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We're so glad you're here and hope you'll stay a while.Martin Lloyd traces passports back over three thousand years, using illustrations from his collection of historic passports to discover how passport design was influenced by a desire to confound the forger, how it developed from the handwritten paper to the technically complex document we use today and how forgers have responded to the challenge presented by secret safeguards.This evening, I shall take you back a mere three and a half centuries.We need to think about the users of passports in the historical context of a stratified society whose influential and important members would acquire passports for travel but whose working classes would simply go where they wished without documentation.You will never look at your passport in the same light again.In this lecture, I shall show you with the aid of passports from my collection, how passport design has been influenced by a desire to confound the forger, how it developed the technically complex document we use today and how the forgers have responded to the challenges presented by secret safeguards.
I cannot tonight give you a history of the passport.In my book, The Passport, the History of Man's Most Travelled Document, I trace passports back three and a half millennia.Rulers wanted to control the activities of the powerful people in their kingdom because they represented a threat - they might go abroad and come back with an army to depose them.But the powerful and mighty people who were travelling, they, in their turn wanted some form of introduction into the right level of the society which they were visiting.
This state of affairs arose from the use to which passport systems had been put.
The lowly people, the proletariat, had no influence in the affairs of state and so were considered innocuous and not requiring to be checked.