Rare Hastings railway poster goes to auction

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A RARE 60-year-old Hastings railway poster is set to fetch up to £1,500 at an auction next month.

The attractive period poster was produced by Hastings artist Daphne Padden for British Railways who were keen to show that Hastings was a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, which perhaps explains why the well-to-do couple on the beach are wearing overcoats.

The poster is not dated, but it is believed to have been produced either in the late 1940s (British Railways was formed on January 1948) or the early 1950s.

Now 60 years later the poster is expected to fetch between £1,000 and £1,500 at Christie’s South Kensington in London on Thursday, November 3.

But even if the poster does sell for £1,500, it still won’t be the most valuable Hastings poster.

In 2008 the same auction house also sold a 1939 Southern Railway poster featuring the words ‘Hastings and St Leonards, for your holidays on the sunny south coast’ sold for the not inconsiderable amount of £2,000.

And 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.

In the early and middle parts of the 20th century, when comparatively few people owned cars and when trips abroad were beyond the financial reach of most holidaymakers, railway companies commissioned artists to produce 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 sadly vanished era.