Most of the matchbox holders displayed here are of the type shown above. Now often showing signs of rust they are made of thin iron or steel with a paper decoration protected by celluloid. The materials are therefore the same that are used to make button badges. The three sided design allows the matchbox to be opened at either end and the long open side exposes the sandpaper striking edge. Being relatively easy and quick to make, matchbox holders can commemorate events which are not recorded on other souvenirs such as pottery or glass.
Edward VII Memorium 1910.
This is a match holder rather than matchbox holder. It is made of Bakelite or a similar material.
World War One 1914-1918.
The first item is a different shape to the rest and has the design applied directly onto the metal.
The flag design shown on the fifth holder has been amended on the sixth holder to welcome Italy's declaration of war on Austria-Hungary on May 23rd 1915, thus becoming an ally. Precisely dating this piece is difficult. I have been unable to find any link between General French and the phrase "The right man in the right place". It seems unlikely to refer to his time as commander of the British forces in 1915. Can it refer to the time after December 1915 when General French had become commander of the British Home Forces and would soon face the Irish Easter Rising in 1916?
The last holder has more added flags including the U.S.A. Although made for Christmas 1918 it makes no suggestion that the war is now over.
British Empire Exhibition Wembley 1924.
This match holder has an enamelled brass attachment. The same attachment probably exists as a pin badge or brooch.
Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. 1935.
Proposed 1937 Coronation Edward VIII.
1938 Empire Exhibition Scotland.
Like the Wembley holder this applied enamelled brass lion may have also been used as a pin badge.
1937 Coronation George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
World War Two 1939-1945.
The Lilli Palmer film "Beware of Pity" was released in 1946. The last holder is for a cigarette packet. Margaret Lockwood is as she appeared in "Wicked Lady" released in 1945 which also starred Patricia Roc.