Design, ephemera

Beermattery #6

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Further foraging in my fathers beermat collection has produced another collection, this time focussing on a drop of the harder stuff…

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Darts Legend Jocky Wilson
Darts Legend Jocky Wilson

Pony was a brand of British Cream Sherry that was strangely popular during the 1970’s but like many things from 1970’s Britain, it didn’t survive. It did manage a surreal darts sponsorship though – and this was back in the day when even championship darts was played in working mens clubs by usually non-working men who spent an extraordinary amount of time training their darts/drinking arm and smoking a lot to the traditional cry of “Gud Arrers!’ Those were the days…

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Unlike many of the  brewers that have featured on these beermats, all of these (except for the sherry of course) are still going strong. Cheers.

More beermattery next time…

Design, ephemera

Beermattery #5

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Further foraging in my fathers beermat collection has produced another collection, this time focussing not on drinks, but the places that they’re from (with one exception!)  We’ll start with a single colour one sided mat from the Sheaf View, a place where I’ve spent many lost evenings, long before it became the splendid real ale pub which it is now!  I’m also pleased to say is still going strong!

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The next one is the real odd one out, because it’s not from a pub (unless I have been mislead!) Its nice to think that one had a coaster to place one’s brown ale during the service!

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This one’s my favourite, not least because I remember when it was still called the Fiesta, but because of its many alter egos over the years! But also for the two Sheffield acts on the cabaret – Marti Cain (who won the talent show New Faeces* in 1975, beating Lenny henry and Victoria Wood) along with local funnyman Bobby Knutt (catchphrase “Eyup Knutty!) who is now probably more well known for his acting roles in Emmerdale and Coronation Street. By ‘eck, thi don’t meckum like that numoor!

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And I’ll leave you with something a little more exotic than a 1970’s northern nite club…

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More beermattery next time…

WARNING: SARCASTIC FOOTNOTE AHEAD
*New Faces was the forerunner to all this x-factor nonsense, and just like the modern shows, a few winners became famous and the rest didn’t, although I do have a vague recollection of seeing an advertisement at Butlins in Skegness during the summer season in 1982 for someone called Dougie ‘He’s Funny’ Fanshawe (2nd runner-up, New Faces 1977)
Show business; its a funny old game…

Design, ephemera

Beermattery #4

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Further foraging in my fathers beermat collection has produced another collection, or rather, a collection of a collection! This time it’s Inde Coope’s Burton Ale in the spotlight. They appeared to have produced a number of different collectors series of beermats over the years, and this is an incomplete set celebrating Traditional Crafts…

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My Dad liked collecting different sets of mats and was particularly pleased when he completed them – unfortunately, this one is not quite there,  but there are other sets in his collection and I will definitely be featuring them all at some point!

More beermattery next time…

ephemera

An Indian Delicacy

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My dear friend Nick recently ventured out into India and returned with this very delicate, exquisitely painted leaf from an old book. We know nothing of its origin, but that doesn’t detract from the obvious visual qualities of this small (approx 210x125mm) frail rectangle of paper. The front and back images above are large scans and worth a click. For those whom even that is a click too far, here’s a few select close-ups!

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Design, ephemera

Beermattery #3

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Further foraging in my fathers beermat collection has produced another collection, this time focussing on just one drink – Babycham, which is remarkably still in business!

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There are also a couple of enormous barmats too, like this one that is four times the size of a regular one:

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and this one, which is the other side of the one that started off this post, with a regular mat for scale!lestaret-beermats-large-2

More beermattery next time…

Design, ephemera

Beermattery #2

I have been foraging in my fathers beermat collection in what appears to be an unending process of categorising and sub-categorising (I should really get out more!) and thought I would share a few ‘golden oldies’ with you all. These are the old breweries, many of which are no longer with us, or exist only as brands in a multinational corporate portfolio. Alas.

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Whitbread’s are still a major business though, but brewers no more. Wilsons, though, originally a Manchester brewery, has gone the way of many others and disappeared after a series of mergers and acquisitions…

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Wards, an old Sheffield stalwart finally closed at the end of the twentieth century, but the brand has been relaunched, and whilst it is no longer made in Sheffield by Wards, its branding still retains the legend “Sheaf Brewery Sheffield” which is a bit naughty…

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Stones is still available though, but has not retained any of the visual qualities of this single sided beermat from the late 1970’s/early 80’s! Cameron’s is also still brewing, but appears to have slightly higher aspirations than suggested here.

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Wm. Younger’s still exists as a brand, but is now part of the Heineken\Carlsberg empire…

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Design, ephemera

Beermattery #1

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I have spent a little time going through my fathers beermat collection and managed to sort them in to basic categories – beers, lagers, cider, spirits, tobacco etc and thought I would share a few of the drink driving campaigns that are amongst them.

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Some of these will be familiar as they featured on national campaigns, but others are regional. These are the ones that are just safety messages – there are lots of other beermats promoting a brewery or drink on one side with a drink driving message on the other.

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This next one is is on a similar theme…

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This next one is a favourite of mine. It’s funny, but it gets to the point…

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This one celebrates 150 years of the South Yorkshire Police, and gives us a snapshot of how our WPC’s were kitted out in the 1970’s – thoughtful to let them have a shiny police handbag!

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This last one is a bit weird – I see what they are trying to do here, but I’m unsure whether it was effective or not. Anyway, I’m glad someone is trying!

