British Empire
Living in the British empire - The British view
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A British poster from 1927 called 'The Empire Shop'
(Catalogue ref: CO 956/426)
  • The Empire Marketing Board produced this poster in 1927. The Empire Marketing Board was a government department whose job was to promote trade between Britain and the empire.
  • The primary aim of the poster was to get people to buy goods from empire countries.
  • There are lots of details in the picture that try to achieve this aim. The various goods (eg Jamaican bananas) are drawn to tempt shoppers.
  • The fact that each item is labelled to show where it comes from is also designed to encourage people to buy British empire goods. In the 1920s there was a lot of competition from goods produced in the USA, South America and Japan. This poster is an example of the British government's commitment to getting British people to support the economies of the empire countries.
  • By the time this poster was produced the meaning of the term empire had changed in Britain. In the 1700s and 1800s the empire was made up of lands that Britain ruled. By the early 1900s much of the empire was ruling itself. The empire was much more a community of nations, rather like the British Commonwealth today.
  • However, large parts of the empire, especially India and Africa, were still ruled directly by the British and were not independent.
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