A window into the past for both the curious and the collector — find rare, unusual and historic paper items, priced from £2 to over £2000. A huge range of ephemera will be on display. The fairs will be on for one day only so make a note in your diary now, we look forward to seeing you there!
Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury
London WC1N 1HT
Entry £3 · 11am - 4pm · All welcome
Early admission for members from 10am with membership card.
Interested in booking a table for the fair? Reserve your space - download the booking form
For more details call 01923 829079 or email
Join us! The Ephemera Society is always pleased to welcome new members. Payment can be made online by PayPal.
Bracing Air, Abundant Amusements: The Travel Posters of Charles Pears
Until 25 February 2022
Bustling beaches, bathing belles and bold Art Deco design. Be transported back to the heyday of rail tourism, day trips and the British seaside holiday with the vibrant travel posters of Pontefract-born artist, Charles Pears.
A renowned marine artist, illustrator and member of the Royal Academy, this exhibition celebrates Pears in the town where he grew up and began his initial training. Focusing on his career as a commercial artist, it features works kindly lent from national collections, including designs for London Transport and British rail companies.
Admire peaceful scenes from the banks of the Thames, enjoy the bright lights of the city and soak up plenty of sun, sea, sand and sky.
During the early twentieth century, John Hassall was one of Britain’s best-known and most high-profile artists. Working across a variety of disciplines, he was a prolific book illustrator, a humorous artist for postcards and magazines, an art school founder and teacher, a painter in oils, consummate clubman, and a designer of toys, figurines, pottery and nursery decor.
But it was through his commercial illustration for travel companies, political causes, theatre and well-known brands that he made his name in an age when advertising hoardings were known as the, ‘poor man’s art gallery’. Hassall’s natural affinity for poster art, and the popularity of his creations, was to earn him the title, ‘The Poster King’.
Employing bold line, flat colours and an engagingly cheery style, Hassall’s designs had immediate impact with many creations, notably his famous, ‘Skegness is SO bracing’ poster, becoming embedded in popular culture. This exciting and beautiful exhibition seeks to explore key aspects of John Hassall’s work, and to celebrate the life of this extraordinary artist a century on from his heyday.
This Is What Democracy Looked Like: A Visual History of the Printed Ballot
This bureaucratic piece of paper represents our long struggle to make elections free, fair, and honest. Printed ballots embody the material history of our democracy: its ideas, routines, and abuses. These ballots have a story to tell.
By the 1880s, the public demanded reforms to a clearly corrupt voting system. A new format from Australia introduced parameters that seem obvious to us now: an official ballot administered and distributed by the state, a nonpartisan layout that listed all the candidates on one sheet, and the most radical innovation: the ballot was to be marked in private.
This new format was not an immediate hit. While it offered equality and privacy, its adoption initiated our enduring history of contested voter intent and disputed mark making—and the end of freewheeling ballot design.
Presented by the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, USA.
Image: Detail from People’s Party Ticket, 1884, Massachusetts. Courtesy American Antiquarian Society.
The Art of Advertising
Until 30 August 2021
The Art of Advertising tells the story of British advertising from the mid 18th century to the 1930s through an incredible collection of handbills, trade cards, novelties, posters and much more.
Drawing on the Bodleian’s renowned John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera, one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera in the world, the exhibition will reveal how advertisements reflect social attitudes over time while showcasing some of the finest examples of advertising illustration and commercial art.
This exhibition explores the assertion that Leicester is the ‘birthplace of popular tourism’ and explores the history of the man and the company through objects and material from the museum collections and the Thomas Cook Archive.
Tourism in Leicester is believed to have begun in 1841 when Thomas Cook organised a day trip to Loughborough for members of his Baptist Church. A party of 485 travelled to Loughborough, on the Midland Counties Railway, in open tub-style carriages. This day marks what was to become the oldest travel company in the UK until its demise in 2019.
Image: Detail from Thomas Cook & Son handbill 22 July 1873
The material from the Thomas Cook Archive has until recently been held in a private collection. The exhibition offers the first opportunity for people to see the archive now that it is in public ownership. The archive contains material from throughout the company history, from very early tickets to brochures from the height of the company’s success. The exhibition will be a vivid display of what was one of the most recognised travel companies in the world.
Wish You Were Here: 151 Years of the British Postcard
Until 2 January 2022
Wish You Were Here celebrates and explores the iconic role the postcard has played in connecting people for more than a century and a half.
The British postcard’s history began in 1870 and 2020 marked its 150th anniversary. An innovation of its time, the postcard meant new and faster correspondence through the post.
They were used to send secret messages of love, to boost morale for soldiers at war and to boast from holidays near and afar.
Visitors can explore the postcard through history and reflect on its future with themes including romance, First World War correspondence, the Great British seaside, contemporary art and the postcard in a digital age.
The Underground Group,
and later London
Transport, produced a
wide variety of public
during the First (1914-18)
and Second (1939-45)
The majority of wartime
posters advised staff and
passengers on emergency
rules and regulations.
Others were more overtly
patriotic, often focussing
on the valuable war work
undertaken by transport
urged onlookers to enlist
with the armed forces.
During WWII, posters
were used to explain tube
'etiquette' to war workers
and servicemen using the
underground for the first