Guildford Calling

I’ve spent too much time standing in queues and having a nervous breakdown in toyshops recently to have kept a much of an eye on eBay.  Mostly that doesn’t matter, as it’s been winding down for Christmas.  But I did miss out on mentioning one interesting set of posters.

Farnham farmers Pork and Bacon week poster from eBay

As you can see, I’m using the word interesting in an academic rather than visual sense here, but these posters are worth a mention nonetheless.

What was on offer was a set of four 1950s advertising posters, all for local businesses in the Guildford area.

Norvic Shoes vintage 1950s poster Co-op guildford

Once again, eBay has turned up a very different slice through graphic design history than the one which usually turns up in the books or the auction houses.  This is the ordinary, everyday world of the poster, a world where a Tom Eckersley, Henrion or Abram Games design would stand out as a gem in amongst, well, posters like these.

Co-op discount vouchers vintage poster

I’m not saying they’re great, I’m not saying they should be collected.  But we should, always, notice them when they turn up in order to remember that they existed (probably in great numbers too).

In case you’re interested, they all went for between £10 and £20, with the camping poster below the most expensive.

Pascalls Camping vintage poster guildford 1950s

And for once it wasn’t us who bought any of them.


  • I remember going into the Co-Op shoe department on the corner of Haydon Place. It had one of those coin operated foot x-ray machines inside – positively lethal. Glad to say I never used it!
    I don’t remember the posters though! I suspect this sort of poster was everywhere at the time.

  • I definitely had my foot put in one as a child. And then the machines suddenly all disappeared and I newer knew why.

    These invisible graphics are intriguing aren’t they, more in the style of newspaper ads than anything else. I wonder if the style survives anywhere at all these days?

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