Souvenir Programme of the opening of Kingsway by his Majesty the
4 0 c m
actual image size: 22cm x 24cm

Souvenir Programme of the opening of Kingsway by his Majesty the

William Burgess and Company

© Museum of London

Full image caption

Souvenir paper table napkin commemorating the opening of Kingsway in 1905. The napkin is printed with a programme of the day's events that included the presentation of a petition by Poplar Borough Council on behalf of the local unemployed. In the centre are woodcut vignette portraits of the King and Queen. These woodcuts were used repeatedly by the printer for similar programmes produced throughout the reign of King Edward VII. Surrounding the printed information is a decorative pink floral border.
Named in honour of King Edward VII, Kingsway in Holborn was London's broadest street. Beneath the street was a tram tunnel that ran from Southampton Row to the Thames Embankment linking the north and south London tram systems. The Aldwych and Kingsway scheme was the London County Council's first large urban improvement scheme in central London and signalled the council's vision of London as a modern city of tree-lined boulevards, office blocks and free-flowing traffic. The construction resulted in the demolition of much of the slum housing that blighted the area. The opening of the road and tunnel caused huge public interest. This napkin would have been sold as a souvenir of the event by street sellers mingling amongst the crowds of spectators who had come to watch the official opening ceremony.
Similar souvenir napkins were printed for every large public event, ceremony or procession that occured in London from the late 19th to mid 20th century. The squares were imported into London from Japan pre-printed with a decorative border in up to 5 colours and a blank central area. Burgess was one of the main printer of such napkins. In this example the printer is referred to as 'Wholesale & Export Printers of Souvenir Handkerchiefs'.




1905 AD - 1905 AD

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