A recently discovered collection of vintage safety posters from the archive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) will go on public display for the first time next week.


Let’s Have a Safety Record to Crow About, hand-rendered artwork, general safety, Leonard Cusden, 1950s

The three-day exhibition – called The RoSPA Collection – will feature 40 posters dating from the 1930s to the 1970s, presenting charmingly extreme warnings of how carelessness can lead to doing yourself an injury, whether you're on the road, at home or at work. Due to the fragile nature of the posters, they have been reproduced photographically to ensure they can be exhibited safely. You can buy copies of the posters from a site set up by RoSPA.

The posters on display form part of a collection of more than 700 historical posters and artwork for posters which RoSPA discovered last year while clearing out its old warehouse.

The exhibition has been put on with the help of graphic design historian Dr Paul Rennie of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design

"The exhibition is the first phase of a project that does two things," says Paul. "The first is to share this amazing work with colleagues and friends and also with a wider public – the work is testimony to a long and continuous effort to improve the quality of working and everyday life for ordinary people; and the second is to showcase the remarkable graphic and artistic talent supported by RoSPA over the years.”


But Sensible Shoes Protect Your Feet, hand-rendered artwork, industrial safety, Digby Wills, 1954


Courtesy is Infectious, hand-rendered artwork, road safety, Bruce Angrave, 1940s


Journey’s End, poster published by RoSPA and printed by Loxley Brothers, Sheffield, road safety, Roland Davies, 1960s


March Across When the Road is Clear, hand-rendered artwork, road safety, artist unknown, 1950s


Warm the Child, But Guard the Fire, poster published by RoSPA and printed by Loxley Brothers, Sheffield, home safety, artist - initials FT, 1950s


Accidents Don’t Just Happen, They are Caused, hand-rendered artwork, general safety, Gus, 1963


Beware of the Swarf, hand-rendered artwork, industrial safety, Leonard Cusden, 1951

Among the artists who produced artwork for RoSPA during this period were Tom Eckersley, Leonard Cusden and the cartoonist Gus (aka George Smith)

Next week’s exhibition, which is free and open to everyone, will be in the Warwick Suite at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, where RoSPA Awards ceremonies will also be taking place. It's being held alongside Safety and Health Expo at the NEC, which is apparently the place to be next week if your job comes with a neon tabard.

RoSPA has also created a video about the project (below).

All posters are © The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.