Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

UK Poster Collections

Public Collections

Beamish: The North of England Open Museum

Approximately 600 posters, consisting of a small collection of education posters and a large collection of advertising posters, of which 15 are for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). (The National Railway Museum is the main centre for railway posters and potential donations are referred by Beamish to them.) Posters are used on site are reproductions, often printed from digital masters supplied to Beamish via commercial sources. The collections above are not on public display, but do inform the replicas produced (or originals that are sometimes conserved) for use on the site, these being more suited to the rigours of an Open Air Museum site.

British Film Institute

BFI National Archive collection of international film and television images includes 15,000 film posters from Britain, the USA, Poland, India and around the world, early 1900s to the present day. The majority are for fiction films but the collection also includes posters for television programmes, newsreels and cinema events. The collection is particularly strong around British cinema, especially post-war to the present day. A limited number of digitised posters can be accessed online, with a larger number of digitised images available to view on BFI premises. Access to originals is by special arrangement.

British Library

A large number of posters and broadsheets throughout the printed book collections, from all periods and extensively from 1700s-1800s. A very wide range of subjects including theatre, Russian history, English politics, the First World war, liberation of Budapest (1944), Shakespeare tercentenary (1944), horse-racing and educational wall-charts. A collection of Hungarian posters, proclamations and printed ephemera issued during, and shortly after, the liberation of Budapest, 1944. Plus a small collection of political posters from 1989/1990, as yet uncatalogued. From 1956 there are some smaller posters, pamphlets and handbills.
Hungarian 1956: contemporary sources
Russian and Soviet posters

British Museum

The poster collections of the British Museum’s Prints and Drawings Department were transferred to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Prints and Drawings Department in 2002, in order to rationalise the national collections. They include a significant group of British and French posters and an outstanding collection of Russian propaganda posters from the 1920s and ‘30s.

Design Museum

description tbc

Hartlepool Borough Council

The Robert Wood Collection comprises archives and printed ephemera from the successive works of Procter, Mason and Ord, scrapbooks, printer's proofs, etc. Robert Wood rescued the papers from BT Ord's printing firm. After Wood's death, posters relating to the theatres and music halls of the North East were bought and used for a short-lived theatre museum in Sunderland. After this point they became part of Newcastle University Library's Special Collections. The rest of the collection was bequeathed to Hartlepool Museums Service. Access can be given by appointment. The collection is card catalogued and boxed by theme so it can be challenging to locate specific items.

Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum's poster collection is the largest and most comprehensive collection of its type in Britain, documenting the social, political, ethnic and cultural aspirations of warring nations from the First World War to more recent conflicts. Contains a notable collection of posters from the Spanish Civil War. The collection includes work by leading twentieth-century designers from Britain and abroad, and is an essential resource for looking at the development of mass communication, propaganda, publicity, commercial art and graphic design.

Manchester Art Gallery

Empire Marketing Board Posters

In 1933, Manchester Art Gallery acquired 222 individual Empire Marketing Board posters for the Gallery’s Industrial Art Collection. They are large, colourful lithographic prints by a range of designers, and were displayed in sets of six on Britain’s streets from 1926 to 1933. Each thematic group promotes a way of thinking about the Empire – for example, as an eager market for British exports, or as a bounteous source of produce for the British teatable. The Gallery holds 19 complete or nearly complete sets, plus assorted other examples.

Manchester Art Gallery also holds a group of advertising posters created in c.1930 and significant groups of posters by Frank Brangwyn and E. McKnight Kauffer.

Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School

A unique collection of over 2,000 posters form a core part of the Library’s collections. Areas of specialism include the Soviet Union, the Spanish Civil War, peace campaigns and the anti-apartheid movement.

May Day Rooms

May Day Rooms is an educational charity founded as a safe haven for historical material linked to social movements, experimental culture and the radical expression of marginalised figures and groups. It was set up to safeguard historical material and connect it with contemporary struggle. MDR’s growing collections challenge the widespread assault on collective memory and historical continuity by countering those prevalent narratives of historical inevitability and political pessimism. Working in a broad range of media, from printed documents to film and ephemera, the core work of MDR is to activate and socialise this material in a number of linked processes – primarily collaborative education, digitisation and online distribution. MDR aims always to make historical material open to question and criticism; as much as this material contests the present, it still needs to be challenged by it.

Poster Film Collective: Formed in the early 70s by ex-tutors and students from several London Art Colleges, the Poster Film Collective produced a series of hand-printed posters in support of political campaigns and acomprehensive series of educational posters that challenged hegemonic views of history.

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Featuring over 12000 original items from the Robert Opie Collection, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising reveals through ‘brands and packs, posters and adverts, fads and fashions, toys and games’ the history of consumer culture from Victorian times to the present day.

Museum of London

Posters related to London history. Subjects include: entertainment, war, political, government, local history, theatre playbills, flyers for pleasure gardens, local elections, and women’s suffrage posters.

The main groups are:

The rest is somewhat miscellaneous in nature but the type of posters include:
Exploring 20th Century London

The National Archives

Government issued posters, including group of Empire Marketing Board posters (1927-33).

National Museums of Scotland

National Museums Scotland has over 1,000 posters dating from the 19th century onwards, with 900+ available on its online catalogue The majority of posters are from the Scottish History & Archaeology and Science & Technology collections, the main subjects covered are listed below, posters also exist within the Art & Design and World Cultures collections.

Scottish History & Archaeology

Science & Technology

The majority of these posters are not on display but can be accessed by appointment through the relevant collections department

In addition, copies of most of the posters published by the organisation advertising exhibitions, lectures and events from around 1963 onwards are available for viewing by appointment through the National Museums of Scotland's Library Services.

National Museums & Galleries of Wales

Broad-ranging collection, from artists' screenprints, to advertisements, health education and political campaign posters

People’s History Museum

Within the collections of the People’s History Museum are objects and archives consisting primarily of items from the last 200 years of the organised labour movement in Britain representing the social history of working people. Includes significant poster collections, particularly some 1500 political posters relating to the Spanish Civil War and to the Labour Party.

National Railway Museum

Over 11,200 railway posters, notices and handbills, with pictorial posters from 1845 to the present day advertising the railway companies and the places they served. The collection features the work of many well-known artists and forms a comprehensive archive of railway style and graphic design.