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On a different note, I was surprised to see so many newer mats in the collection – I had no idea that he was still adding them! I am guessing that the earliest mats are from the early 1970’s (possibly earlier – its difficult to put a date on them) and stop about a year or so ago.

There is still much sorting to do. There are lots and lots in the beer and lager categories, both of which can be subdivided in different ways but I haven’t yet decided how best to sort them yet!

Design, ephemera

A Tegestological Discovery

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Back in the 1970’s, kids did not go into pubs. They were not for kids. Many were not even for women. Unlike today’s modern restauro-pubs, there were no soft play areas, colour-in menus and sweaty teenagers in furry mascot costumes. Pubs, and particularly northern pubs, were where men went to get away from their wives and children and talk about football, pigeons and darts. They were generally stark, cheerless places, filled with chain-smoking old men holding  huge, dimpled pint pots with handles and speaking in some strange language, which I later discovered was just a broad Yorkshire accent affected by booze!

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On the bar and on tables throughout were small printed cardboard mats on which drinks must placed when set down (not using one of the many mats scattered around usually solicited a stern reprimand from the indomitable landlady or a sharp tongued barmaid.) Men being what they are, some took an interest in these little slices of brewery ephemera and in time, the practice of collecting beermats gained an official name: tegestology.

I recently rediscovered my Dads collection of beermats. I knew he collected them; I remember him bringing home new ones every time the pub got a new set, or if he went somewhere and found one he hadn’t seen before. They all made their way into a large box footstool and I have fond memories of of looking through them, sorting them and generally wondering about all these strange and exotic drinks that sophisticated adults were enjoying in the mysterious world of ‘the pub.’

I don’t recall what happened to his collection. It simply faded from memory and was never a topic of discussion. Last week, I retrieved the xmas decorations from my mums attic space and found this large box stuffed with his beer mats! Even Mum didn’t remember them being up there!

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I reckon that there are about 1500 -2000 mats in this box. An initial scan allowed me to begin categorising: beers, lagers, ciders, stouts, spirits, mixers and tobacco amongst others. Having done a little snooping around on the web I would guess that each of the beer and lager categories could be subdivided further – as I said before, men being what they are!

My dad liked the unusual or funny ones the best. When I say funny, I want to remind you that this was 1970’s Northern England – not the apex of sophisticated humour!

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There were also quite a few odd ones that seemed to defy categorising and possibly logic!

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But for now I will leave you with this one, and ask that you raise your glass to an original ‘Man of the North’ and the rediscovery of his beermat collection…

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I am looking forward to further investigation of the collection and am sure to share my findings with you!

ephemera

Christmas Games

I recently received a lovely parcel through the post, all wrapped up in brown paper and traditionally tied up with string. My postie was a bit jealous! Inside were two boxes of vintage games and a message from my old friend and colleague Hilary that read “I came across these the other day and decided they had your name on them!”
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This first one dates back to the 1920’s and consists of two sets of screen-printed cards:
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The red ones contain two impertinent questions and the purple cards have two answers. The players should be split into two groups where everyone is dealt a card each – questions on one side, answers on the other. Then much mirth ensues as each player asks their question to someone on the opposite team who must respond with the answer upon their card, thus:

“Do you open your mouth too wide?”
“Yes – kiss me quickly”
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Some of the questions were quite surprising too! Such impertinence!

The second box was much bigger with some wonderful foil blocking:
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I cannot find any manufacturers marks anywhere, but a swift internet search revealed that there were a number of variant of the game being produced in the UK and USA during the 1920’s, but was based upon an older Victorian parlour game.
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The rules of several games are printed inside the lid, but the box was packed full of little cardboard squares with letters on them. It looks as if the game has been rarely played too – these are crisp edged and clean – one would imaging cardboad becoming greasy and discoloured, bent and round cornered if it was often used.
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When I tipped them out to examine them more closely, look what happened!
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These are really cool. All I can say is…
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ephemera

Flashback

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Occasionally, I’m asked about where the name Lestaret comes from. It’s a logical question – I use it as my general ID on the internet, and operate my freelance design business under the name too, but I am always surprised at how many people just don’t get it. It is simply a mashup of the old Letraset brand, once a synonymous part of the design for print industry, but now probably more known for its brand of Tria marker pens.

I grew up with dry-transfer lettering – you could buy little sheets of letters at WHSmiths to put on greetings cards and stuff – pretty naff, but this was a great way to add neat lettering to stuff. As long as you were happy with black letters. Always black. There were some in white, but no-one ever bought white.

I then cut my teeth on the stuff as a student – we didn’t see a Mac until the final term of our course. After the demonstration where a chap with a moustache gave us an awkward demonstration, resulting with him printing off a picture of a parrot and some text in a very pixelated Old English on a black and white matrix dot printer! We rolled our teenage eyes and said “it’ll never catch on” and went back into the darkroom to process some Copyproofs…

My friend Nick recently gave me this original Letraset paper bag filled with goodies:

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Inside were many sheets and half-sheets of Letraset Helvetica in various weights and sizes, along with a few number sheets and symbols.

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There were a few sheets of Chartpak too – considered a less professional brand to the aspiring graphic designer!

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And a few sheets of Normatype by Meccanorma, which came in these little sheets:

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On the back of the bag is a suppliers stamp and I am very pleased to say that Walters is still going strong!

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There was a special feeling when using a fresh sheet for the very first time… thanks again, Nick!