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The Best of Keep Calm and Carry On

Updated on September 05, 2014

A motivational poster - and the rest!

''Keep Calm and Carry On'' was commissioned as a motivational WWII poster by the British government's Ministry of Information in 1939 but was never distributed at the time. After the war it was re-discovered and has proved outstandingly successful in providing a message for modern times.

Latterly, it has provided the stimulus for:

- a range of posters and gifts for those needing a motivational lift.

- an internet meme which has generated other motivational messages with a slightly different tone....such as "Keep Calm and Have a Cup Cake"!

Don't forget to vote in the opinion poll for your favourite parody - see POLL: 10 Parodies of Keep Calm and Carry On - what's your favourite?

"What I love, right along with everyone else, is how that poster, itself, would be, against all odds, a survivor of the war. How that little crown represents, still, a dignity that we seem to have lost, have we? How its message - so simple, so clean, so without spin - has turned out to have meaning not just for a single people in time of trouble but for all of us wherever we live, whatever our troubles."

— Mary Manley - commenting on the poster she and her husband discovered accidentally

The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On - from the original home of the poster

Keep Calm and Carry On - Posters

Today the poster has been reproduced in different colours to suit individual preferences. The red one is below but click the link and see more in different colours

Keep Calm and Carry On - it's Christmas!

This book is for those who do NOT think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It provides wisdom and soothing advice for those whose patience is being stretched and who have to cope with all the normal challenges from the over-eating to the relatives and what you did at the Christmas Party.

Is it better or worse to remember what you did at the Christmas Party?

Keep Calm and Carry On Calendar 2015 - A Page-A-Day which helps everybody to cope and feel better

The calendar with gumption, Keep Calm and Carry On is inspired by the simple but powerful motivational poster that helped keep Britons' chins up during World War II and is packed with rousing quotes, slogans, and mottos to get your day off to a good start.

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain

Dolly Parton

More about the story of "Keep Calm and Carry On"

In 1939, with the Second World War against Germany looming, the UK Government commissioned the design of three posters. These were intended to steady the public's resolve and maintain morale. They all featured the crown of King George VI set against a bold red background, and three distinctive slogans:

* "Freedom is in Peril",

* "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory", and

* "Keep Calm and Carry On".

Two-and-a-half million copies of the "Keep Calm" poster were printed, to be distributed in the event of a national catastrophe, but remained in storage throughout the war.

The poster and its motivational message was all but forgotten until 2000, when a copy was discovered in the bottom of a box of old books bought in auction in 2000 by Stuart Manley, a bookseller (a>) from Northumberland.

"I didn't know anything about it but I showed it to my wife. We both liked it so we decided to frame it and put it in the shop," explains Mr Manley."Lots of people saw it and wanted to buy it. We refused all offers but eventually we decided we should get copies made for sale."

Sales remained modest until 2005, when it was featured as a Christmas gift idea in a national newspaper supplement.

"All hell broke loose," says Mr Manley. "Our website broke down under the strain, the phone never stopped ringing and virtually every member of staff had to be diverted into packing posters."

Based on information from:

* BBC: The greatest motivational poster ever?

Keep Calm and Carry On - and write it down - available on Amazon

For the bookworms and writers

Keep Calm and Carry On Beaded Bookmark
Keep Calm and Carry On Beaded Bookmark

Keep you place with this bookmark


Keep Calm and Carry On Stories - uplifting stories of how people cope

Stories of what people do when the going gets tough

What's your "Keep Calm and Carry On" story? - anyone can leave a comment

Have you benefited from being given this message on a poster or mug - or do you know someone who has? Leave your comments below - and if your story is told in a lens, leave a link to your lens.

(Please note: no html allowed / all comments are moderated)


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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I tell myself to Keep Calm and Carry On almost daily, now. I'd never heard of the phrase before...earlier this year? I've got a lot of anxiety but the phrase makes me smile. I think I'll be getting that rubber stamp for myself my next birthday.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 4 years ago

      My daughter brought us a package of "Keep Calm and Carry On" band-aids for our workshop. I thought it was made just for band-aids! Thanks for the info. It's an increasingly appropriate saying, I must declare!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Keep calm and watch all of the Harry Potter movie in 1 go

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 4 years ago

      I love these little posters. Such a cute saying.

    • profile image

      KKBOOKSTORE 5 years ago


    A derivative of the original poster
    A derivative of the original poster | Source

    Keep Calm and Carry On - have a drink! - If in doubt - make a cup of tea!

    The British have a tradition - if it's a crisis, then it's also time to brew a cup of tea! Here's a selection of mugs and containers for your favourite comfort drink when feeling a bit stressed out

    Keep Calm and Carry On Enamel Coffee Mug
    Keep Calm and Carry On Enamel Coffee Mug

    100% cotton, red kitchen towels and dish cloths with vintage WWII slogan.

    Comes with a card telling the history of the slogan.


    Keep Calm and Carry On - in the Kitchen - no more kitchen disasters all the way down the front of your sweater!

    The "Keep Calm and Carry On" statement captures the British philosophy of keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of kitchen disasters! Next they'll be making rubbish bins for the burnt dinners!

    Keep Calm & Carry On Apron
    Keep Calm & Carry On Apron

    British WWII slogan. Unisex adult. Red with white straps. 33" long x 29" wide with bib. One size fits all.


    "Life has two rules: Number 1, never quit! Number 2, always remember rule number 1"

    Duke Ellington

    Keep Calm and mend wounds!

    This pack contains a survival kit of 16 colorful band-aids in 4 different designs - for little ones....... and big ones too! Why not show off your need for a plaster!

