Felixstowe: Old seaside rail posters fetch more than £8k

The Felixstowe railway poster which sold for �3365

The Felixstowe railway poster which sold for �3365 - Credit: Archant

Three rare pre-war railway posters advertising Essex and Suffolk seaside resorts in their elegant heyday have been sold for £8,413 at an auction in America.

A Felixstowe poster, produced in or around 1933 by artist John Littlejohns, fetched £3,365 at the Rare and Important Travel Posters auction at Swann Galleries in New York.

At the same auction, a Clacton poster, produced by Henry George Gawthorn in 1926, sold for £3,212 and then another Gawthorn poster, of Walton, sold for £1,836.

All three posters were commissioned by the London and North Eastern Railway, which was in business between January 1,1923, and December 31,1947, before it was nationalised on January 1, 1948, when it became part of British Railways.

Henry George Gawthorn, the Northampton-born artist who produced the Clacton and Walton posters, often featured himself in his posters and he may well be one of the smartly-dressed men sitting on deckchairs in the Clacton poster.

In the early and middle parts of the 20th Century, when comparatively few people owned cars and when overseas breaks were beyond the financial reach of most holidaymakers, railway companies commissioned artists to produce colourful, eye-catching posters advertising seaside resorts, beauty spots and places of historical interest in a bid to boost rail travel throughout Britain.

In recent years these posters,which once adorned and brightened railway station platforms and waiting rooms, have become increasingly sought-after and valuable.

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At Christie’s in London in 2009, a 1934 LNER poster by Arthur Michael and featuring the words “Felixstowe, It’s Quicker By Rail”, sold for £1,875.