The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has a unique archive of safety messages on posters dating back to the organisation’s foundations in 1917. The collection consists of posters, original artwork, images and catalogues. There are also supporting leaflets and other forms of accident prevention publicity.

Most of the posters were produced from 1949 onwards, sadly there is nothing of the wartime work in poster form but the images are still there in two battered catalogues. There are also catalogue sheets showing almost all the posters from the earliest days of the National Safety First Association, RoSPA’s forerunner. Consequently it has been possible to compile a catalogue of almost every safety poster produced by RoSPA since 1917.

Many well known artists such as Eckersley, Games, Mendoza, Rothholz, Keely, Angrave and Cusden contributed to the widely varied and imaginative designs which graced many factory walls over the decades.

Poster propaganda has been at the forefront of RoSPA’s efforts in promoting safety at work and on the road. RoSPA has always favoured a “light-touch” approach to safety education, judging that too much emphasis on the gruesome consequences of actions might prove counterproductive. A lightly humorous tone has always been part of the campaign – to help the medicine go down!

Tate Archive

The Tate Archive collects artist-designed posters, which are largely acquired internally through the Library, the Press Office and curatorial colleagues. Some posters are signed and donated by artists and occasionally the Archive purchases posters to build upon strengths in the collection. Key collections include those designed by David Hockney, posters for the Montreal and Munich Olympics and groups of posters presented by Ewan Phillips in 1982 and by Prunella Clough in 1991. The collection includes posters from the 1930s - present.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Theatre and Performance Collection - Theatre and Performance's poster collection spanning the last 250 years. The Theatre & Performance department is aiming to digitise the collection in due course. In the meantime access is provided via its reading room by appointment.

Word & Image Collection - The Word & Image Department holds the national poster collection of approximately 20,000 posters, with classic examples of commercial, cultural and political posters. It represents the major developments in poster design from the late 19th century to present day, and exemplifies stylistic movements such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modernism, Surrealism, Pop, Psychedelia and Street Art. It is international in scope, with a strong British representation. All the great names of poster design are here, including Jules Chéret, Toulouse-Lautrec, Steinlen, Hohlwein, Cassandre, Tom Purvis, McKnight Kauffer and Abram Games.

The collection offers an insight into changing artistic practice in commercial advertising, illustrating the rise of the professional poster designer, of advertising agencies and their creative teams and of graphic design groups. From early hoarding-size posters for Bovril, Colman’s Mustard and Guinness (which came with the gift of the S. H. Benson Archive in 1973), to more recent campaigns for Benson & Hedges, Nike and the Wonderbra, the use of branding, advertising strategies and marketing devices can be explored. So too can the role of the patron, through famous images issued by London Underground, the Railway Companies, Shell-Mex and B.P. Ltd., the Empire Marketing Board, the General Post Office, etc.

Posters are also collected as historic evidence. Political issues and unique events (two World Wars, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, General Elections) prompted major acquisitions, as did movements for women’s suffrage, the May 1968 student protests, and some late twentieth century community campaigns. Stirring counter culture propaganda from the 1960s and ‘70s featured in the gift of the Schreyer Collection in 2002, while pro-democracy movements in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989-90 triggered on-the-spot collection by the Museum. These are joined by hard-hitting graphics generated by recent political debates, such as the anti-Iraq War protests.

The V&A’s posters can be searched online, and viewed in the Prints and Drawings Study Room. Pre-1997 paper-record catalogues have been digitised. In 1998, The Power of the Poster brought the full range of the collections to a new audience, while more recent shows such as Art Deco (2003), Modernism (2006), Cold War Modern (2008) and A Century of Olympic Posters (2008), all accompanied by publications, have featured specific aspects of the collection. The Post-war period is surveyed in Catherine Flood’s British Posters: Advertising, Activism, Art 1945-2012 (V&A, 2012).

Archive of Art & Design Relevant archives include:

Warrington Public Library, Local History Department

The Broadside Collection comprises 24,500 broadsheets of which a percentage are posters. The collection includes material dating from 1750s to present, covering subjects such as religion, war and local history.

The Wellcome Library

The Wellcome Library has currently about 6,000 posters catalogued individually in its online catalogue, and a further quantity (not less than 1,000) still to be catalogued. It also acquires posters. The foundation collection was built up by Henry S. Wellcome (1853-1936), who based his collecting on principles of evolutionary anthropology. The posters reveal aspects of life and death, such as customs, techniques, beliefs and practices that are used to preserve and protect. Like the rest of the Wellcome Library collections, the posters are international in origin. The earliest posters are 17th-century sanitary edicts from Italy, Austria and elsewhere, while the latest come from the current decade. The subject best represented is the international AIDS epidemic of the late 20th and early 21st centuries (ca. 4,000 posters from 100 countries). Other subjects and genres include advertisements for food, drink, drugs, and health resorts; campaigns against alcohol, smoking, narcotics and over-population; riots, lectures, trade exhibitions, publications, entertainments, and other subjects of public notice. The collection is open to the public and the entrance to the Wellcome Library has an exhibition introducing some of the posters.

University and College Collections

University of Brighton Design Archives

The University of Brighton Design Archives is an internationally significant scholarly resource focusing on British design and global design organisations in the twentieth century.

Brighton School of Art Archive The Brighton School of Art was established above the kitchen of the Royal Pavilion in January 1859, moving to its own building in Grand Parade in 1877. Achieving national standing and expanding substantially in subsequent decades, the school moved into larger modern premises on the same site in 1961. In 1970 Brighton Polytechnic was formed from the Brighton Colleges of Art and Technology. In 1992 along with many other former Polytechnics, Brighton was formally designated as a 'new' university - the University of Brighton. The archive includes a small group of posters relating to exhibitions organized and held at the University of Brighton Gallery, including staff and student work as well as loan exhibitions, and posters for student open days.

