Big. But definitely not clever.

Having mentioned posters the size of houses yesterday, I thought I might share with you one of my and Mr Crownfolio’s less sensible purchases.  Which is this.

detail from vintage National Savings billboard poster

Although I might be less embarrassed if that were all there was.  In reality, there’s rather more to it – here’s the top half.

National Savings vintage billboard poster top

And this is the bottom.

National Savings vintage billboard cat poster lower half

All of which put together is a giant 16-sheet billboard poster for National Savings.   It’s stupidly big.

To give you an idea of exactly how huge it is, here it is with a real life (and hence uncooperative) black cat for scale.

Winsor walking on black cat poster

What were we thinking of?  Although, at the time we bought it, we were living in a flat with a double-height end wall that could have fitted this quite nicely.  I think this was my intention.  But Mr Crownfolio said no.  He was probably right.

It gets worse, though.  I dug the cardboard box out (which, I have to say, we haven’t really opened much since we bought it) only to discover – and I really hadn’t remembered this at all – that we seem to have bought three.  Eh?

So we also own this National Savings billboard poster.  Again, I’ve had to photograph it in pieces; I think I could just about  spread it out in this room, but only if I removed all the furniture.

National Savings vintage billboard poster sign top

National Savings vintage billboard poster sign lower

Finally, there’s this one, which I am rather delighted to find, although I am not sure whether I like it because of its Orwellian style or despite it.

National Savings vintage billboard poster man main

There is another strip of text which goes along the bottom, but it doesn’t make sense on its own, and, again, I just don’t have the space.

The graphic bubbles are great though

National Savings vintage billboard poster man detail chairs

National Savings vintage billboard poster man chair

Here is one with a (more co-operative) iPhone for scale.

National Savings vintage billboard poster greenhouse detail iPhone

I can’t tell you a whole heap about them, I’m afraid.  Judging from the serial numbers, they are from 1951, and we bought them from eBay.  And they’re not in quite as good condition as they look – there is a lot of foxing and watermarking on the back, and quite a few holes along the folds.  But the colours, as you can see, are pin-sharp.  More than that I do not know.

But now that I’ve rediscovered them, I feel a bit guilty about just putting them away and letting them sit when we’re never ever going to put them on a wall and I can’t imagine that many other people are daft enough to actually buy them.  At the moment, our thought is to donate them to the History of Advertising Trust.  Unless someone else has a better idea.

  • At least one other person (me) collects billboards – 8 to date. I just hung four 7Up UnCola billboards (c 1969 – 1971) in a 9-story hotel atrium to help celebrate a 40th High School reunion last weekend. You can see them in my set on Flickr.
    They are all 6.4m wide by 3m high.

  • Many thanks for letting me see those pictures. I am really glad to know that someone wants them – and they look fantastic. I particularly like the Uncanny In Cans one. We had to face up to the fact, though, that we really weren’t ever going to hang ours up. And it is now in an archive where they will look after it properly.

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