My name is Rob Metcalfe and I’m an ex-journalist, now marketing and PR man. I was born in London and have lived and worked here for most of my life. I love London, typography and architecture, so when all three collide I’m interested in the results. In particular, I enjoy the bits of London that time forgot; the things that have escaped corporate tidying up and the attention of planners. The ‘Leftover London’ that has a story to tell.


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      • Hi Jane

        More info as promised. The poster is featured in a book called “Exhibitions And The Arts Of Display” by Lawrence Weaver and published in 1925 by Country Life Ltd. It’s difficult to find – there is only one copy currently listed for sale on abebooks and that is in the USA. The book uses the 1924 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley as the source for much of its information. ‘Fireworks and Frolics’ is the only HS Williamson poster featured, alongside work by others for the exhibition, such as E McKnight Kauffer, Frank Newbould and Freda Beard. It gets a glowing write up from Weaver: “…one of the brightest of the exhibition posters, though done in flat colour, an entirely new note in firework posters was struck. That his treatment was justified was proved by the way in which his poster stood out on the hoardings.” Unfortunately Weaver also gets his name wrong and ascribes the work to HC Williamson. The caption describes it as a 16-sheet poster (ie. 10′ x 6’6″) printed by The Dangerfield Printing Co.

        Hope this is of interest. Would you like me to send you a good quality scan? Just let me know your email address. For what it’s worth, I think your grandfather’s work is fantastic and deserves to be much better known. The ‘John Bull, Sons & Daughters’ posters are sheer joy. Has anyone suggested an exhibition? The Abram Games exhibition held in Camden at the end of last year was hugely popular, so there is clearly public interest in poster and graphic art. If you every need anyone to write a monograph….

        Best regards,


      • Dear Rob, Thank you so much for such a full response. I have forwarded your reply to my siblings, aunt and my children. I will telephone my Uncle as he won’t use email. We are all proud of my grandfather and love his poster work. I wouldn’t know how to begin to organise an exhibition! I have prints of some of HSW’s posters and some black and white photocopies of some of the others including Empire posters. A monograph eh!! Goodness me!
        Could you let me know your email address (then I will send you mine) as I would love a good scan of the fireworks poster.
        Thanks again, Jane

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