Suddenly "Keep Calm and Carry on" is everywhere. Coffee mugs, T-shirts and posters. this ubiquitous little saying has suddenly sprung up everywhere and you might be one of those wondering what it means.

Well, it's not something new at all. In fact the "Keep Calm and Carry On" signs are pretty old.

Here's the story:

Keep Calm and Carry On

was a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the aftermath of widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities.[1][2] It had only limited distribution with no public display, and thus was little known. The poster was rediscovered in 2000, has been re-issued by a number of private companies, and has been used as the decorative theme for a range of products. It was believed there were only two known surviving examples of the poster outside government archives until a collection of 15 originals was brought in to the Antiques Roadshow in 2012 by the daughter of an ex-Royal Observer Corps member.

But Suddenly, It's Everywhere!

In 2000, a copy of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster was rediscovered in Barter Books, a second-hand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland, North East England. Since Crown Copyright expires on artistic works created by the British government after 50 years, the image is now in the public domain.

flickr/ ghrentor

The store's owners, Stuart and Mary Manley (above) , were thus able to reprint copies at customers' requests, as did others, inside and outside Britain. It has inspired ranges of clothing, mugs, doormats, baby clothes and other merchandise from various vendors,as well as a bookof motivational quotations.