Adverts a plenty

As the citizens of the UK in 1939 adjust to a new reality they are as yet blissfully unaware of the long battles still to come and so the everyday mundanities of life continue.

Even with the outbreak of war, people still needed watches, vacuum cleaners and underwear! Here’s the shopping news complete with detailed, beautifully illustrated advertisements.


People in 1939 appear to have the same preoccupations then as now. From making sure their teeth were pearly white to treating their crowning glory to the best possible stout bristled brushes!


Before cigarettes and suntans were considered a health no no, they were promoted to the public at large.

Rowntree’s fruit pastilles were touted as the best thing to relieve the smoker’s need to take a puff when their pesky employers forbid a fag at work.


While many adverts are for products that we still recognise and use today such as Beechams powders,  a few are an alien concept to us now.

Liver bile need waking up? Do you have stale foot acid? Never fear, there’s a solution.

I love this line from the liver bile ad: “Your whole system is poisoned and you feel dour, sunk and the world looks punk.” Carters brand liver pills are harmless, gentle yet amazing at making bile flow freely apparently!


The concept of renting your electric items (Radio Rentals!) and the novelty of the TV set can be seen here.

As most homes now have at least one or two of the obligatory, humongous googleboxes with a plethora of channels it is almost inconceivable to think that this new fangled technology was ever such a rarity:

“Our combined large picture (12″ x 9 1/2″) television and high fidelity ALL-WAVE radio receiver is available to those within a 20 mile radius of Alexandra Palace. This area will be extended as new stations are erected.”

The progression of TV was halted during the war and all news announcements were made either over the radio or in the local cinema.

Other ads persuade readers to part with their money with promises of full testing, guarantees and lasting accuracy.


Meanwhile concoctions for every bit of the body promised cures for what ailed you. Whether your hair was diseased, you needed a bit of a purge or your acid was rampant, there was a brand to aid you.


The adverts are a wealth of tiny details, from the delicate line drawings of the products to the superlatives used within them. There’s even testimonials from satisfied customers.


Published by Derbyshire Gal

World traveller, proud auntie, bit of a liability.

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