Design Council Archive The Design Council was founded in 1944, and originally called the Council of Industrial Design (CoID). It owed its origins to the wish of the UK government's Board of Trade to see British manufacturers increase their export performance . It was believed that competition in world markets would be fiercer than ever in the post-war period, and progress made by other nations towards greater sophistication in their product design needed to be equalled by industrialists at home. At the same time, British retailers, educators and the buying public were considered to be important audiences for the Council’s message. In the wake of the Council’s foundation similar design promotion bodies were established in many other countries.

Edwin J Embleton Archive Edwin Embleton is best known for his work in the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information during the Second World War. Born in 1907, he studied at Hornsey School of Art. He began work at Odhams Press in 1924, first as a layout and lettering artist and later becoming Studio Manager. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was seconded to the Ministry of Information where he became Art Director and Studio Manager, in charge of print and publications for the Ministry, from commission and design to production. By the end of the war, the office comprised dozens of staff, in addition to the artists and designers who were commissioned. They produced an extraordinary range of high quality and effective material, which played an important part in Britain’s war effort at home and abroad. After the war, Embleton returned to Odhams Press, and was awarded an MBE for his war service. The archive comprises a selection of Ministry of Information (MOI) printed propaganda from 1939-45, including a small number of posters.

ICOGRADA Archive The International Council of Graphic Design Associations (ICOGRADA) has been the professional world body for graphic design and visual communication since it was founded in London in 1963 with Willy M de Majo as its first President. A voluntary grouping of more than 70 independent associations from 45 countries, it has a strong educational remit and promotes the role of graphic design in both society and commerce. The archive includes over 1500 posters, many of them submitted by member countries and covering a range of subjects including cultural events and social campaigns, as well as a group relating to ICOGRADA’s own activities.

ICSID Archive The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) was founded in London in 1957 with the aim of promoting the status of industrial designers, raising the standard of industrial design through training and education, and encouraging cooperation between industrial designers around the world. By the end of the 1960s ICSID included over 40 member societies from more than 30 countries. The ICSID archive documents the initiatives, ambitions and influence of this international organization that continues to make a major contribution to the representation of industrial design and designers across political boundaries and economic disparities. The archive includes a small number of posters donated by design historian and educator Victor Margolin. Throughout his career Margolin attended various design-related events around the world, some of these organized by ICSID, and this small poster collection represents his contact with the organizations representing the design profession and their educational and developmental agendas.

HA Rothholz Archive Hans Arnold Rothholz was born in Dresden in 1919 and emigrated to England as a boy. He designed posters for various clients, among them the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the Post Office. In the late 1940s he designed promotional material for Wembley Stadium including the Olympic Games of 1948. In 1951 he was commissioned to work on the Land Travelling Exhibition for the Festival of Britain. Other clients from this time include airlines BEA and BOAC, the tea company Perera, and the shoe company Splendida. A keen Scout, Rothholz designed the programme for the World Scout Jamboree when it was held in Britain in 1957. He designed murals and graphic schemes for the Bacon & Egg restaurants and the Grill & Cheese chain. Throughout the 1960s he re-branded Winsor & Newton art materials and towards the end of this decade, he created a new corporate identity for Wellcome to include pharmaceutical packaging, stationery and vehicle liveries. The archive includes 51 posters, dating from1940-1960. They primarily comprise work for General Post Office/Post Office Savings Bank and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), with smaller groups for Winsor & Newton artists’ materials, Ealing Studios and others.

Bryson Poster Collection consists of 29 film, television and theatre posters, dating from 1958-1990, collected in Poland and former Czechoslovakia in the 1980s.

Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design

This collection focuses on silent films produced in the 1920s by the Universal Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), a government sponsored film super-conglomerate. This rare collection includes over 100 posters but only around 30 are conserved and available to view. Covering formative years in the development of graphic art these stunning lithographic posters represent the leading film stars of the age and the changing face of Weimar Republic Germany.

London College of Communication

Photographic Exhibition Poster Collection The collection contains posters dating from 1970s onwards and charting a range of exhibits held and including shows by: Photographers Gallery, Camerawork and Impressions Gallery. Represented photographers include Bill Brandt(for an exhibit at the Barbican) and Diane Arbus (for an exhibit at Hayward Gallery). They are an invaluable record of the activities of photographers.

Poster Book Collection website? The collection contains books on the art and design of 19th and 20th century posters and billboards

Tom Eckersley Archive, London College of Communication Tom Eckersley was a poster artist and design teacher who established the first graphic design course in Britain at the London College of Printing, the former incarnation of London College of Communication. The commemorative collection contains his posters, magazine covers and original artwork and reveals his working process. Posters from the collection have been digitised and are available on the VADS website. The Archives Hub also hosts an online exhibition of the Tom Eckersley collection.

University of East London: Archives

The Library and Learning Service at the University of East London hosts a number of important archive collections with our current collection strengths within the fields of theatre studies,refugee and forced migration studies, sports science and Olympic studies. Posters feature in several of the archival collections.

Hackney Empire Theatre Archive. Initially deposited by Roland Muldoon, who had been artistic director of the Theatre, the collection contains a broad range of materials relating to Muldoon’s creative career including posters, programmes, audio-visual materials and other ephemera relating to Hackney Empire after its rebirth in 1986. The Archive contains numerous posters documenting the history of the Hackney Empire Theatre and we continue to receive regular donations from the Theatre.

East London Theatre Archive (ELTA). The East London Theatre Archive is an online database of East London theatre ephemera provided by the V & A Theatre Collections, East London theatres and UEL archives. ELTA's collection ranges from 1827 to the present day, including playbills and programmes to press cuttings and photographs. It also has themed essays to contextualise the material and maps showing theatre locations.

British Olympic Association Archive. The British Olympic Association (BOA) is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The BOA’s principal role is to prepare and lead the nation’s finest athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. The Archive contains material relating to the history and work of the Association from 1906-2009, and it notably includes records concerning the organization of the 1908, 1948 and 2012 London Olympic Games. Information on the history of Olympic posters is also available.

The UEL Archives also include important collections in relation to the study of migration, asylum, displacement, refugees and belonging. These include the Refugee Council Archive, the Information Centre on Asylum and Refugees (ICAR) Archive, the Council for Assisting At-Risk Academics (CARA) Archive in addition to other collections.

