Rail poster fetches double at auction

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A RARE British Rail poster inviting tourists to travel to Hastings has sold at auction for £2,750.

The 60-year-old poster fetched nearly double the sum expected when it went under the hammer at Christies last week.

Measuring 40ins by 50ins the print was created in the late 1940s or early 1950s by Surrey-based artist Daphne Padden.

Emblazoned with the words ‘The all-season sun trap Hastings and St Leonards’, the colourful design was aimed at showing how attractive Hastings was at any time of the year.

In 2008, a 1939 Southern Railway poster featuring the words ‘Hastings and St Leonards for your holidays on the sunny south coast’ sold for £2,000 at Christie’s South Kensington.

In 2005, a 1930 Hastings and St Leonards poster produced for Southern Railway by artist Alfred Cocker Leighton - showing a smartly dressed family looking down at Hastings from the cliffs - sold for £1,320.

During the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s when comparatively few people owned cars and when trips abroad were beyond the financial reach of most holidaymakers, railway companies commissioned artists to produce posters.

More often than not they were colourful, eye-catching posters of exotic-looking seaside resorts, beauty spots and places of historical interest, in a bid to boost rail travel throughout Britain.

These posters - which usually feature golden, litter-free beaches, cloudless blue skies, slim, attractive women and unpolluted azure seas - used to adorn railway station platforms and waiting rooms and are now becoming increasingly valuable mementoes of a golden era.

Leonie Pitts, of Christies London, said: “It is one of the rarest and most valuable posters of Hastings.

“We can confirm that the buyer does have an affinity with Hastings and St Leonards.”