Just once in a while, I buy an old book or pamphlet because of its cover, or a handbill used as a bookmark, something like that.
This week, I bought an item because of the promotional stamps stuck on it. A whole medley of CND-related stamps, as you can see.
The larger stamps were issued to promote the Aldermaston march of Easter 1962. The first march - to Aldermaston, a Berkshire village which was the location of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment - was at Easter 1958. For the next five years, there were large Easter peaces marches from Aldermaston to London.
These were attached to a copy of Nicolas Walter's 1963 pamphlet Non-Violent Resistance: men against war, an essay that first appeared in the monthly Anarchy the previous year. I picked it up for a fiver at the Freedom Bookshop off Whitechapel High Street.
Gerald Holtom designed the now world-renowned nuclear disarmament logo for the first Aldermaston march. It's based on the semaphore signals for 'N' and 'D'.
I came across this exhumed shop sign today at the north end of Great Eastern Street, where Finsbury edges into Shoreditch. What a wonderfully dated business name! (Acme, if you are wondering, comes from the Greek word for peak).
The work on these premises have been progressing at a glacial pace - it seems that 'Acme Electric Co (Finsbury)' has been enjoying a public reprise for a couple of years. Another ghost sign enthusiast has discovered that the business once sold electrical calculators, transistor radios and cassette recorders.
All things that feel about as dated as the term 'Acme' - and yes, that was the name of the corporation in Looney Tunes and Wile E. Coyote!.
Here's a wonderful array of badges from the 1970s and early 1980s - a generous gift from a friend. (Thanks Ken!)
The enamel badge showing a safety lamp was issued by the Kent area of the National Union of Mineworkers for the 1972 strike. Kent was one of Britain's smallest coalfields, and also one of the most militant. Only a handful of Kent miners crossed the picket lines during the cathartic 1984-5 strike. Kent had just three collieries in the 1970s and early 1980s - the last closed in 1989, within a few years of the union's defeat.
There are some really nice Rock Against Racism badges - a movement launched in 1976 - and the 'Disband the SPG' badge is a protest against the Metropolitan Police's notorious Special Patrol Group, members of which were almost certainly responsible for the death of Blair Peach at an anti-National Front protest in Southall in April 1979.
The Fares Fair campaign was launched in the early 1980s by Labour left-wingers, led by Ken Livingstone, who ran the Greater London Council - the GLC was itself abolished by Margaret Thatcher in 1986.
There are a couple of badges relating to radical theatre - promoting the 7:84 performance group (the badge reads '7% of the population of this country own 84% of the wealth') and the Half Moon Theatre, then in the East End. And there's that curious 'Save Hackney' badge which looks as if it may have been part of a campaign to save a Lido or swimming pool. Anyone know?
And the two badges not in English - one in solidarity with Chile and the other with Cuba - are in ... what do you reckon? - Dutch? - Esperanto?? - No - they're in Swedish!
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