We are available to share our knowledge and expertise in the form of presentations and talks. The author Richard Furness has previously made presentations to Art Societies, local Probus clubs, specialist groups (such as RCTS or Wings and Wheels, Gloucestershire) as well as Art Departments in schools and Universities.
There is no doubt that railway posters are an integral part of this country’s social and rail development in the 20th century, but the full impact of this media on our society is only now becoming clearer. Researching this has allowed the author to gain a definitive database for railway posters and a better understanding of their impact on art and travel.
Case studies and examples of our presentations and talks: We visited the Tewkesbury Art Society and provided an hour-long presentation followed by setting the society a challenge. We commissioned the Society to produce a poster for Tewkesbury as the railway companies had never produced one. We asked them to produce a poster for the town which could be used in future for promotional purposes. We had already been in touch with the Town Clerk and the local Media were keen to be involved. The competition produced 18 entries, or a very good standard, and we handed out prizes for the top three works of art, shown below.
Alex’s picture was a watercolour, Penny’s picture a mixed media and Gwen’s an oil, so we had three very different interpretations of this historic town.
It is still amazing to us that the railways did not promote a town such as Tewkesbury, but then again, there were almost no posters for Manchester, Sheffield, Bradford, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham combined. We are therefore looking at other places where no posters were produced during the main advertising era to see if we can promote the use of art again for tourism purposes. We have no doubt that our railway stations are poorer for not having good advertising posters to adorn their walls.
We were invited to speak at the 75th Anniversary Dinner of the North Eastern Branch of the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society in Newcastle. The two pictures below show some of the audience arriving for the after-dinner presentation on Railway Posters of Britain, where examples of poster development were presented and discussed.
For the launch of the second volume (Yorkshire and the North East), we were invited to make a presentation on Posters of the North East at Hexham Abbey in Northumberland, in and around the Gloucestershire area, several societies had asked us to speak on various aspects of art and travel.
We have undertaken a number of book signings all over the country. Three have taken place at the National Railway Museum in York (www.nrm.org.uk). Below are two pictures taken by NRM Staff during the signing: the Curator kindly allowed us to display the Oxford poster by Alan Carr Linford from the National Collection, which we used for the cover of Volume 3.
We have also been keen supported of the Portishead Railway Group in their efforts to re-open the branch line from Bristol Temple Meads to Portishead. Their website (www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org.uk) gives details of huge advances made on this project over the past few years. The line closed in September 1964, but looking at the number of people commuting every day into Bristol, clogging roads and increasing emissions, it makes perfect sense to reinstate the station and track, to reduce commuting time from an average of an hour to just 17 minutes. Within the overall project, we floated the idea for new railway posters, having the local school children design these for inclusion on the station, whenever that may be built. Portishead never had posters in British Railways days, so this is an opportunity to reintroduce artwork and to re-educate commuters to change their travel habits. Many other local businesses are involved and momentum is growing by the week. North Somerset Council is a strong supporter, and the lobbying is now at Government level to ensure this very worthwhile ‘Big Society’ project goes ahead. The use of art and education is a key element to ensure Portishead again has a viable rail link to the national network.
We are more than happy to use our latest information for the advancement of knowledge in any way, and any interested parties may contact us in this regard via this website.