The note reads:
'B/E letter to Watson Prickard Ltd 16 North John Street, L'pool Outfitters 10.12.27
Reply recd [received] 13. Dec 27 with rem[ittances] of copies & block for printing came returned to Sec[retary] of Bank by the Printers AW Duncan & Co Printers & Lithographers Fleet St[reet] Liverpool (ignorance pleaded, no name on audit).'
This matter appears to be in the hands of the Public Prosecutor as £1 Treasury notes were also involved.
Clearly Watson Prickard were trying to think of ways to share their extensive range with the public that wasn't a boring old catalogue. After all, imagery from a banknote certainly catches the eye of the consumer! But the Bank of England wasn’t tickled with the reproduction so closely resembling a banknote. I can’t imagine HM Treasury was too chuffed either, as apparently Watson Prickard also copied £1 Treasury banknotes, although we sadly don’t have examples of these in the collection. In the end, the matter was passed to the Public Prosecutor.
Now you might be saying, hang on, the advertisement was not intended as a forgery! It certainly wouldn’t convince anyone if you tried to use it in a shop. But according to the Bank at the time, it did copy enough elements of a banknote to be considered risky.
I don't know what happened next with the trial, but the company made it through this hiccup. It continued as a family business and liquidated in 2017. Regardless, what I can say is, if you are currently panicking and need a last minute gift idea, might I suggest a dumb valet or motoring gloves?
Happy holidays from all of us at the Bank of England Museum! Now go enjoy your bed jacket!