As a gift to myself for completing my PhD, I bought a collection of 1980s badges from eBay. They all came from one collector, whose interests mixed political activism and local heritage preservation in the Northamptonshire area. I rather like theming my lapels to what I’m reading or teaching on a particular day (or to match conference themes). They are interesting historical ephemera in themselves and are worth a closer look. These are the Milton Keynes related ones, of which there were quite a few.
These are the two I wear the most. I am not sure what the Milton Keynes Peace Campaign specifically referred to – whether it was a local CND branch or part of a specific local campaign. If I ever manage to get back to the very excellent Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre Archives, I hope to find out more about this group.
The NHS badge was issued by the National Union of Public Employees, so it must date from before that union merged into UNISON in 1993. Judging from the other badges this collector had, this looks to be from the later 1980s, possibly the final term of the Thatcher government. Milton Keynes’ hospital had opened by that stage but I don’t know if the badge was tied to any specific campaigning there.
This “Go! to Milton Keynes” badge is from a 1982 event, though not one I’m familiar with. I can’t date this recycling one, but I love the graphics on the logo.
This Library badge is from 1991, and refers to the Grade II listed Milton Keynes Central Library’s 10th anniversary. I’m not sure if this elephant mascot had a name, but it was clearly a fan of red balloons.
This CMK badge is a favourite as the Shopping Building is not just an important part of the town’s history, I also have a great personal affection for it. InterAction community art organisation has been part of Milton Keynes’ fantastically participatory art culture since the 1970s, though I think this badge is from the late 1980s. Its headquarters in Peartree Bridge are adjacent to Bill Billings’ gigantic concrete triceratops sculpture.
I’m hoping to purchase another lot from this seller eventually – they are fascinating pieces of ephemera (which double as wearable teaching aids!)