From the early 1950s, tens of thousands of postcards deemed offensive were destroyed as part of the government’s aggressive anti-obscenity campaign. The Tory campaign lasted for about a decade but fizzled out in the early 1960s when public attitudes to sex became more liberal and open. Nick Hiley, curator of the British Cartoon Archive, said: ‘What is interesting is that at the time the authorities thought they were a door opening into hell and a slippery slope to degradation.
‘But when you look at the postcards today, they look so innocent and people get nostalgic about them. They have quickly been redefined as art and something to celebrate and preserve.
‘These postcards were considered offensive 60 years ago, but far more risque material is now widely available via the internet. ‘Not only are many of the cards still amusing, but they represent a landmark in social and legal history.’
He added: ‘They are a vivid illustration of how our notion of obscenity has changed over time.’
The cards are among 35,000 cartoons digitised and made available free online by the British Cartoon Archive following a £150,000 grant.
The newly-digitised cartoons include work by famous cartoonists such as Mac, in the Daily Mail