Busy making all kind of cigarettes boxes, I am also busy making the artwork for the “Wild Woodbine” cigarettes.

W.D. & H.O. Wills introduced, in 1888, one of the most famous cigarette brands in the UK –  “Wild Woodbines” – at a price of 5 for 1d. W.D. & H.O. Wills was a British tobacco importer and cigarette manufacturer formed in Bristol, England. It was one of the founding companies of Imperial Tobacco. The brand was popular in the early 20th century, especially with soldiers during World War I and World War II. Wild Woodbines came in three different packs, 5 cigarettes, 10 cigarettes and 20 cigarettes.

Original Wild Woodbine cigarettes pack

Here you see a pack of 10 “Wild Woodbine” cigarettes in the standard pale green coloured and russet pack as issued from 1888. Front of pack is decorated with Arts and Crafts motifs and the maker’s name, printed in navy-blue gold and orange colour. The words “WILD WOODBINE” CIGARETTES is printed diagonally on the front of the pack.

On the reverse of the packet the following inscription is printed using the same colour palette ‘ANTWERP INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION 1885, GRAND DIPLOMA OF HONOUR (HIGHEST AWARD), Every Genuine Package Of ”Wild Woodbine” Cigarettes Has The Signature Thus: W.D. & H.O. Wills’.

The right side of the pack carries the registered trade mark information, while the left side carries the words “10 cigarettes”.

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Right, as I am making these packs of “Wild Woodbines” now, you can sing following song in the meantime. These reproductions packs of “Wild Woodbines” will be available in the shop a.s.a.p.

LITTLE WILLIE’S WILD WOODBINES – title as given on the sheet music.
Words and music by Fred J. Barnes and Robert P. Weston, 1908 – date of the sheet music as given in the British Library catalogue.
As sung by Billy Williams on Edison Blue Amberol cylinder 23027, 1913.

Little Billy Williams found a penny in the garden
One fine summer’s day.
And as little Billy’d never had more than a farthin’,
He said, “Hip hip hooray!”
Then passing a tobacconist’s where cigarettes were sold,
There he beheld some little packets colored green and gold.
Billy said, “Although I’m only six, I’ll be a sport.”
He toddled in the ‘bacco shop and this is what he bought:

Five little fags in a dainty little packet,
Five cigarettes that cost one d,
Five little pains underneath his jacket,
Five wobbles in his little Mary,
Five little whiffs, five little jiffs,
As he lay upon the tramway-lines,
Wishin’ he could touch the cable,
Looking greener than the label
Of little Billy’s Wild Woodbines.

When Billy puffed the first one he said, “This don’t seem a good ‘un,
But the next might be all right.”
And when he lit the second, he said, “Wish I’d bought plum puddin’,
Or else a paper kite.”
“Why, I never thought the world went round,” he murmured at the third,
“But now I’ve seen it dancing, I can take my teacher’s word.”
Then at the fourth, he felt so bad he hiccuped with a frown:
“Smoke ain’t so nice a-coming up as when it’s going down.”

So five little fags in a dainty little packet,
Five cigarettes that cost one d,
Five little pains underneath his jacket,
Five wobbles in his little Mary,
Five little whiffs, five little jiffs,
As he lay upon the tramway-lines,
Sadly saying, “Close the shutter.
Willie’s dead but do not utter
A word of Billy’s Wild Woodbines.”

Little Billy Williams he lay flatter than a flounder,
Full of misery.
Suddenly along the road came PC Binns(?) the bounder.
“What’s up here?” said he.
Then lighting his bulls-eye he disclosed the shocking fact
That Willie had been smoking right against the latest act.
He picked up all the evidence, those half-smoked Woodbines four,
And scowled as little Willie said:
“Please, sir, I’ve just one more.”

So one cigarette in a dainty little packet,
One cigarette that cost one d,
One little pain underneath his jacket,
One wobble in his little Mary,
One little whiff, one little jiff,
As he lay upon the tramway-line,
The poor kid felt like dyin’,
And the p’liceman he was cryin’,
But that copper stole his last Woodbine.