This is a reproduction made by the Bioscope of a rather cheeky poster which appeared in Newtownards in June 1915, just a week or two after the first air raid on London.
The text reads:
ZEPPELIN AIR ATTACKS!
UNOFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PEOPLE OF NEWTOWNARDS.
It is most improbable that the Germans will ever reach this district with either their Zeppelins or Aeroplanes, but it is right to be on one's guard, so the denizens of Newtownards are hereby advised to
SEEK SAFETY BETWEEN 7 and 8-45 / 9 and 10-45
EVERY EVENING (Sundays excepted) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
No Dwelling is Bomb-Proof!
So all Homes should be vacated during above-named times and as will be obvious, it is
DANGEROUS TO BE ON THE STREETS.
TO ENSURE SAFETY
And at the same time to pass the trying hours between 7 and 11, the people of the 'Ards are cordially invited to spend each evening at the
Only BOMB-PROOF BUILDING in TOWN
(THE PALACE, FRANCES ST.), where the management are continuing to provide comfort, amusement and safety, at the old prices of admission. During week commencing June 14th, there will be screened by
A POWERFUL PROJECTOR
Three sterling programmes, including Six Reels of Keystone Comics (two subjects each two days).
Laugh not at the improbability of attack, and remember that not only your
But your Enjoyment is
Why was it cheeky? Because it mimicked the form and, to some extent, the content of official warning notices like this one from Hereford a few months earlier:
Could the Newtownards poster have alarmed any passers-by who didn't look at it closely enough? The Bioscope didn't seem particularly worried:
The Zeppelin danger has been adopted by many enterprising publicity men as a basis for topical advertising. From the numerous examples sent in to us by various correspondents we select for reproduction the following effective bill from The Palace, Frances Street, Newtownards. As Newtownards is well out of the danger zone, the poster is quite free from any suggestion of unwise or painful scaremongering. The original is well displayed in two colours.
Indeed, as Newtownards is in County Down, on the other side of the Irish Sea from London and everywhere else in the British Isles that suffered an air raid during the First World War, it doesn't seem likely that there would have been any particular concern at this enterprising example of cinema advertising. Then again, it was less than two and a half years since a German airship at Newport, County Mayo had seem plausible, so who knows?
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