University of Essex, Albert Sloman Library

John Hassall Collection John Hassall (1868-1949) was popularly described in his day as the 'king of poster artists'. The collection consists of a series of diaries from 1894-1948, family and official correspondence and photographs, and a substantial collection of Hassall's printed works. Of particular interest is the ledger in which he recorded all of his commissions. There is very little original artwork. The collection contains many references to this part of Essex, with which the family had close connections. The original gift was made in 1966 through Mrs. D.M. Dobereiner, one of Hassall's daughters.

Leeds University Library

Special Collections at the University of Leeds is home to over 250,000 rare books and hundreds of thousands of manuscripts and archives. Posters feature in several of the archival collections.

Leeds Russian Archive This collection contains posters for Russian art exhibitions, concerts of Russian music and performances of Russian plays. There are also reproductions of Russian works of art and Second World War propaganda. The miscellaneous Soviet posters held in the Leeds Russian Archive are scattered across several collections.

Liddle Collection The Liddle Collection documents and preserves first-hand accounts of individuals who experienced the two World Wars. The collection includes propaganda, recruitment and public information posters from World War I.

Also kept in Special Collections at Leeds are publicity posters for several Yorkshire-based arts organisations including the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Opera North and the Phoenix Dance Theatre, and posters relating to poetry readings and literary gatherings. The Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture contains posters advertising dances and other community events.

London School of Economics

description tbc

London Metropolitan University, The Women’s Library

The Women's Library's Museum Collection encompasses an impressive range of material documenting women's campaigning activities on subjects including women's rights, suffrage, sexuality, health, education, employment, reproductive rights, violence against women, peace campaigning, the family, and employment. Within the Ephemera collections are posters, postcards, printed souvenir material publicising or promoting social and political campaigns and personal ephemera.

As at Jan 2009, The Women's Library held approximately 1050 posters in the Museum Collection, with c.100 posters identified in the archives. The earliest posters held result from suffrage activities and can be divided into three main groups: advertisements for meetings and events; illustrated propaganda posters arguing why women should get the vote; and newspaper bills bearing suffrage related headlines, used to promote paper sales. All other posters are arranged by subject and date from the 1970s to the present day. The collection represents a mixture of women's campaigning, campaigning by organisations to promote gender equality, and posters produced to advertise women-focused events and publications. There are a small number of posters that portray women's issues and campaign work internationally. The work of The Equal Opportunities Commission in England and Ireland is particularly well represented as a result of a large donation of their obsolete posters during the 1990s. Also well represented with almost 80 posters is the work of See Red Women's Workshop, a women's liberation screen-printing collective (1974-1984).

Manchester Metropolitan University, Special Collections

MMU Special Collections holds two major twentieth century collections, totalling some 4,200 posters between them. The Philip Granville Collection of some 1,200 posters was bequeathed to MMU Library in 2000 by the art dealer and philanthropist Philip Granville (1911-2003). The geographical scope of the collection is international, with posters from France, UK, Germany, Belarus, Czechoslovakia, Russia, to Japan, to USA, to Australia. It is particularly strong in posters from former Eastern Europe, and also in HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns of the 1980’s. Other campaigns include the well-known series of posters by Toscani for Benetton, posters by designers such as Gerhard Voigt, Juris Dimiters, Alan Fletcher, Gunter Rambow, FHK Henrion, Grapus and many more. The posters date from (c1910) 1957- 1996, with a focus on the period is 1970-1989. The second collection is the MMU Library Poster Collection comprising over 2000 posters, mostly British posters, with the main emphasis being on posters of art exhibitions and art school shows, dating between 1960-2000, with a handful being from 1910-1959, and from 2000 to date. It includes two sets of posters designed for the Football World Cup finals in Spain in 1988 and for the Munich Olympics in 1972, posters by publishers such as Athena and Pentagram; designers such as James Marsh and FHK Henrion. Posters also form part of other collections. The Manchester School of Art Collection which holds a significant group of interwar commercial posters collected between 1928 and 1934. Most were donated by Industry Advisory Boards. These include posters designed for the LMS Railways, the Empire Marketing Board and Shell-Mex, and designs by Paul Nash, Tom Eckersley, E. McKnight Kauffer and Tom Purvis. The collection also holds contemporary posters by Atelier Populaire and Shepard Fairey amongst others. The Manchester School of Art Archive holds over 100 exhibition posters, mainly dated from 1960- 1990. Posters are also found in some of the artists’ archives, most notably the archive of Barnett Freedman, who designed posters for HMSO during the Second World War, Shell-Mex, London Transport, Lyons Tea rooms, the General Post Office and more; John Farleigh (London Transport) and the commercial artist David Walker. The Schmoller London Transport Poster Collection is a group of 40 posters dating from 1940-1979 and most were designed for London Transport. A variety of British designers are represented including Hans Unger, John Farleigh and Abram Games. The collection also includes 2 posters designed for Penguin Books. Most of the posters can be searched via the online catalaogue

University of Northampton, School of The Arts

This collection was donated to the-then University College Northampton (UCN) from 1968 to 1976 by Thomas Osborne Robinson (1904-1976). Approximately 1600 posters dating 1880s-1970s, with examples by many key figures in 20th century design (e.g. Kauffer, Cooper, Purvis, Nicholson, Nash, Schleger). Groups of railway (1930s-50s), London Transport, Shell-Mex, Festival of Britain, First World War and Polish culture posters. An established resource for teaching and research within the University. Now forms the historic core of a wider collection of some 12000 items, and has attracted several further donations including: c.2500 posters dating from 1970s-90s donated by Alex Rollins in 1992; original lino prints by Paul Peter Piech donated by the artist in 1996; collection of c.3000 exhibition posters dating from the 1960s-90s donated by the University of Wales in 1998). no clear reference to poster collection anywhere at all on this site

University of Nottingham, Hallward Library

A Collection of War Posters from the Telegraphic Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS), 1943-1945. This collection (Document Reference: MS281) comprises two series, one being a group of 129 stencilled posters from the TASS Windows and the second consisting of 37 printed posters, covering the period June 1943 to May 1945.

