During the Second World War children and adults were encouraged to purchase National Savings stamps to help fund the war effort and give them a small nest egg for peacetime. One of the ways that young people were persuaded to do this was by an adult giving them a savings card with a small amount of money already on it as a gift, the idea being that the child would then add more stamps and build up the sum of money from their own pocket money. The National Savings scheme recognised this as a popular option for parents and so produced decorative cards at Christmas time for people to buy as gifts. This example dates, I believe, from 1944:
The design is suitably patriotic, with the flags of the allied nations arrayed behind a laurel leaf which is emblazoned with the badge of the National Savings scheme. Inside the card is space for the sender to put their details, some information on the scheme and what the money was being used for and spaces for savings stamps to be attached:
Stamps were sold in 6d, 2/6 and 5/- denominations and a further twelve spaces for more stamps are printed on the rear of the card:
Ruth Notley’s mum was involved in promoting the sale of National Savings stamps:
In 1939 a lady came to our parents house, Newlyn Drive, Western Boulevard, Nottingham to ask if anyone would like to run a Street savings group to help with the War effort.Our Mum, Mrs. Edna Pearce was game and she canvassed the area for members. Mum did one end of the street and Mrs. Cyril Robinson did the other. They weekly sold savings stamps which were stuck out. Cards 6d = blue, 2s6d = red, 5s0d = green. The stamps had to be all the same on each page of the card.
For 15 Shillings (15/-) a savings certificate could be bought. When your stamp card equalled 15/- worth of stamps you could change it for a certificate. Most people saved stamps only. So that, in an emergency they could change them into cash at the Post Office. I remember how mum would start a new card with maybe a few stamps stuck on for a birthday gift, maybe with the hope of a new customer.
One family, a Mr. and Mrs. Chambers who were tennants/owners of the Aspley Cinema (later to become the Commodore and now sadly gone) always bought certificates.
There was much interest from directors of big local companies like Boots and Raleigh. A Mr. Jeffrey King and a Mr. George Wilson, to name two, helped to organize a National Savings Commitee, including mum as Honorary Savings Secretary. Meetings once a week and conferences once a year held in Skegness.
I was so lucky to go to one Skegness conference. I felt so important as I wore my new Sloppy Jo – now called a T-shirt. I spent a lot of time on the beach wandering about on the beautiful sands – so empty in those days, apart from concrete bollards and hoops of barbed wire.
Once a year big National Savings Campaigns would be held such as ‘Wings for Victory’ and ‘Dig for Victory’, usually held in local cinemas. ‘The Silver Lining Campaign’ was the most spectacular. Competitions were held to find the prettiest girls to become the Silver Lining Queen and her attendants. They were dressed in gowns made of Nottingham Lace and there was a huge parade and pageant through the streets of Nottingham. Mum was a leading inspiration and organiser at these events, which lasted a week and involved schools, factories, banks etc. These campaigns not only boosted growing awareness of the need for savings but also gave the communities well earned fun in the gloomy days of War.
Our Dad Mr. Arthur Pearce, a teacher, designed badges and made mobiles and working models depicting amounts each school, club, college or factory saved.
Tremendous amounts of effort went into this VOLUNTARY work over the years. It gave the participants enjoyment and pride in helping their country in times of need and a wonderful feeling of community spirit.