A collection of vintage railway posters that celebrate the golden age of the seaside package holiday have been unearthed during a house clearance. The colourful 1950s posters were discovered under a pile of knick-knacks at the back of a cupboard in a flat of an elderly couple who had passed away in Perthshire, Scotland. They include a racy image of a lady in a bikini promoting the resort of Mablethorpe, Linclonshire, and a sweet picture of a mother playing with her young child on the beach at Bognor Regis, West Sussex. The posters were produced by British Railways, with others showing Redcar, North Yorkshire, and New Milton in Hampshire where the New Porest meets the South Coast. Moving inland, there are posters showcasing Loch Awe in the Scottish Highlands, Cheltenham Spa in the Cotswolds, the Lake District and, intriguingly, Oundle School in Northants. In total eight posters will go under the hammer with auction house Lindsay Burns & Co. of Perth, where they are expected to fetch £1000.
The vendor's grandfather is believed to have taken the posters home when he worked as a clerk at Southport Railway Station in Merseyside in the 1950's. They were passed down to the elderly couple who kept hold of them until their recent deaths.
Nick Burns, auctioneer at Lindsay Burns & Co. said: "We were doing a clearance of a deceased couple's estate and in the back of the cupboard underneath some knick-knacks we found the posters. They were found folded up and the fact that they have been covered has probably helped to preserve them. The vendor's grandfather worked as a clerk at Southport Railway Station so it is likey he took them home after an advertising campaign when they were deemed surplus to requirements, otherwise they would have ended up in the bin. They date from the 1950s when going to the seaside was a popular holiday destination. They are stylish posters by famous artists of the day who were commissioned by the railway company."
The state owned British Railways operated most of the overground rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. In their early and mid 20th century heyday, seaside towns attracted scores of working class holidaymakers as travel became more affordable and factories put on day trips. However, the advent of cheap of air travel since the 1990s has made foreign getaways more accessible, prompting a decline of many seaside resorts.