Novel and Inexpensive

Today I want to show you an archive, but it isn’t one which is chock full of images, or bringing us rare images of gorgeous graphics.  It wins a post of its own, though, simply by existing.

Holiday Haunts cover 1929 From Birmingham City Railway Collection

May I introduce you to the City of Birmingham’s Railway Collection.  They came to my attention when I was researching Holiday Haunts a few weeks ago, because they’ve put together a small online exhibition of the same name, from which all of these images come.

Winter Resorts 1930s poster

Now I’m not only pointing at them because they clearly have a rather enviable collection, which looks as if it might include posters as well as brochures and ephemera.

Plymouth Hoe Bathers from Birmingham City Railway Collection

Or because they haven’t always gone for the obvious choices in putting their exhibition together.

Camp Coaches from Birmingham

Or even because I had no idea that surfing was such a craze in 1932.

1932 surfing

I just love the fact that the collection exists at all.  5,000 books and periodicals, 20,000 pictures of trains and stations.  And, clearly, a large quantity of posters and lovely brochures too, but all owned by the City of Birmingham, and proudly displayed with their shelving numbers on the website.

What could be more brilliant or unlikely than a municipal railwayana collection?  We should campaign until every town and city in the country has one.  Until then, hurrah for the City of Birmingham and their archives.

  • Do you know any more about these railway coach camping holidays? I have been intrigued since seeing some of the posters for them. In the posters the railway coaches look as if they are in the middle of fields miles from anywhere but if so how did they get there, were they at the end of branch lines or…?

  • I think camping coaches tended to be placed in sidings at rural/coastal stations. I believe many were rounded up for maintenance at the end of each season.

  • I think mm is right there. And I thought I’d posted about Camping Coaches in something close to railway buff detail, but it appears I have not. I will rectify this in due course, although possibly when it’s not half term!

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