From 1916 onwards the British public were encouraged to save small amounts of money on a regular basis with a National Savings Scheme. The money invested paid a small amount of interest, but was secured by the government. The government used this invested money to help pay for the war and then to help offset the national debt. The scheme gave savers little enamelled medals to those who invested over a long period of time, here for seven years:
I suspect this medal dates from the 1940s or 1950s. Examples were produced for 7, 10, 15, 20 and 35 years of savings. They were made by the well known badge maker Fratorrini of Birmingham:
National Savings were pushed hard during World War II as a way for everyone, even children, to contribute. A W Morgan recalls:
We were encouraged to save regularly at school by purchasing “Savings Stamps”, 6d for a blue one and 2s 6d for a red one. These were stuck into our savings books and on reaching a total of 15s or later 10s, they could be exchanged for a savings certificate.
There were regular “Savings Weeks” in which the town was given a target. In “Spitfire Week” the target was £5000 for each Spitfire and a higher figure was requested in “Warship Week” where several towns were asked to contribute. Competitions were held in which school children were asked to draw a picture and write a composition depicting the savings theme of that time. Winning entries were displayed, together with the child’s name on large boards in the window of the “Gas and Water Company” in High Street North, Dunstable. The prizes awarded were National Savings Certificates and Savings Stamps. Other activities were to be found in various parts of the town. One was the display of a captured Messerschmitt Me 109 in Grove House Gardens; it was in a large marquee. An entrance fee of 1d was charged to go in and for an additional sum; one could sit in it and work the control column; levers and switches. To small boys such as myself, this was something special.