University of Oxford, Bodleian Library

Conservative Party Archive Poster Collection is held as part of the Conservative Party Archive at the Bodleian Library, Oxford has been digitised and is now freely available for download via the web. The main collection dates back to the Conservatives' attack on Lloyd George's People's Budget and support for the Tariff Reform League in 1909, but includes earlier posters back to 1886. A rich and stimulating visual resource for the study of the main issues affecting the politics of the 20th and early 21st centuries, continually being added to with regular transfers from Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera

description tbc

University of Reading

Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design Collections description tbc Early letterpress posters - National Savings Posters - Paul Peter Piech archive

The Museum of English Rural Life description tbc Collection of posters spanning the period 1890s-1970s. Main subject areas: advertising products and countryside pressure groups.

University of Salford

British Election Campaign Material includes a small number of Conservative Party posters and sample posters from the 1950s.

University of Sussex

University of Sussex Special Collections, including the Mass Observation Archive is now housed at The Keep, a short walk away from the University campus. Primary source material relating to student and workers’ unions uprising in Paris, May 1968, including some posters. Mass Observation responses to government posters 1939-47.

University of Warwick

See Corporate Collections, BP (British Petroleum) Archive

University of Westminster

Chinese Poster Collection A unique archival collection of some five hundred Chinese posters spanning the period between the late 1960s and the late 1980s.

Corporate Collections

BP (British Petroleum) Archive, University of Warwick

The Archive collection includes Company magazines; annual reports and accounts; photographs; films and public relations materials. A collection level description can be accessed via Archives Hub.

London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum holds a unique collection of more than 5,000 posters and 800 artworks on behalf of Transport for London (TfL). It covers over a century of graphic design and represents a remarkable cross-section of artists and an extensive range of styles, formats and techniques.

The Underground Group at the beginning of the 20th century was a pioneering patron of poster art, due largely to the efforts of one man, Frank Pick (1878-1941). He was responsible for publicity and, recognising the potential of this powerful medium and how it could serve the company, commissioned the first graphic poster in 1908. From that point onwards, the company and its successor London Transport, regularly commissioned posters from both established and emerging artistic talent. These posters were used to promote everything from leisure trips and sporting fixtures to the reliability of the transport system itself.

Copies of everything produced were kept and this collection was transferred to London Transport Museum in the 1980s. The collection has grown steadily and the latest works produced for Transport for London are added. The collection provides a uniquely comprehensive picture of a century of graphic design. Several posters from the collection are on permanent display at the Museum in Covent Garden. There is also a regularly changing exhibition in our ‘Poster Parade’. The collections store at the Museum’s Depot at Acton in west London, where the main poster collection is kept, is regularly open for public tours. It is also possible to arrange private tours of the store and access for research.

P&O Heritage Collection

The P&O Heritage Website gives online public access to the archive and collections of P&O and charts its history over 175 years. P&O is arguably the oldest and most famous name in shipping and P&O Heritage’s resources extend to over 30,000 objects and records from the company’s foundation in 1837. Today the collection is proudly preserved by Dubai-based global marine terminal operator DP World, which acquired the P&O Group in 2006. The website showcases P&O’s extensive visual archive including a photographic collection, which has recently been digitised for the first time. Visitors to the site can browse through photographs, posters, paintings, drawings and postcards, and order prints for delivery anywhere in the world.

Post Office Archives

The British Postal Museum and Archive holds original posters and a photographic record catalogue of Post Office posters from the 1930s to the present day.

Shell Art Collection, National Motor Museum Trust

The Shell Art Collection is one of the most important collections of 20th century commercial art in Britain. It spans the period from the 1900s to the 1980s and contains posters, press advertisements, paintings and illustrations, as well as early postcards, books and a unique collection of Valentine cards. The Collection holds over 7,000 Shell Lorry Bills (posters) produced in the 1920s, 30s and 50s. Renowned for the breadth of artists, styles and subjects used, the Collection has become a fantastic resource for the history of British art, culture and motoring, as well as promoting Shell’s heritage. The Shell Art Collection is housed at the National Motor Museum Trust, Beaulieu.

Unilever Archives & Records Management

The archives contain original documents, printed sources, images and films. Well-known companies, such as Colman’s, Wall’s and Lipton, as well as brands such as Persil, Pears Soap, Lux, PG Tips and Marmite, all feature in the archive. There are minute books, financial records, a wealth of advertising and examples of packaging, as well as architectural plans and maps to name just some of the types of records.

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum has over 600 posters – most of them advertise tennis equipment and tournaments – but around a fifth show how the popularity of tennis has been harnessed to advertise some unexpected things. The image of the athletic, glamorous and sophisticated tennis player has appeared on posters promoting everything from fashion to film, mountain resorts to milk. The earliest poster in the Museum’s collection dates from 1893 and advertises The Championships. The Museum is constantly adding to its poster collection and collects posters from all around the world that depict tennis and tennis players. Artists represented in the collection include Tom Purvis, Frank Newbould, Eve Kirk and Leon Dupin. There is usually a display of posters in the Museum. Posters can be seen in the store by appointment.

Private Collections

Graphic Design Festival Scotland

Graphic Design Festival Scotland's poster archive includes the posters shortlisted for GDFS’ annual International Poster Competition. The competition was launched in 2014 and has since received more than 6300 entries from more than 83 countries. A number of posters each year are shortlisted by an internationally renowned jury to be shown at the festival in an International Poster Exhibition. The posters explore digital and analogue processes, new directions in typography, illustration, collage, photography and more. Articles within the collection reflect on current affairs, explore social and political issues and promotes products, services and events. The posters also provide a canvas for designers around the world – a framework for experimentation and expression. The final selection of exhibited posters can be found through the online galleries.

2014 Gallery

2015 Gallery

History of Advertising Trust

Large archive of UK advertising from the early 1800s to the present day. History of Advertising Trust also holds the archives for many of the most influential UK agencies of the past and present. Through them the historical development of advertising copy, style and content can be understood and campaigns for thousands of brands can be tracked chronologically across different agency collections. R F White, operating in London from c.1800, is the oldest agency collection at HAT with Collett Dickenson Pearce (CDP) possibly providing some of the most dynamic and creative work of the late 20th century (1960-2002). Ogilvy & Mather, S H Benson, Foote Cone & Belding, J Walter Thompson, Leo Burnett, Bates UK, Saatchi and Saatchi and DDB London are just a few of the other major companies represented.

