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‘The public are requested to refrain from spitting in this building'

Consumption, or tuberculosis as it is most commonly known, was one of the UK’s biggest killers in the early 20th century. The disease, which is passed by sneezing, coughing and spitting, could spread quickly through workplaces. To limit the transmission as much as possible, Royal Mail placed signs, such as this one, throughout its offices. The white, enamelled metal sign with black lettering states: 'Prevention of Consumption/ - /The public are requested/ to refrain from spitting/ in this building/ By order of the/ Postmaster General'.