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London WWII Bombings c.1941. © Museum of London
Originally designed as a headscarf, this printed square from the Museum of London archives bears a map of the City of London and Westminster showing 'famous buildings bombed or burned out' by air raids in 1940-41. It includes the stirring words, 'London has taken it! London can take it again!'.
Designed by Nicol V Gray in around 1941, the slogan reflects the stoicism of the British public and especially Londoners. They had endured a great deal of suffering in the Battle of Britain, but their determination to fight on was encouraged by propaganda, including that on textiles, produced during the Second World War.
The design features the crests of the various affected boroughs printed around the border with extracts from Winston Churchill's famous speech of 4th June 1940 'We shall fight on the Seas and Oceans, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the streets and in the hills and we shall never surrender!' The slogan 'London has taken it! London can take it again!' is printed along the botton edge of the scarf.
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As mentioned above, this headscarf was originally made in a very limited edition of 30. Unlike commercially produced propaganda headscarves, this may have been intended for display rather than wear. As more women joined the work-force during World War II, the headscarf became a useful accessory. It was during these years that the large pictorial printed cloth square - once primarily a man's handkerchief - was adopted by women.
The Museum of London documents the history of the English capital city from prehistoric through to modern times. It is located on London Wall, close to the Barbican Centre as part of the stunning and now protected Barbican complex of buildings created in the 1960s and 1970s, an innovative approach to re-development within a bomb-damaged area of the City of London. The museum, a few minutes' walk north of St Paul's Cathedral, overlooks the remains of the Roman city wall and is on the edge of the oldest part of London, now the main financial district. It is primarily concerned with the social history of London and its population throughout time and is jointly controlled and funded by the City of London Corporation and the Greater London Authority. The museum, the largest urban history collection in the world, has more than six million objects.
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