'Ban the Bomb'
The first British H-bomb tests were planned for spring 1957 at Christmas Island in the Pacific.
By 1958 the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was born. Such notables as J.B. Priestly,
Sir Betrand Russell, Sir Julian Huxley and of course Michael Foot were amongst the founding
The now famous CND symbol was first used at the Easter 1958 Aldermaston march.
easter 2008 anniversary march to be held on easter monday - click here for details.
This symbol was designed by Gerald Holtom, a prfessional artist and member of Twickenham
CND. It was an ingenious pictorial solution to the practical difficulty of making large banners
with the cumbersome phrase 'Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament'.
There are several ideas behind its conception.
Firstly, it is a composite of the semaphore signal for 'N' and 'D'
secondly, the central motif suggests a figure standing with his/her arms in a gesture of dispair.
This was possibly inspired by Goya's famous figure in the painting of 'The execution of Maximillian'.
The enclosing circle represents the world and the black background, eternity.
Gerald Holtom relinquished copyright on this symbol so that it could continue to be used
for appropriate causes. It is as iconic as the portrait of Che and continues to be seen today.
As a postscript
Gerald Holtom lived in Hythe Kent for the last 15 or so years of his life and is buried in
Seabrook cemetry. His famous symbol is carved on his gravestone.
Here are some items of ephemera that we have for sale in the shop....
1970's button badge
selection of 1970's and 1980's CND button badges all now sold
1980's enamelled chrome peace badges sold
Original 1970's wallpaper ( with old gummed reverse )
There is a newly published book about the origins of the Peace symbol
entitled PEACE - the biography of a symbol by Ken Kolsbun.
see BBC news link