    They all come in a red decorative tin - complete with the words from the original poster

    Who has a "Keep Calm and Carry On" Poster?

    "suddenly these days, it's everywhere, from homes to pubs to government offices. The Lord Chamberlain's Office at Buckingham Palace, the prime minister's strategy unit at No 10, the Serious Fraud Office, the US embassy in Belgium, the vice chancellor of Cambridge University, the Emergency Planning Office at Nottingham council and the officers' mess in Basra have all ordered posters. Even David Beckham has the T-shirt, we are told. "

    The Guardian - What crisis?

    Keep Calm and Carry On - and change your T shirt - available on Amazon

    There's the basic Keep Calm and Carry On red T Shirt

    ...and then there are the variations

    * Keep Calm and don't blink

    * Keep calm and kill the zombies

    * Keep Calm I'm the Doctor

    * Keep Calm and grow a Beard

    There's more variations every year!

    keep calm maternity tee
    keep calm maternity tee

    100% cotton mid-weight jersey maternity tee with scoop neck


    Keep Calm and Carry On - while the bump gets bigger - Maternity RT shirt

    For ladies with a bump, this is a maternity T shirt designed to allow you and your bump to stretch

    Keep calm and phone a friend
    Keep calm and phone a friend

    Keep Calm and Carry On - and "Phone a Friend"

    Keep Calm and Carry On - Red iPhone 4 or 4s Cover, Cell Phone Case
    Keep Calm and Carry On - Red iPhone 4 or 4s Cover, Cell Phone Case

    * Protective case for iPhone

    * Fits iPhone 4 and 4s models

    * Slim fit snap-on case allows easy access to all buttons, controls and ports. Maintains a slim profile, covering the back and corners of the phone.

    * Shock absorbent


    Parody #1 - Now Panic and Freak Out!

    Keep Calm and Carry On is all very well, but life just isn't that simple. Parodies of the poster, with similar type but changing the phrase or the logo have also been developed

    Now Panic and Freak Out has become the mantra for the worriers of the world! It's time to panic.

    Parody #2 - Keep Calm and have a Cup Cake

    Life's a batch - eat cupcakes!

    This little compendium is a cookbook for comfort

    Parody #3 - Keep Calm and Go Shopping!

    Other parodies have sought to highlight other ways in which people keep calm - shopping is always a good one. Nowadays we don't even have to leave the house - just pick up the phone and let your fingers do the walking!

    Parody #4 - Keep Calm and eat chocolate! - you know chocolate is good for you...... ;)

    You know it does you good!

    PS I discovered recently it's also scientifically proven to help you stop coughing

    Parody #5 - Keep Calm and Carry Yarn

    Women who knit always need a reliable tote bag.

    POLL: 10 Parodies of Keep Calm and Carry On - what's your favourite?

    There have been many parodies of Keep Calm and Carry On - some of which are a bit too close to the edge to publish here.

    However here's 10 of the top examples - which is your favourite?

    What's your favourite parody of Keep Calm and Carry On?

    See results

    Comments and Feedback - comments are welcome - but please do not spam

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      • profile image

        Churchill47 4 years ago

        Interesting lens here.

      • MayaIxchel profile image

        MayaIxchel 4 years ago

        Very interesting history, thank you for sharing! Greetings from 'the land of eternal spring'!

      • Thankfultw profile image

        Thankfultw 4 years ago

        I've never seen the "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn." It is definitely my favorite. Fun lens.

      • Rosaquid profile image

        Rosaquid 4 years ago

        We had a box of band-aids with this theme. I didn't know the history of it. Thanks for the lens!

      • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

        squid-pinkchic18 4 years ago

        I love the 'Keep Calm and Buy Shoes' - I need that poster!

      • Cari Kay 11 profile image

        Kay 4 years ago

        Keep calm and have a cupcake. Love that!

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        Keep Calm. I've never found calm so how can I keep it?

      • entertainmentev profile image

        entertainmentev 5 years ago

        I just received an adorable tote with "Keep Calm and Carry On." It truly helps while grocery shopping in the city. :)

      • Stacy Birch profile image

        Stacy Birch 5 years ago

        I normally go with the another British saying Don't Panic, but this is great too, nice lens.

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        TravelingRae 5 years ago

        My favourite parody wasn't included in your pole: keep calm and drink beer!

      • profile image

        WhitePineLane 6 years ago

        There's another version used (and sold) by the website for genealogists, Theirs is: "Keep Calm and Cite Your Sources" - a great motto for all researchers! Fun lens, Katherine!

      • profile image

        anonymous 6 years ago

        I've been seeing this imagery all over the place lately. Now I know the real story behind it, thanks to your lens!

      • hotbrain profile image

        hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

        Excellent lens. Squidoo Angel blessed.

      • eccles1 profile image

        eccles1 6 years ago

        "Keep Calm and Carry On". this is for me !

      • oneskms profile image

        oneskms 6 years ago

        Great to think that these were in case of a national disaster happening during the war !

        What could be more of a disaster than the war, I wasn't there but no doubt the grit of the people back then would have warmed to these as it seems people are now doing

      • LoKackl profile image

        LoKackl 6 years ago

        I guess the Irish version is "Press on, regardless," which is what my friend from Dublin says sometimes. He was in a course at Trinity College whose professor repeated this "suggestion" often. SquidAngel blessed.

      • profile image

        anonymous 6 years ago

        Interesting story about this phrase and it's growth of popularity. Now I'm off to have a cupcake...that keeps me pretty calm.

      • indigoj profile image

        Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

        Hmm, I think I'm going to Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake... definitely like that one! Clever idea for a lens and I loved seeing all those parodies.

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