Don’t Burn Your Shoes

I saw this poster at auction almost seven years ago now, but have never forgotten it.

Don't Burn Your shoes vintage W22 poster beverley pick

This poster really brings home to me the Orwellian side of Britain during the Second World War, a place where posters are shouting at you about things you’ve never even thought of doing (I’d never worried about burning my shoes until I saw it, but perhaps I should have done).

What I always wonder about though, is what people felt about it at the time.  Did they feel nagged or did they accept it as a necessary part of the war?  Or did they just ignore it?   I could, possibly, find out the answer to those questions, as there is some Mass Observation research on what people thought of the wartime posters.  But to do so I’d need to travel down to Brighton, and I haven’t quite done that yet.  I will one day, though – and then let you know.

More to the point of this post, ‘Don’t Burn Your Shoes’ was designed by Beverley Pick.  As is this one, which, although not quite as shouty, gives you more of a feel for the colour and design.

Beverley Pick food waste vintage World War Two poster

They’re all from the Onslows’ auction in November 2003.  Although we were there, it was very early on in our poster-collecting days, so I had no idea what things were worth, or even what I particularly liked.  Which is why ‘Don’t Burn Your Shoes’ up there went for just £30 – and not to me.

This one went for just £10.

Beverley Pick Vintage World War Two poster save for army greatcoats

And there are more (and more and more).

Beverley pick save bones for shells vintage world war two poster

With hindsight, I think the Beverley Pick archive was being sold off.  There were at least thirty or more posters up for sale, and some duplicates.  But after posting about Beverley Pick a few weeks ago,  I thought it was worth bringing these posters into circulation, as quite a few of them aren’t illustrated anywhere else.

Beverley Pick keep your clothes on hangars vintage ww2 postr

Sadly, I have not been able to find out a single thing more about Beverley Pick since I last posted.  I can’t even bring you a picture.  The best I can do is this.

Beverley Pick painting stars for Christmas decorations

Designer Mr Beverley Pick at work on drawing board. CU. His hand painting star on sketch of Regent Street. CU.

So at least I know he’s a man.  He is, I believe, painting stars on the 1955 Christmas decorations for Oxford Street.  But if you want to see his face, you’ll have to watch the Pathe News footage here.  If anyone can improve on this, please do let me know.

  • Beverley Pick was my godfather, and worked alongside my late father, Norman Weaver, on several projects, including the Festival of Britain. Have a look at the website I put together for my Dad, and do contact me if I can add anything useful. I can at least tell you what he looked like and remember him doing magic tricks!

  • PS I’m wondering whether my Dad may have painted the “Don’t Burn Your Shoes” poster. He and Beverley were almost next-door neighbours and often worked together. I can’t make out the writing at the bottom of this poster, but it certainly looks like my late father’s style, and it would have been quite possible that Beverley did the design and then passed it on to Dad to illustrate.

  • If you watch “Stars in Regent Street 1955 In Pathe Archives, you will see Mr. Pick working on the Regent Street decorations.
    I was working for Chrysaline Ltd Berkhamsted at that time and can be seen using the pop riveter.

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