Gordon Pirie
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Imperial plumage
in Cultures and caricatures of British imperial aviation
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Making the public 'airminded' was certainly part of deliberate acculturation in late imperial Britain. In view of the relatively few people who did fly on Empire services, advertising the new airway to and from Empire may have burnished imperial sympathies more than it boosted Imperial revenues. In the mid 1930s, once the Empire air routes and services had acquired better definition, Imperial's advertising increased. 'Speedbird', the name given to the new signifier of Empire aviation, appeared on posters, tickets, advertisements, luggage tags, stationery and aircraft fuselages from 1932. A lot of Imperial Airways advertising was on its own account, but the airline and the imperial spirit benefited by a considerable amount of free publicity. In the autumn of 1934, Imperial Airways and The Times banded together to mount an exhibition entitled 'Flying over the Empire'.

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