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History

How political leaflets used to look: Lewisham East 1931

With the Lewisham East Parliamentary by-election polling this week, now is an appropriate time to feature this leaflet from the constituency in 1931.

Only single-sided, it also only has one message: ‘this is where you can meet the National Conservative candidate’. Such public meetings used to be a mainstay of election campaigns although given that even then leaflets went to more people than came to meetings, it’s hard to think that only including meeting details on a leaflet was the smartest choice.

East Lewisham National Conservative election leaflet 1931

Assheton Pownall held the seat, losing it finally in 1945 after 27 years as an MP to Labour’s Herbert Morrison, grandfather of Peter Mandelson.

As that 1945 general election was conducted when many wartime shortages were still occurring, one concern for campaigners was whether enough paper would be available for their campaigns. Hence one of Pownall’s final Parliamentary appearances, asking this question:

Will the hon. Gentleman see that those who are contesting exceptionally large constituencies have extra supplies of paper available?

The answer? A polite version of maybe.

For more gems from past election leaflets, see my collection How leaflets used to look.

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