(un-dated, but after 1984)
British Empire Exhibition Stickers.
The British Empire Exhibition opened at Wembley Park in April 1924. It was estimated to have cost £10 million to produce and an entirely new concrete city was erected to house it. Contemporary publicity hailed the exhibition as a stocktaking of the whole of the resources of the Empire.
Lloyds Bank were official bankers to the exhibition and also to various Dominion pavilions. Other exhibitors, and of course visitors, were able to use the facilities offered there. The exhibition branch was situated in the central avenue midway between the Palaces of Industry and Engineering, and was therefore one of the first buildings to catch the eye as visitors entered the main gates. The manager of the exhibition branch was Hugh Stanley Gill, MC, who lived in nearby Harrow. His staff were drawn from branches all over the country. Kenneth Jones, who came from Colonial and Foreign Department, recalled:
‘The premises were spacious, provided with a counter for about five cashiers, with a general office behind and two big rooms, one for the cash-counting machines and another for the cash van from Head Office, which drove in to collect the huge sums in cash from daily attendance. The staff worked in two shifts, one from 9am to 4.30pm and the other for the remainder of the day, leaving about 11.30pm.’
In keeping with the spirit of the event, a great deal of foreign exchange work was carried out. Other duties of the bank staff included telegraphic transfers, foreign drafts and remittances.
Lloyds Bank designed and issued special advertising stickers or labels to commemorate its involvement. These were printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. at New Malden, Surrey. They were produced in sheets of 100 in a number of colours - red, green. blue and, more rarely, mauve. All issues depicted the exhibition branch and were dated 1924.
The labels were given free to visitors and a small supply was sent to every Lloyds Bank branch. They were used to seal the join on the back of envelopes containing pass-books, when these were sent to customers through the post. (Pass-books were the forerunners of statements of account and were written-up by hand).
The printing of these labels was probably stimulated by the decision of the Post Office to mark the occasion of the exhibition by its first issue of commemorative stamps. Other companies, besides Lloyds Bank had similar labels printed. Although of historical interest, the stickers have only a modest market value and are referred to by philatelists as ‘Cinderella material’. They are also commonly, but wrongly, referred to as stamps.
At the end of the exhibition in 1925, and in keeping with the banking ethic of thrift, the carpet from the exhibition branch was sent to Lloyds Bank, Tunbridge Wells, to grace the manager’s room.
© Exhibition Study Group 199 5
© Exhibition Study Group 199