Michael Diamond Collection of Theatre Posters

At the time of writing the collection consists of 370 late nineteenth and early twentieth century posters, but additions are made whenever possible. Although West End productions of all types of theatre are represented, the emphasis is on popular melodramas which either toured the provinces or came to only the poorer parts of London. Their artists were mostly anonymous and were asked to reflect the dramatic incidents of the play rather than produce works of art. These posters are now the best – and often the only – visual record of a form of popular entertainment which has been largely forgotten, even though the drama did not always live up to the poster. There is an un-illustrated catalogue, explaining in detail what is happening on the poster, as well as recording the printer and, where possible, the artist.

Contact Michael Diamond

Michael Diamond Collection of Theatre Postcards

This collection of postcards and other forms of theatre advertising comes to about 2000 items. The largest and most relevant ingredient consists of posters reduced in size to form postcards. The emphasis is on West End productions, which usually went on tour. Musicals were most lavishly advertised in this way, but all kinds of theatre, except opera are included. The period represented is 1900-39, but this includes revivals of plays produced earlier. An illustrated catalogue explains what is going on in the image. It records the dates of the first production and of the production being advertised as well as the venue. Where possible the names of the artists are given; leading poster artists are well represented.

Contact Michael Diamond

Robert Opie Collection

A private collection of packaging and ephemera, some of which is now on display in the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising.

Individual Poster Designers Archives

Tom Eckersley (1914-1997)

Tom Eckersley Archive, London College of Communication Tom Eckersley was a poster artist and design teacher who established the first graphic design course in Britain at the London College of Printing, the former incarnation of London College of Communication. The commemorative collection contains his posters, magazine covers and original artwork and reveals his working process. Posters from the collection have been digitised and are available on the VADS website. The Archives Hub also hosts an online exhibition of the Tom Eckersley collection.

Alan Fletcher (1931-2006)

descriptive text tbc

Edwin J. Embleton (1907-2000)

Edwin J. Embleton Archive, V&A Archive of Art and Design Edwin J. Embleton is most widely recognised for his work as studio manager at Odhams Press and in the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information. He was born in Hornsey, London. He studied at Hornsey Art School and found work at a studio off Grays Inn Road, London. In 1924 he joined Odhams Press as a layout and lettering artist, later becoming studio manager. On the day of the outbreak of the Second World War he and three other staff from Odhams Press were seconded to the Ministry of Information. Embleton was placed in charge of the production of all official government literature, in effect creating an advertising agency, of which he was the studio manager within the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information. He was in charge of the design, poster and visualising group for both the general and overseas production divisions. He was responsible for preparing, overseeing and following the projects through all stages. He was given a free hand to commission designs from artists of his choice. By the end of the War he had 60 full-time staff. In 1945 he returned to Odhams Press. He was awarded an MBE for his services to the war effort. The archive consists of 185 files including: photographs of pictorial statistics (1939 - 1943); articles from journals (1939 - 1945); booklets, journals, leaflets and magazines published for the armed forces, the British colonies, the Allies and the British home front (1939 - 1945); photocopies of Russian posters (ca.1940); postcards (ca.1940 - 1945); posters, including designs by Grace Golden (1940 - 1945); proof sheets relating to the Commonwealth (1940 - 1945); reference material relating to the USA (1943); correspondence (ca.1944); photo cards (undated); transfer sheets (undated). Archive reference number: AAD/1996/4

About the V&A Archive of Art and Design

Edwin Embleton Archive, University of Brighton Design Archives The Archive includes a diverse range of Ministry of Information printed propaganda from 1939-1945, including over 80 magazines, pamphlets and other ephemera, mainly in English, but also in other languages including French, Spanish, Dutch and Arabic.

Abram Games (1914-1996)

The creative output of Abram Games, one of the twentieth century's most influential graphic designers, is fully represented in the Abram Games Collection, a private collection belonging to his family. His work is a fascinating record of social history, and includes iconic images such as the 'Blonde Bombshell' ATS recruitment poster of 1941.

Games's clients included the United Nations, London Transport, British Airways, Shell, The Financial Times and Guinness. In the Second World War he was appointed Official War Poster Artist and designed 100 posters for the army.

As well as posters, the collection includes stamps for Britain, Jersey and Israel, book jackets for Penguin Books and emblems for the Festival of Britain and the Queen's Award for Industry, as well as the design for the first moving BBC on-screen symbol. Games also designed a Cona Coffee maker and a portable hand-held duplicating machine.

John Hassall (1868-1949)

John Hassall Collection, University of Essex John Hassall was popularly described in his day as the 'king of poster artists'. The collection consists of a series of diaries from 1894-1948, family and official correspondence and photographs, and a substantial collection of Hassall's printed works. Of particular interest is the ledger in which he recorded all of his commissions. There is very little original artwork. The collection contains many references to this part of Essex, with which the family had close connections. The original gift was made in 1966 through Mrs. D.M. Dobereiner, one of Hassall's daughters.

Ashley Havinden (1903-1973)

Ashley Havinden Collection, National Galleries of Scotland

descriptive text tbc Archive reference number: GMA A39

FHK Henrion (1914-1990)

FHK Henrion Archive and Research Library, University of Brighton Design Archives Henrion was born in Germany and studied textile design in Paris before joining the poster design school of Paul Colin. During the Second World War he was employed by the British Ministry of Information and the US Office of War Information. Art editor of various publications, he developed a reputation as a designer of exhibitions and went on to established his own design consultancy, working with companies throughout Europe. His role as an educator and as a member of professional design organisations was significant. The Archive covers Henrion's entire career, comprising original artwork, photography, examples of packaging and graphic design as well as correspondence with clients. It includes Henrion's library of books on graphic and industrial design, typography and advertising.

