Category Archives: Social History

History of Advertising

As strange as I may be, I have always loved adverts. Advert stills; adverts on the tele; adverts on billboards… Similar to photographs in general, they capture a moment in time and can bring us closer to understanding that time – be it our own or one in history. In a previous issue of Best of British Magazine I read an article about ‘Ghost Signs’ and the ‘fading remnants of advertising past’. Ghost signs are old hand-painted advertisements that still remain from a bygone time. They are preserved on a building for nostalgic appeal, or indifference by the owner. They are everywhere when you start to look and I remember noting them as a child.

Ghost sign for a defunct clothing store in Salem, Massachusetts

The History of Advertising Trust has created an archive to record such signs. They encourage all of us to look around our local area, take photographs of any defunct advertisements we may find and send them in to the trust to preserve the history for future generations. The website is well worth a look, and I keep meaning to participate myself! Continue reading

The Assassination of JFK

Until very recently I didn’t know much about the assassination of JFK, other than he was shot in Dallas in November 1963, believed to be at the hands of a lone mad man called Lee Harvey Oswald. That’s what any history I had heard about it had told me. I don’t remember studying it in school or ever discussing it elsewhere. It is just a part of history that everyone knows. I was born 19 years after it happened. What sparked my interest was a very simple ‘quiz’ page in a free magazine (basically full of adverts) that is posted through our door from time to time. Among a list of other facts about ‘What happened in July 1961?’ it said

American defector Lee Harvey Oswald travelled to the American Embassy in Moscow to ask for the return of his passport. His wish was granted and returned to the States. November 1963 he assassinated the President’.

Those short sentences intrigued me as for the first time I realised there must be more to the assassination than I had thought. I had no idea that Lee Harvey Oswald had ever defected. Why would he do that? And then why did he return?? Being the curious soul I am, I wanted to know more. Continue reading