Souvenir Sheets of stickers for the Festival of Britain. 1951.

            These sheets of eight hexagonal stickers showing 15 different views of London (The Festival site was included on both sheets to make 16 stickers in all) were claimed by the promoters to be the first ever printed in Great Britain, of scenes of London. They combine to show some of the most historical and important monuments, together with the heraldry with which they are associated. At the time they were published it was claimed they were to be the fore-runners of similar souvenir sheets of stickers which would be issued gradually to cover all the lovely and historic towns and places of Great Britain. As far as I know this ambitious project never materialised, as apart from the Festival sheets I have not seen any others. It was hoped they would be of interest not only to the layman, but to the philatelist. They were designed and emblazoned by Vic Henderson, illustrated by Margaret Bartlett and printed by Harrison & Sons, Ltd. The heraldry details on the sheets were examined by Mr. Scott-Giles, the well-known authority on heraldry, to ensure they were correct in every detail. Mr. Scott-Giles was the author of,                                            “Romance of Heraldry.”

                                                “Civic Heraldry of England & Wales”

                                                “Boutell’s Heraldry”  Revised by C.W. Scott-Giles.

Although there is a lot made of the heraldic content of these sheets, it is all in the selvage, there is no sign of any heraldry on the actual stickers. The complete sheets have a perforated margin on the left side about 60mm wide, and the sheets are sometimes offered without this margin which has become detached.

            The two sheets each contained eight stickers and both were published in two colours.

            (a)        Was called by the publishers the “City of London” sheet although this does not appear on the sheet, it was comprised of the following views,

The Mansion House, The Monument, The Guildhall, The Royal Exchange, St. Pails Cathedral, Tower Bridge, The Tower and The Festival Site. It was printed in Orient Blue & Black, and Cinnamon Brown & Black.

            (b)        Was called the “City of Westminster” sheet (see above) and had the following views,

Houses of Parliament, The Horse Guards, Piccadilly Circus, The Theatre Royal Haymarket, Westminster Abbey, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and The Festival Site. It was printed in Jade Green & Black, and Rose Red & Black.

            The “ON MY WAY” Souvenir Sheets were official souvenirs for the Festival of Britain. They came in a large envelope with a descriptive pamphlet giving an outline of the history of the stickers, The purposes of these “ON MY WAY” stickers was to “provide Great Britain with pictorial stickers

which were worthy of the sincere consideration of the connoisseur and philatelist”, “and to provide the public with a worth-while souvenir, which by affixing to letters or notepaper, makes them a very attractive gift and gives great pleasure both to the sender and recipient. Also, if one is a visitor to London (and later any-where in Great Britain) it is very natural and delightful way of letting one’s friends know of one’s movements when travelling. In many respects it is better than a picture postcard as one can write privately and this is more novel and exciting.”

            “It hoped, too, that these sheets will help to further the slow but rising interest in heraldry, the history of which is the history of Great Britain’s heritage. The City of London and its commercial wealth and greatness is in great measure founded on the enterprise and industry of its ancient Companies and Guilds, whose interesting shields are depicted in these sheets.”

            These stamp sheets were intended as the birth of a great idea to publicise Great Britain to the world in a pleasant but very effective way. It was a small private enterprise with no financial backing, and was only able to distribute the souvenir sheets through a comparatively small number of stores and shops. “ON MY WAY” souvenir sheets were available for purchase at 2/- per sheet at the following places”.

                        South Bank Exhibition (W.H. Smith & Son’s book & paper kiosks.)

                        Battersea Festival Gardens (The Stamp Shop and Kiosk 44 The Stamp Kiosk.)

                        Selfridge’s Stamp Shop.

                        Fortnum & Mason.

                        Hamley’s of Regent Street.

                        Peter Jones Gift  Shop, Sloane Square.

                        Wards Art Shop, King’s Road, Chelsea.

                        Truslove & Hanson, Sloane Street, & Clifford Street, Bond Street.

                        Bumpus’s Book Shop, Oxford Street.

                        Thomas Wallis, Oxford Street.

                        Boot’s of Reagent Street.

                        they could also be obtained through any branch of W.H. Smith & Son Ltd..

            As it was only a small private enterprise, there was no money available for any expensive advertising and for this reason they did not get a lot of publicity at the time.

       © Exhibition Study Group 1998