Poster Idol

Happy St. George’s Day!

St. George is an elusive figure in our records, but he does pop up in a place calling for national pride and strength – the National War Savings Committee posters.

He appears with the slogan ‘Lend to defend the right to be free’, encouraging households to invest in national savings certificates during the Second World War:

"Lend to defend the right to be free": St. George and the Dragon. 1940

The National Savings Movement was originally founded during the First World War in 1915 when means for encouraging the public to save money to help the war effort were considered. In 1916 local voluntary savings associations and ‘war savings deposits’, which later became ‘war savings certificates’, and ‘national savings certificates’ were introduced.

The aim of the National Savings Committee was to encourage the public to save by investing in national savings securities and deposits in the National (formerly Post Office) and Trustee Savings Banks.

As homemakers, posters aimed at women became one of the strong themes through both the First and Second World Wars, with appeals to use their influence lasting well into the 1950s:

Appeal to women to buy Savings Certificates: Joan of Arc. 1918

"National Savings the best nest egg": two women with stocking. 1945

"As a wife..." Welsh. 1957

If St. George was enlisted to inspire people in the first half of the 20th century, it’s interesting to ponder: Who would be on these posters now?!



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