BBC News: Soothing words and stiff upper lips
Millions of copies of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster were printed on the eve of World War II, but never displayed. Now the message has taken on a new lease of life in our troubled peacetime. The simple five-word message is the very model of British restraint and stiff upper lip. Keep calm and carry on.
In 1939, with war against Germany looming, the Government designed three posters to steady the public’s resolve and maintain morale. These 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".
The poster has been turned into t-shirts and mugs and other products by Barter Books in Alnwick, whose owner found one of the original copies. At the time, posters were a good means of communication between government and people. I could imagine this on the side of a bus.