GWR postcards


The first GWR postcards



South Eastern and Chatham and Dover Railway
Bank of England

Bank of England back
Franked 'Beckenham NO 9 00'

South Eastern and Chatham and Dover Railway
Bank of England

Bank of England back
Franked 'Beckenham NO 9 00'
It is believed that the Great Western Railway first started to sell postcards in 1898. This was a limited set of nine views of London landmarks which took the form of a vignette with space left for a message on the front. The name of the railway company and the image title were printed on the front of the card, and down the left edge was printed Picture Postcard Co. Ltd., 6 Draper's Gardens, London, E.C.. The back was left plain for the address as divided backs were not to be allowed by the Post Office until 1902. The cards were 5½"x3⅜" and printed by the short-lived Picture Postcard Company Co. Ltd. of London which is thought to have only operated between 1898 and early 1901. It would appear that they produced similar cards for other railway companies and we have found one printed for the South Eastern and Chatham and Dover Railway for our collection. This card has the title Bank of England which is the same as one produced for the GWR so it seems possible that, other than the company name, it could have been identical to the GWR version.

Kenilworth Castle.
WARWICK.
To Paddington in 2½hrs.

View from Magdalen Tower.
OXFORD.
To Paddington in 1hr. 20 mins.
To Birmingham in 1hr. 18 mins.

Kenilworth Castle.
WARWICK.
To Paddington in 2½hrs.


View from Magdalen Tower.
OXFORD.
To Paddington in 1hr. 20 mins.
To Birmingham in 1hr. 18 mins.

This company went on to produce a second series of at least eighty different views for the GWR. These cards were slightly smaller in size, being 5"x3⅛", and carried a half tone image surrounded by a decorative frame in either dark or light blue, travel information, space for a message, and the railway company title. Along the bottom left edge was printed Picture Postcard Co. Ltd., 6 Draper's Gardens, London, E.C.. They also carry P.G.B. at the bottom right, although it is not known what this might refer to.

Cards in this second series were probably sold in sets of six and were certainly available from postcard machines at principal stations. Several reference books suggest this second series of cards was produced from 1899, but the example shown first bears a hand written message dated 1898, although the month is indistinct and the stamp with the date franking has been removed. The second example was posted to Woodstock in 1902 and the caption places Oxford as being almost exactly midway between Paddington and Birmingham.This company is known to have printed cards of an almost identical style as this second series for the Joint South Western and Brighton Railway, and very similar ones for the Cambrian Railway.

Raphael Tuck cards

In 1904 it was announced in the January edition of the Great Western Railway Magazine that a new set of postcards was soon to be published. In that March the GWR issued a set of 25 collotype cards printed by Raphael Tuck and Sons whose company device, an easel and palette, was printed in the space for the stamp. These cards were produced with the split back which was now being allowed by the Post Office and were 5½"x3½" in size. The June issue of the magazine carried illustrations of five of these cards, being numbers 1,2,12,15 and 16. Cards in this set were printed in three different colours, blue, grey and finally in sepia. They could be bought from automatic machines at two for 1d, or one pre-stamped for 1d. In the October a second set of cards from the same printer was published and marked as being 'Series 2'. This led to this, their first set, being republished in sepia with a few minor changes as 'Series 1', presumably to distinguish the cards from those in the new series.

Shown below are cards in our collection which orignate from those first three printings. For a complete list of titles reference may be made to our full set of series 1 cards.

Blue cards

How our forefathers travelled in the !Forties!
10 - How our forefathers travelled in the !Forties!

Great Western Viaduct Ivybridge, Plymouth
17 - Great Western Viaduct Ivybridge, near Plymouth

Grey cards

Latest Type Great Western Goods Engine
7 - Latest Type Great Western Goods Engine

Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol
8 - Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol

The Great Western Railway Bridge Maidenhead
13 - The Great Western Railway Bridge Maidenhead

The Great Western Royal Train
14 - The Great Western Royal Train

Great Western Railway Bridge, Saltash, built 1859
16 - Great Western Railway Bridge, Saltash, built 1859

Beautiful Berwyn
18 - Beautiful Berwyn

Great Western Railway Bridge over the Severn, Arley
22 - Great Western Railway
Bridge over the Severn, Arley
Great Western Viaduct, Pontcysyllte, near Ruabon
23 - Great Western Viaduct, Pontcysyllte
near Ruabon
The Lion Rock, Cheddar
24 - The Lion Rock, Cheddar

Sepia cards

Great Western Express Passenger Engine 'City of Bath'
2 - Great Western Express Passenger Engine
"City of Bath"
Great Western Railway Bridge, Saltash, built 1859
16 - Great Western Railway Bridge, Saltash, built 1859

Earlier plain postcard back
Early Raphael Tuck postcard plain back

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