On the buses

Last week, Mr Crownfolio and I scored that increasingly rare thing, a bargain on eBay.  Although this did involve us chancing a reasonably large sum of money on what was described as

a lot of old railway posters that i got when i was turning out my grandparents old house they are at a ruff guess about 25 plus

along with a picture that didn’t give a lot away.

lot of posters on eBay

A bit of additional description says that there were some half-page posters as well as some full page ones, but we had no idea what would turn up.  Well apart from this, of course.

Llandudno tourist information poster 1950s vintage seaside

And the knowledge that at least some of the posters would have tatty edges.

Fortunately we weren’t disappointed.  As a starter, this Alan Durman on its own would have been quite enough to keep us happy.

Alan Durman butlins poster for coaches 1950s vintage classic

Fortunately there were more goodies even than that.

Vintage coach poster Llandudno

But what I don’t think we’ve ended up with  is a set of railway posters.  The Butlins one does say ‘Travel by Train’ at the bottom, but there’s no British Railways logo or anything.  More importantly, they’re all 20″ x 30″, so standard advertising display size, Double Crown,  rather than British Railways standard display size of 40″ x 25″ or Double Royal.  To prove my point, here is the Alan Durman Butlins poster as a Double Royal with the British Railways logo on.

Alan Durman vintage british railways Butlins poster 1950s bathing beauty

I don’t think I will be complaining about the misdescription though.  Because Double Crown wasn’t just the preserve of commercial advertisers.  The other big advertisers who used it as standard were the coach companies, and that’s what I think we’ve got here, a batch of coach posters.  Which isn’t a very difficult deduction to make looking at a set of posters like these.

Vintage Coach poster for Bridlington

Vintage coach poster brighton and hove 1950s

Vintage coach poster wye valley lander

The bottom one is by Lander and is I think particularly nice.  If you needed any more persuading, this one even says coach on it, with a handy picture too.

Vintage coach poster isle of man

That seems pretty certain then.  Even better, there are some good posters amongst the lot, not least of which is this Daphne Padden.

Daphne Padden vintage coach poster scarborough

There are also some artists I’ve not come across before.  These two posters are signed Greene.

Vintave coach poster morecambe greene 1950s

Vintage coach poster colwyn bay greene

I think this is John Greene, quite possibly working with his wife Margaret too.  But I’m not going to go off on a research digression for once, they can wait for another day.  Meanwhile one of my favourites isn’t signed at all.

Vintage coach poster portsmouth navy days

There are few more as well, and among them a set of these oddities.

Bus destination poster, vintage 1950s

Mr Crownfolio reckons that these must have been put up by the various stops at bus stations so that people knew they were getting on the right coach.  But if there’s a transport historian out there with a better theory, do let me know.

Now we just need to decide what to do with a whole heap of posters with a lot of blank space on.  Perhaps we’ll frame them on magnetic backing and use them as notice boards.  Even then, we’ve probably still got quite a lot…


  • Is Navy Days a Harry Stevens, do you think? The Scarborough Padden is lovely, but for me Brighton & Hove takes the biscuit. What fine vintage lettering! What beautiful cast iron trellising & curlicules! That onion dome! It looks a little tatty sadly … should you decide it does not meet your high condition standards, do lob it this way!

    Is that a signature there on the middle left edge of the picture area?

  • Could be, but I can’t find even a trace of a signature on it anwhere. Unlike Brighton or Hove, which like the Wye Valley is by Lander, although a bit different to the usual run of his stuff. It’s a shame that’s one of the most battered ones, because it is great, isn’t it. And while I think you might be a bit over-optimistic about our condition standards (really, we have some right old tatty things) I shall consult Mr Crownfolio as to its fate…

  • wow! a proper trove – the british poster community bows to your ebay hunting prowess! Even the kids in shorditch would love the llandudno composition – the playfulness and composition very much resonates for some modern screen prints for gigs I have seen recently.

  • And a proper trove is a rare thing these days. I agree about Llandudno – I think the time has very much come for quite a few of these designs. At least I hope it has…

  • Aha! I thought that was Mr. Lander’s signature that I espied on the Brighton poster! Really, you would never guess on stylistic grounds. You have to hand it to the man, he was incredibly versatile (as he no doubt needed to be) throughout his long career. And I collect him … as do you … so, I won’t hold my breath re the poster’s fate (but will hope a bit), and thankyou for thinking of me …

  • Right now I am up to my eyeballs in Life generally and half our posters are in storage. But when we do have another selling phase, I will definitely think of you, I promise!

  • Aah! I remember seeing those posters on ebay and then forgetting to have a late bid! Wish I had now as those Butlin’s posters are lovely. I bought a batch of similarly scruffy railway posters on ebay too which were mainly junk but included a couple of Landers and a rather nice V.L. Danvers 1930’s style image of New Milton, Hampshire. Also bought a selection of old ROSPA posters the other day including a Leonard Woy “Liontamer” and other works including F. Kenwood Giles, Leonard Cusden, F. Blake and G. Parkinson. I love buying these classic old posters but just wish I had a means of dispalying them!

  • I saw the New Milton one go for a reasonable amount at auction the other day, so that in itself is a bit of a bargain (there’s also one going on eBay for a daft price too). Which LAnders were they?

    And I am very envious of the Woy. If you ever decide you might want to swap it for the Butlins, do let me know.

  • Hi there. Drop me a line at my email address and I’ll send you some pictures of the Woy poster. How much did the New Milton poster go for by the way? Mine has a corner missing but otherwise pretty good. The Landers posters were one advertising rail trips to Canterbury Cathedral and another extolling the virtues of labelling luggage correctly!

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