Rare railway poster set to reel in the readies

The Whitby rail poster up at auction
The Whitby rail poster up at auction

A RARE 1920s railway poster advertising Whitby is being placed up for auction next week.

The 40 inch by 50 inch poster, emblazoned with the words ‘Whitby, It’s Quicker By Rail’, was produced for the London and North Eastern Railway in or around 1925 by a little-known artist named K.Hauff.

Now, nearly 90 years later, it is coming up for sale on Thursday at Bloomsbury Auctions in London, where it is expected to sell for between £1,200 and £1,600.

Moments later, at the same auction, another Whitby poster – produced for the LNER in 1940 by Scarborough artist, Frank Henry Mason – is likely to sell for between £500 and £700.

Mason’s poster features the words ‘Whitby an ancient port and modern resort, It’s quicker by rail’ and his painting titled: ‘The building of the Earl of Pembroke (Captain Cook’s Endeavour) 1764.’

If Frank Henry Mason’s Whitby poster does sell for between £500 and £700 it will be for a bit more than he received for his railway posters in the 1920s and 1930s.

Between 1927 and 1929, he was on an exclusive retainer to produce posters for the LNER, which guaranteed him £350 a year.

But the LNER did generously increase this retainer, in 1930, to £450 a year.

Mason was then one of the LNER’s so-called ‘Big Five’ group of poster artists, along with Tom Purvis, Frank Newbould, Austin Cooper and Fred Taylor.

In the early and middle parts of the 20th Century comparatively few people owned cars and overseas travel was beyond the financial reach of most holidaymakers.

Railway companies commissioned artists to produce colourful, eye-catching posters of seaside resorts, beauty spots and places of historical interest in a bid to boost rail travel throughout Britain.

These posters, which once adorned railway station platforms and waiting rooms, are becoming increasingly sought-after and valuable mementoes of a gentler, bygone era.