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100-Year History To Be Displayed

Exhibition being held at the library of Birmingham

An exhibition spanning the history of family-safety charity RoSPA, including a selection of its famous and much sought-after posters, is opening at the Library of Birmingham to celebrate the organisation’s centenary.

The family-friendly exhibition in the library’s main foyer will feature highlights from the last 100 years, beginning with RoSPA’s inception and early work on road safety during the blackouts of the First World War. It will also reveal details of the charity’s current activities, including the Keeping Kids Safe campaign, which offers free online and telephone advice to parents and carers of under-5s.

Some of RoSPA’s most popular vintage safety posters from the 1940s-1970s will be on display in the main exhibition area, as well as in the library’s Café Mezzanine, while the country’s most famous road safety squirrel, Tufty, will also put in an appearance. The exhibition will also feature fun activities for children, to help them learn about some of the hazards they might encounter every day.

Visitors will be able to take home leaflets about a variety of safety issues, including nappy sacks, blind cords and driveways.

"many of the safety messages shared through these campaigns have stood the test of time"

RoSPA’s acting chief executive Errol Taylor said: “RoSPA has a rich and expansive history, having worked across a host of sectors which touch on day-to-day life for generations, and I’m sure that many visitors to the exhibition will enjoy reminiscing about our safety campaigns – be it Tufty, Cycling Proficiency, or our unique workplace safety posters.

“Many of the safety messages shared through these campaigns have stood the test of time and they remain at the heart of our work with families today. Our methods of communication might be more technological nowadays, with a big focus on the digital sphere, but our commitment remains the same as we tackle the rising number of home and leisure accidents.

“We’re immensely proud of our links with the Library of Birmingham, which houses our vintage poster collection in its Archives and Collections, and are delighted to be holding our centenary exhibition here.”

The exhibition will officially open on Monday (May 22) at 11.30am, at an event attended by representatives of RoSPA, partners, the library and Birmingham City Council. It will run until July 13.

The exhibition launch comes at the start of a packed week of major activities for RoSPA. On Tuesday (May 23), the National Accident Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, which is co-ordinated by the charity, will meet to take forward the development of a national plan covering all ages and stage of life. Then on Thursday (May 25), a RoSPA Centenary Royal Garden Party will take place at Buckingham Palace, attended by HRH The Duke of York, HRH Princess Eugenie of York and nearly 3,500 guests.

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Accidents are the biggest threat to you and your family for most your life. In fact, more than 14,000 people die as a result of accidents across the UK each year, while thousands more are maimed and millions are injured. Businesses are ruined. Families are devastated. Children grow up without parents, parents without children. Yet despite the scale and severity of the problem, accidents are still too often discussed with a shrug of the shoulders. There is a pervasive belief amongst some people that accidents are somehow inevitable. That they can't be stopped. Imagine if we took the same attitude towards child abuse. Or cancer. For almost 100 years, RoSPA has been quietly working behind the scenes to change both legislation and attitudes surrounding accidents. From the compulsory wearing of seatbelts and the campaign to stop drink driving, to the Cycling Proficiency Test and to the more recent ban on handheld mobile phones behind the wheel, RoSPA has been instrumental in shaping our society for the better, preventing millions of deaths and serious injuries along the way. As a registered charity, we are committed to continuing this legacy of change.