulties.” 

British Library

Keep Calm and Carry On
A beautifully detailed entry by owentroy,  including all of the new police (Keep Calm inspired) posters… which I keep spotting when I don’t have a camera to hand!  
And the slogan has become so famous (in a way it never was in the Second World War), that it now has its own Wikipedia entry, and had been seen around Westminster, and compared to the anti-terrorism posters. See how many crazy variations have been created, all collated together on Flicrk!

Thesis is listed at the British Library

My thesis, available since June 2004 in the Library and RKE Centre at the University of Winchester, at the Imperial War Museum, and at the Mass Observation Archives, was requested by the British Library earlier this year for digitisation (they should have asked me, I have it on CD!), so can be seen on the computers at the British Library, St Pancras. Still surprised my thesis hasn’t been picked up more by the press, but then I’ve been abroad for most of the past 2 years, and only now getting back to grips with my research and looking at ways of publishing it…  although even whilst travelling I managed to complete a chapter for the London Transport Museum, and pre-trip wrote an article for the Second World War Experience Centre.

By 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.

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