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Keep Coombe and Carry On

February 8, 2011

No, that isn’t a typo!  I’m going to be at the Coombe Abbey Hotel Wedding Fayre on Sunday February 20th and wanted something memorable to hand out to visitors so I’ve come up with my own take on the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster:

 "Keep Coombe and Carry On" postcard front from Simon Partridge

 It’s a postcard with the legend “Keep Coombe and Carry On” emblazened on the front with an outline of my services and contact information on the reverse.

 It’s a bit of fun, but hopefully it will attract attention and create some interest at the wedding fair.  Coombe Abbey is one of my favourite venues – it’s perfect for the vintage songs that I perform and the wedding fairs there are always really busy so I thought I would do something special for the next one.

Postcard reverse

The story behind the original “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster and its rise to iconoc status is a fascinating one.  It was one in a series of posters produced at the very beginning of the Second World War by His Majesty’s Stationary Office (HMSO) atthe behest of the Ministry of Information to boost public morale.  All followed the same stylistic lines – bold white text on a single-colour background with the crown of King George VI at the top.
The original "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster from 1939
The “Keep Calm” poster was only to be used in the event of German occupation and so, thankfully, was never publically displayed.  Although thousands were produced they were almost all pulped at the end of the war and only a few copies were thought to exist in the vaults of the Imperial War Museum in London.
Then in 2000, Stuart Manley, one of the owners of Barter Books, discovered a copy of the poster in a box of books purchased at auction.  He showed it to his wife, Mary, and it was agreed that the poster should be framed and put on display on the bookshop.  Customers began to enquire about purchasing copies and Barter Books started selling reproductions.  Because the poster was long out of copyright it meant that anyone who wanted to could copy the copies and sell their own and eventually a whole mini industry was spawned.
But it was Barter Books who produced the first copies and if you want a quality, first-generation reproduction (at a very reasonable price) you should go to them.
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you at Coombe Abbey Hotel on February 20th between 2pm and 5.30pm where you’ll be able to hear me sing and grab a copy of my new postcard!
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