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The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as an older child

Green shield stamps
in mid-late 20th century Britain

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Green Shield stamp posters in a window of Tesco, showing that it belonged to the Green Shield loyalty scheme which operated in the UK, sometime between 1958 and 1991.

Posters in a window of a Tesco, showing that it belonged to the Green Shield stamp scheme. Screenshot from an old film.

Green shield stamps were innovations that were rather exciting and unique in the late 1950s. I don't believe that we had ever seen anything like them before in the UK.

Green shield stamps were loyalty stamps which were given away by retailers nationally. They were not the sort of loyalty stamps for specific shops or chains of shops which have become common in various forms. They were loyalty stamps for any and every shop or chain of shops that participated in the scheme.

The number of stamps depended on the how much we spent. We stuck them into a special book and when the book was full it could be exchanged for a gift.

Green shield stamp book

Green shield stamp book, photographed in Beaulieu Motor Museum.


six green shield stamps

Sample of green shield stamps

In fact the value of each stamp was minimal, but there was something rather enticing about collecting them and sticking them into their book. So I suppose that we did tend to go to retailers who were in the scheme rather than those who were not.

As it happened, the scheme was organised from a tall newly built building in Edgware, where I grew up, although, as it started in 1958, I was already away for most of the time at University by then. The building was known as the Green Shield Tower.

I understand that the scheme formally stopped in 1991, but it seemed to peter out some years before then.

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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.