Tufty returns as vintage road safety posters go on sale

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has released a new series of vintage safety posters. See some of the best here.

Colourful artwork featuring retired road safety squirrel Tufty Fluffytail – who is celebrating his 60th birthday this year – are now available to own as prints, postcards, greetings cards, mugs and fridge magnets from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).

It's the first time that vintage artwork featuring the red squirrel with his signature blue and yellow clothing has been released to the public for sale.

The 12 Tufty images are mainly from the 1960s. They feature the squirrel and many of his companions – including Policeman Badger and Willy Weasel – in a variety of road safety scenarios.

Use the slideshow controls above and right to see more of the posters.

The creatures were created by the late Elsie Mills MBE in 1953 to help communicate simple safety messages to children. Other posters portrayed them on the beach and at a bonfire party, in recognition of how Tufty branched out into other aspects of safety.

Tufty had a long and varied career in road safety. In 1961, the Tufty Club was set up as a nationwide network of local groups through which millions of children learned about road safety. At its peak, there were 24,500 registered Tufty Clubs. Tufty’s image was changed to keep up with the times in 1979 and again in 1993.

In addition to the Tufty artwork, 10 iconic safety posters dating from the 1950s-70s have also been released.

They cover a variety of safety topics including cycle safety, with a 1967 message to cyclists not to become trapped by turning traffic. For pedestrians, there is a 1970 appeal to stop, look around and listen before crossing.

A 1965 poster urges children to always do their kerb drill, while a 1964 winter safety poster (right) has the message: 'Ice and snow, mind how you go'.

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The newly released items come from a long-forgotten collection of more than 700 historical safety posters and Tufty artwork, which RoSPA staff found while clearing out an old warehouse in 2011. The RoSPA Collection features items dating from the 1930s to the 1970s.

All of the images are available to purchase in a variety of forms, from prints and canvases to mugs, fridge magnets, greetings cards and postcards. Visitors to the print-on-demand website can preview their chosen items and add messages inside greetings cards.

Among the artists behind the artwork are Gus and Leonard Cusden.

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