Marchers gather in Trafalgar Square for the first march, 1958.


A lasting consequence of the first march was the famous symbol produced for the march organisers by the artist Gerald Holtom, which became CND’s own symbol and is universally recognised as the sign of peace. According to Peggy Duff, who worked for CND in its early years, the artist explained the symbol in the following way: ‘First, the semaphore for the initials ‘n’ and ‘d’. Second, the broken cross meant the death of man, the circle the unborn child. It represented the threat of nuclear weapons to all mankind, and, because this was new, the threat to the unborn child.’ Very soon thereafter, the symbol came to adorn badges, posters, leaflets, mugs, banners; and ever since has been graffitied on to walls and virtually any available flat surface all over the world.

The DAC’s leaflet for the march welcomed ‘all who are opposed on any ground to nuclear weapons, whether possessed by the British, American or Russian Governments’. It urged people to ‘walk for a weekend, a day or an hour’, and remarkably large numbers did so, despite the fact that it was the wettest Easter weekend since 1900.

What is The People’s History of CND?

To celebrate six decades of vibrant and powerful activity, this online exhibition displays photos and memories provided by our members and supporters. They selected the photos that best symbolised a significant memory from the past 60 years. The exhibition shows photos from demonstrations, vigils and blockades; significant sites, like Greenham, Molesworth, as well as photos of artefacts, like favourite badges, banners, and knitting.

The People’s History of CND homepage