George Him (1900-1982)

George Him Archive, V&A Archive of Art and Design George Him (1900 - 1982) was born in Lodz, Poland on 4 August 1900. From 1918 to 1924 he studied religious history at the universities of Lodz, Warsaw, Berlin and Bonn, receiving a PhD from the University of Bonn for his thesis on the comparative history of religions. He then went on to study graphic design at the Akademie für Graphische Kunst und Buchgewerbe in Leipzig from 1924 until 1928. From 1928 to 1933 he worked as a freelance designer in Germany. In 1933 he went into partnership with Jan LeWitt, establishing the design practice LeWitt-Him. In 1936 the Victoria and Albert Museum wrote to the LeWitt-Him partnership requesting samples of their work and suggesting that there would be a market for their work in London. On the Museum’s suggestion and supported by the Museum, which completed government immigration forms, Him and LeWitt moved their partnership to London in 1937. In 1954 the partnership was disbanded and Him set up in practice as a freelance designer working from his home in Greville Road, London. He was married to Shirley Elizabeth Rhodes (d.1997). George Him’s graphic design commissions included work for the Ministry of Information, the Post Office and Schweppes. He also diversified from graphic design, becoming a very successful children’s book illustrator, exhibition, packaging and typography designer. From 1952 to 1972 he was a design consultant for El Al Israel Airlines where he worked closely with many artists, designers and architects on various design projects including designing the interiors of their offices as well as of marketing material. Exhibition work included: chief designer, the Israel Pavilion at Expo ’67, Montreal; the Masada Exhibition in London, 1966; and the Festival Clock for the Festival of Britain, 1951. His illustrations for children’s books included the series of Giant Alexander and King Wilbur books. From 1969 to 1976 he was a senior lecturer in graphic design at Leicester Polytechnic. Him also designed many posters for advertisements promoting companies such as Schweppes. He became a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists, the Society of Typographical Designers, the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce. He was also a member of the Graphique Internationale, Paris. He died in London on 4 April 1982. The archive consists of c.1000 files, including: a journal written in Polish (1919); artwork (ca.1930s - ca.1982); posters (ca.1930s - ca.1982); personal papers including correspondence, notes and press cuttings (1935 - 1982); papers relating to illustrations for children’s books including artwork, dummy books, negatives, rough sketches and tracings for publications including Don Quixote (complete set), Giant Alexander, King Wilbur and Zuleika Dobson (ca.1937 - ca.1980); publications containing George Him’s illustrations (ca.1937 - ca.1982); artwork, prints and proofs for advertisements including Formica, Osram, Schweppes, Technicolour (ca.1940s - ca.1970s); personal negatives, photographs and slides (ca.1950 - ca.1981); papers relating to El Al Isreal Airlines including plans and photographs for El Al offices (ca.1952 - 1978); publications containing articles relating to George Him (1952 - 1986); accounts (1956 - 1971); artwork and tracings for television illustrations (ca.1960s - 1970s); diaries (1968 - 1982); papers relating to Jerusalem (1973); material relating to exhibitions of George Him’s work (1976 - 1986); designs for posters and stickers for Children’s Book Week (1977); administrative files (ca.1974 - 1981); typography designs (ca.1980); letters of condolence to Shirley Him and George Him obituaries (1982); designs for puzzles and toys (undated); packaging (undated); sketchbook (undated). Archive reference number: AAD/1997/19

About the V&A Archive of Art and Design

Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890 - 1954)

Edward McKnight Kauffer Archive, V&A Archive of Art and DesignEdward McKnight Kauffer was born in the USA. He studied art in the USA and in Europe and in 1914 he moved to London. For the next 25 years he was the principal designer of London Underground posters and he also designed posters for other companies including Shell Petroleum. His commercial work included book illustration, costume and textile design, mural painting, poster design, theatre design and exhibition design. The outbreak of the Second World War disrupted McKnight Kauffer's work and he returned to New York in 1940. After an initial struggle he obtained work designing dust jackets and advertisements. Major commissions included those for Bernard Waldman, head of a New York marketing and public relations agency. In 1950 he married the textile designer Marion Dorn. The archive consists of c.50 files, including: posters and poster designs including those for British Petroleum, Orient Line and Shell Petroleum (1913 - 1948); advertising designs (ca.1920 - 1939); book illustrations and dust jackets for firms such as Chatto and Windus, the Hogarth Press and the Modern Library (ca.1920 - ca.1939); drawings, paintings and sketches, mainly of landscapes and female nudes (ca.1920 - ca.1939); press cuttings (1921 - 1924); correspondence between E. McKnight Kauffer and Sidney Garrad (1936); photographs of advertisements designed by E. McKnight Kauffer for Bernard Waldman (1943 - 1950); photograph of McKnight Kauffer in his studio (ca.1945). Archive reference numbers: AAD/1979/10 and AAD/1987/5

About the V&A Archive of Art and Design
See also, and

Reginald Mount (1906-1979) and Eileen Evans (b.1921)

Reginald Mount and Eileen Evans Archive, V&A Archive of Art and Design Edward Reginald Mount (1906-1979) worked for the advertising agencies Greenly's and Lintas until the outbreak of the Second World War when he joined the Ministry of Information (which became the Central Office of Information in 1945). He headed the design team responsible for poster design, reporting to Edwin Embleton. After the War he combined freelance design work with part-time work at the Central Office of Information, often undertaking commissions with Eileen Evans. He was a consultant designer for the Central Office of Information's Art Services Section. Eileen Evans studied commercial art at the Reimann School, London from 1937 to 1939. In 1939 she joined the Ministry of Information, becoming a member of Reginald Mount's design team. They continued to work together after the War, both part-time at the Central Office of Information and freelance, and were known as Mount/Evans, although they also undertook individual commissions. Mount was responsible for the art and design of commissions whilst Evans concentrated on the typography, layout and maps. Their anti-smoking and road safety poster campaigns both won awards. The archive is made up of c.20 files, including: posters (ca.1953 - 1976); job cards for the Department of Employment and Productivity (1960s); recruitment brochures for the armed forces (1965-1970); programmes and invitation cards for the Associated Fashion Designers of London (1966 - 1967); brochures for the British Overseas Trade Board (1970s); reports for the Exports Credits Guarantee Department (1973 - 1975); booklets containing careers and occupational information (1978 - 1981); cover designs by Reginald Mount for the British Embassy in Paris (undated); leaflets for Coldingly Prison Industries (undated); photographs of symbols for the Ordnance Survey (undated); promotional material for the Cement and Concrete Association (undated); promotional material for the Ministry of Health (undated). Archive reference number: AAD/1995/15. Download a detailed handlist for this collection.

