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Stow tools safely - think of the man below

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    1942 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Eckersley, Tom OBE, born 1914 - died 1997 (designer)
    Loxley Bros. Ltd. (printers)
    Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (publishers)
    Ministry of Labour and National Service (issued by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 3G, shelf DR7

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, or RoSPA, began life as the London "Safety First" Association in the final days of the First World War, in response to an increase in road traffic accidents caused by the blackout. The National Safety First Association was formed from an integration of other similar organisations developed in other metropolitan areas of Britain. The Association produced cinema advertisements, posters and safety literature throughout the 1920s and '30s, and during World War II, commissioning a series of accident prevention posters which were aimed at factory workers, sanctioned by the Ministry of Labour. Eckersley articulated the need for a coherent language of design, based on simplicity and clarity of meaning. During World War II, Eckersley was RoSPA's most productive designer . He would develop ideas whilst working as a cartographer for the RAF, elaborating and refining the composition in his studio each evening.

Physical description

Poster encouraging safety at work depicting the figure of a man casting a shadow, and standing below a hammer and nails balanced on a high shelf. At the top of the poster is the slogan in large black letters, ‘Stow tools safely’, and below the image, ‘Think of' in black, and in brown 'the man below'. The artist has signed himself, 'Eckersley '42' along the left-hand edge of the image, which is funnel-shaped.

Place of Origin

London (published)


1942 (made)


Eckersley, Tom OBE, born 1914 - died 1997 (designer)
Loxley Bros. Ltd. (printers)
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (publishers)
Ministry of Labour and National Service (issued by)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

Printed in black, above the image

Printed in black ('think of') and brown ('the man below'), below the image

The issue number is printed in the lower left-hand corner, next to the Society's symbol, a cog and a triangle

'Issued by the Ministry of Labour and National Service and produced by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Terminal House, 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London S.W.1 / Printed by LOXLEY BROS. LTD.'
Printing and publishing information, printed at the bottom of the poster

Artist's signature, lower right corner


Height: 76.4 cm, Width: 50.6 cm

Descriptive line

Safety at work poster produced by RoSPA, designed by Tom Eckersley, and printed by Loxley Bros. Ltd, United Kingdom, 1942


Lithographic ink; Paper



Subjects depicted

Men; Shadows; Figures; Health; Hammers; Prevention; Nails; Accident; Shelves; Safety


Prints; Propaganda; Health; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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