Thursday, 12 April 2018


I've just learnt a new word ... TEGESTOLOGY.

Whilst preparing this blog, I wondered if there was an official word for the art of collecting beer mats, and hey presto there is. Tegestology!!!

I have a huge selection of retro and vintage mats, a lot of them dating back to the 1950s, or possibly earlier. Most are of really famous beers and spirits, and some featuring cigarette brands which have long since disappeared.

They are fantastic to look through, and are a real social history of drinking, smoking and pub life. Alongside this the designs and slogans on each mat are another storytelling exercise in styles and tastes of different eras.

I love the idea of social and design history told through beer and fags!
I think we've all done a lot of research on this subject in our time!!

So here goes, a random jaunt through some of the mats that I plonked on the scanner today ...

Four fantastic Guinness beer mats, I think from the 1950s. Guinness were always spot on with their iconic advertising, so it's no surprise their mats look great as well. 

These are mats featuring famous brands of cigarettes, with the likes of Wills's Gold Flakes and Craven A all now long gone.

Double Diamonds from the 50s to the 70s. Note the unusual shaped one top right.

Brilliantly clear and simple designs for Martini.

In contrast to Martini, Whiteways Devon Cyder has a distinctively ye olde, rural feel.

Another classy set of mats, with a real Pop Art look to them.

Differing styles on these, from country yokels, great 50s typography and a devilish looking apple!

I love this idea by the brewers Higson from Liverpool. They've used well-known local names and places and turned them into characters, with great cartoons and clever puns. Check out the obvious Penny Lane, but also Ann Field, Wallace E. Tunnel and Count Erode!

Here are some from different drinks, showing the range of styles used. Red and black does seem popular doesn't it?!

And more, again showing some great 50s styling. Looking at the Gilbey's mat, it looks like it has a Fougasse illustration on it!

To finish with, check out these brilliantly cheesy 70s and early 80s Babycham mats above!!

And now compare them with simpler and cuter early ones below, what a difference!

If this has tempted you to getting into the world of Tegestology, then lucky you!
Because I'll have all these mats on my stall at this Saturday's EXETER FLEA MARKET at Exeter Livestock Centre. It starts before the pubs open, at 7-30am!!

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