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The Shelf of Shame

Written by 11 January 2012 3 Comments

I can’t believe that I’m about to admit this but for many years now I’ve been a collector of seriously ugly holiday souvenirs. My collection boasts a wide range of magnets, corkscrews, snow globes, pin badges, ash trays (despite the fact I don’t smoke), shot glasses and thimbles. Oh and if it has glitter on I’m guaranteed to buy two. The last item to enter my collection was a present from a friend; a glitter encrusted flower scented (oh yes it smells) photo frame from Hawaii. It’s proudly sitting on the desk next to me whilst I write this, filling my room with the scent of toilet cleaner aromatic Hawaiian flowers.

Why do we do it? What makes that topless man slight suggestive corkscrew so tempting in the shop when we know that in 24 hours, after the plane has landed on home turf, it’s going to be embarrassingly buried deep in the back of a draw somewhere at home?! Maybe it’s too much sun, or sangria, but I think deep down we want it to be featured on the shelf of shame!

The Shelf of Shame is a project brought to you by Lawrence+Beavan; a design consultancy owned and managed by Anthony Lawrence and Hilly Beavan. Back in the late 1990’s Anthony returned from a sojourn to Paris with a souvenir Eiffel Tower sitting on top of the world and thus started this fun & peculiar tradition of scouring the globe for fabulous tourist tat to display on The Shelf of Shame.

Today, via their site, they proudly present pictures and postcards of their most treasured finds which interestingly includes snow globes from countries that have never seen snow and a growing collection of squirrels on springs. The project is now also welcoming contributions so get those cameras out and start snapping that tat & remember to also share your pictures via the Travelettes flickr group.

Pictures; 1&2 The Telegraph and The Shelf of Shame
lorna stokes

This post was written by Lorna Stokes, part of the travelettes team from 2009 to 2013. Originally from the UK but currently based in Brussels after stints in Canada, Peru, Italy and a job for the French military, she’s always had an unquenchable thirst for exploring new places! She’s still travelling the world with her family so catch up with her adventures on Instagram & Twitter.
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  • Hil Beavan said:

    Welcome to the noble order of tat collectors! We’ve been reticent about our enthusiasm for years – though we’ve been collecting for quite some time (see About the Shelf on the website for the whole sorry tale). There was a real shelf in the staff room at our old studio, but we thought when we moved to the new open plan location that maybe it wasn’t quite the image for a design consultancy. Why we then thought putting it online was more discreet than a shelf in the office I don’t know. Anyway – glad we did – overwhelmed with the response of fellow tat-enthusiasts worldwide. Our Shelf has been described as “tat-tastic” and “hideous” which sums it all up perfectly.

  • lorna said:

    Hey Hil, thanks a lot for your comment and a little more background on the project – I love the idea of there being a physical shelf of glory, sorry I mean’t shame in your office. Looking forward to seeing what the shelf has to offer in the future weeks & months :)

  • Hil Beavan said:

    Hey Lorna – a new selection has just been published at Telegraph Travel http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/9084401/The-worlds-worst-holiday-souvenirs-part-three.html including our latest acquisition – a galleon constructed from a clog, brought back from Amsterdam just last weekend. And you will love the Beatle City snowglobe though you may not have recognised the Beatles unless we told you who they were supposed to be. The whole thing’s really taken off with loads of people joining in the fun! Loads more space on The Shelf of course!

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