LMS Best Way Railway Poster 1928
By the 1920s, travel was popular. The upper classes travelled abroad to exotic destinations, whereas the middle classes were tempted to British holiday and seaside destinations, to enjoy the sea, sand and popular Lido's.
New Brighton Lido for LMS Bestway, by Septimus Scott
Railway companies, such as Great Western (GWR), London Midland and Scottish (LMS) and London and North Eastern (LNER) commissioned commercial artists to create bold and eye-catching posters, to persuade people to travel by rail.
East Coast Poster for LNER, by Tom Purvis, 1935
The posters were to be an advertisement, focused on delivering a clear message, using bold colours and minimum text and a clear type face.
Tom Purvis was one of the most experimental of the graphic artists, using stylised graphics and blocks of colour with an abstract edge.
Yorkshire Moors Poster for LNER, by Tom Purvis
During the War, the railway travel posters continued to promote an idyllic 'holiday' scene, with Hollywood-style perfect smiling figures having fun.
After the war, in 1948, the railways became state owned. The art used to advertise destinations, became more conservative, moving away from the abstract designs of the pre-war era, to traditional landscapes, promising health and happiness for families.
Butlins, Clacton-on-Sea by J Greenup 1940
Today, original posters from the 1920s and 1930s can command big price tags at auction. Many posters were created with a limited run, which makes them all the more rare today.