Legacies: stereotypes, racism and the civil rights movement

Crocodile letter opener

Probably 1950s-1960s
Moulded plastic

Object number Oldham RH4
Unknown donor

See this object at Gallery Oldham This object may not always be on display. Please check with the venue before visiting.

Crocodile letter opener

We know that this plastic crocodile was made as a holiday souvenir because on the underside it reads ‘A present from Aberystwyth'.

The crocodile's tail has been flattened, so that it can be used to open envelopes. In the crocodile's open jaws there is a pencil attached to the head of a black person. This object, a lighthearted holiday souvenir, was made within a longstanding tradition of racist humour and shows how deeply embedded this sort of racism became in British culture.

This information was provided by curators from Gallery Oldham.