I’ve often admired the lovely ‘Britain in Pictures’ books while browsing in secondhand bookshops. I love the beautifully designed covers and the fabulous illustrations inside. But I had no idea of their interesting background until I undertook a little research when adding some of these wonderful books to our shop.
Publication of the ‘Britain in Pictures’ Series started during the second world war. The books were designed to be a celebration of Britain’s contribution to the arts, science, industry and culture.
Their aim was to boost British morale during the war and to help maintain British national identity. A bit of patriotic propaganda in print!
The books are beautifully illustrated with colour and black and white pictures and many of the books were written by the most famous authors of the day, including George Orwell and Graham Greene.
Publication of the series continued after the end of the war – between 1941 and 1949 a total of 132 titles were published. The books cover a huge and, sometimes eccentric, range of topics – Waterways and Canals, Ship Builders and Fishermen, Butterflies, Hills and Mountains, English Villages and, my favourite title of all, Life Among the English.
These books are an absolute joy…. Full of all sorts of snippets of fascinating information which give a wonderful insight into life as it was before the second world war.
I think I feel a new collection coming on….