Iconic Rail Travel Posters

19/02/16

Waves of nostalgia flooded through the saleroom when The Canterbury Auction Galleries dispersed Canterbury man John Hiscott's lifetime collection of iconic Kent railway posters and ephemera. 

One couple bought a poster because it showed where they lived in Switzerland when they were first married, while another is destined for the South of France to remind its purchaser of the view from the ferry as the white cliffs of Dover are left behind. 

Auctioneer Tony Pratt couldn't resist either - he purchased one to hang in the office.

The late Mr Hiscott died in June, aged 78, and the collection was sold on behalf of his family. 

The former Sun Alliance Insurance executive lived for his trains. He built a ride-on steam-driven railway around his garden, had a train set in his attic and did voluntary work with the other enthusiasts who run the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

Two Southern Railway posters shared the honours for top lot in the collection, each of which sold for £1,300, both against estimates of £750-1,000. A coloured lithograph by Verney L.Danvers, published in 1929, was titled "Folkestone - The Gem of the Kentish Coast" and showed Leas Cliff Hall and the view out to the pier and harbour arm. It was purchased appropriately by a Folkestone collector. 

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The other, titled "Canterbury by Southern Railway" was designed by Charles "Shep" Shepherd (1892-?) and showed a view of Berry Harry Tower, and Canterbury Cathedral. It is now hanging pride of place in the saleroom office. 

The poster on its way to the South of France holiday home was by Walter Thomas (1894-1971). It was published by British Rail, titled “Holidays on the Continent all the Year Round” and dated from 1930. Again, appropriately, it showed a ferry setting out across the Chanel and sold for £740.

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Destined for the same holiday home was a Southern Railway Poster titled “Paris – Cheap 17 Day Tickets – Every Monday and Saturday”, designed by Reginald G. Praill, which sold for £300.

A British Transport Railways poster, “The London Underground System”, designed by Harry Beck was purchased by a London gallery for £900. Beck devised the current Tube map of which this was an early rendition.

The same buyer paid £580 for a reprint of a poster after N. Cramer Roberts titled “Dungeness by the Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch Railway, The World’s Smallest Public Railway”, and a small number of others.

The Swiss poster titled “Electric Railway Martigny Chatelard Chamonix” showing views of the Alps, sold for £400.  

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