About the V&A Archive of Art and Design

Paul Peter Piech (1940-1996)

Paul Peter Piech Archive, V&A Archive of Art and Design Paul Peter Piech was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA, the son of Ukrainian parents. He studied at the Cooper Union College of Art in New York. On graduating he obtained work at the Dorlands Advertising Agency in New York where Herbert Bayer was the art director. He came to Britain as a serviceman during the Second World War and was stationed in Cardiff where he met his future wife, Irene Tompkins. They married in 1947 and had one daughter. After the War Piech stayed in Britain and studied at Chelsea School of Art, London funded by a GI grant. He then worked in the advertising industry from 1945 - 1968, becoming art director of the London agency, Crawfords. In 1959, while working at Crawfords, he set up the private press Taurus Press of Willow Dene, based at his home at 2 Willow Dene, Bushey, Hertfordshire. The first publication produced by the Press was War and misery, a portfolio of Piech's woodcut images. In 1968 Piech set up as a freelance graphic artist, accepting commissions and part-time teaching in order to devote more time to the private press. Piech designed poem posters and printed books and illustrations which expressed his concern with freedom of conscience, ideological and social issues and racial equality. His commissions included work for Amnesty International and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Cutting graphics and illustrations in lino or wood, he often illustrated quotations from poets, politicians and philosophers such as William Blake and Martin Luther King. The Press produced 70 publications and Piech's work was shown in numerous exhibitions and appeared in international publications. In the 1980s he moved the Press to Limetree Way, Porthcawl, Mid-Glamorgan. Piech was a Fellow of the Society of Typographical Designers and a founder member of the London Chapel of Private Press Printers. The archive consists of c.2000 files, including: biographical notes (1940 - 1993); posters designed by Paul Peter Piech for concerts, exhibitions, international organisations, plays and lectures (1940 - 1996); press cuttings (1940 - 1996); posters collected by Paul Peter Piech including work by Dia Al-Azzawi, Tom Eckersley, Herb Lubalin and Edward Wright (ca.1945 - 1996); Taurus Press books (1959 - 1993); artwork (ca.1960 - 1993); exhibition catalogues (ca.1970 - ca.1990); advertising slides (ca.1960s); etchings (undated); exhibition boards (undated); linocut prints (undated); lithographs (undated); photographs (undated); publications (undated); woodcuts (undated). Archive reference number: AAD/1986/6

About the V&A Archive of Art and Design

See also Paul Peter Piech prints, University of Northampton, School of The Arts The collection includes original lino prints by Paul Peter Piech donated by the artist in 1996. no clear reference to poster collection anywhere at all on this site
and Paul Peter Piech archive, University of Reading description tbc

Hans Schleger (1898-1976)

Hans Schleger Archive, V&A Archive of Art and Design Hans Schleger was born in Kempen, Germany. He served in the German Army during the First World War and studied painting and drawing at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Berlin from 1918 to 1921. From 1921 to 1924 he worked as a publicity manager and set designer for Karl Hagenbeck in Berlin. In 1924 he moved to New York and worked as a magazine layout artist and freelance advertising designer, establishing his own Madison Avenue studio under the name ʻZeroʾ, the name by which he continued to sign all his work. In 1924 he moved back to Berlin to work for the German branch of the W.S. Crawford advertising agency. In 1932 he moved to London to work as a freelance designer. He became heavily involved in the establishment of unified design policies for British industrial concerns including the British Sugar Corporation, Fisons Pest Control, and the John Lewis Partnership. In 1953 he helped set up the design studio Hans Schleger and Associates where he worked until his death. His commissions included work for British Petroleum Ltd, British Rail, the Edinburgh Festival, London Transport, and Shell-Mex. He was a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers and held various educational appointments, including that of Visiting Associate Professor at the Institute of Design in Chicago. Consisting of over 2200 files, the archive is made up of Berlin miscellany (1919 - 1933); posters (1932 - 1996); advertising (1924 - 1976); corporate identity and packaging (1932 - 1980); symbols (1919 - 1976); individual projects (1932 - 1976); commisioned projects not used (1932 - 1976); photographs of exhibitions (1929 - 2007); public relations material (ca. 1919 - 2006); thoughts and ideas material (undated). Archive reference numbers: AAD/1995/32, AAD/2008/11 and AAD/2014/10.

About the V&A Archive of Art and Design

Hans Unger (1915-1975)

Hans Unger Archive, V&A Archive of Art and Design Hans Unger (1915 - 1975) was born in Prenzlau, Germany. He went to school in Berlin until 1933. In the mid-1930s he studied graphic art with the poster designer Jupp Wiertz in Berlin. In 1936 he emigrated to South Africa. When the Second World War broke out he enlisted in the South African army. He was captured in North Africa by the Italian army but managed to escape from a prisoner-of-war camp when Italy's war effort collapsed. He moved to London in 1948, working as a poster designer and graphic artist for a number of companies and organisations including London Transport and the Post Office. The Unger Mosaic Workshop was set up by Hans Unger with Eberhard Schulze ca.1958 to design and produce mosaics and stained glass windows. His major works included the design of stained glass windows for St Columba's Church in Chester, Astley Church in Manchester and the Pallottine Convent Chapel in Rochdale. He designed mural mosaics for Lewisham Town Hall, London; the Royal Free Hospital, London; Brasenose College, Oxford; and St Jude's Church, Wigan. The archive contains 123 items including: posters (ca.1953 - 1977); glass negatives and photographs of graphic designs, mosaics and stained glass (1953 - 1977); graphic designs (1953 - 1977); press cuttings and articles concerning Hans Unger's work (1953 - 1977); publicity material (1960 - 1977); paintings (ca.1961); scrapbook (1965 - 1970); correspondence and publicity material for the Hans Unger Commemorative Exhibition, Reed House, Piccadilly, London, May 1977 (1975 - 1977); cards and packaging designs (undated); dust jackets (undated); photograph album (undated); portfolio (undated). Download a detailed handlist for this collection. Archive reference numbers: AAD/1978/1: AAD/2007/12

About the V&A Archive of Art and Design