Rescued North East rail posters up for auction
A collection of railway posters are to be auctioned by Newcastle auctioneers Anderson & Garland and are hoped to bring up to £300 each.
Railway worker Michael Wilson went on a rescue mission as stations closed in the North East.
Michael, who lives in Blyth in Northumberland, saved a huge range of objects, many of which would have been thrown away or burned.
Now his collection of railwayana is to be sold on December 5 by Newcastle auctioneers Anderson & Garland.
It includes around 70 artwork posters from the 1960s-70s which promoted railway travel to destinations throughout the country plus rail breaks in Europe.
Mr Wilson said: “The posters were only placed on the billboards for a limited time and occasionally there was nowhere to put them at all. There was only so much space available and if there were more important items to go up the posters didn’t get used.
“When they were not required any more, they were used for wrapping stuff up, put down on the floor when it had been washed or used to light the fire.
“They weren’t looked on as anything special, they were just a piece of advertising material.”
Now the posters, which have been stored with the rest of the railway material in Mr Wilson’s loft and garage for years, are set to fetch between £50 and £300 each.
There are also posters for films and theatre shows which were displayed on station billboards, including the John Wayne movie The Alamo, and Ella Fitzgerald in concert.
Mr Wilson carried out clerical duties and jobs like ticket sales and passenger inquiries in his 38 years of service on stations from Gateshead to South Shields, Blaydon to Hexham and Sunderland. He was based at South Shields when the station closed as the line switched to the Metro service.
Mr Wilson saved items such the Ladies Waiting Room sign from the station, passenger traffic returns from the 1870s to 1940 from the back of a cupboard and a photograph of station staff from the turn of the last century.
“In the early 1980s, when they closed South Shields station before the Metro took over, anything that couldn’t be used went on a bonfire which burned for five days,” said Mr Wilson.
“I rescued a lot of the stuff which would have otherwise gone the journey. Nobody then thought it would be worth anything.”
Also in the sale is stationary from stations and stamps with the names of various stations. timetables, parcel books, and uniform items.
“I’m a hoarder – we’re war babies, you keep things just in case,” said Mr Wilson.
Anderson & Garland’s Fred Wyrley-Birch said: “Michael has built up a fantastic collection that is in absolutely amazing condition.
“It’s unbelievable that posters of this quality were just thrown away or burnt, which makes this collection even more of a rare treasure trove for people interested in the railways, period advertising or just beautiful vintage artwork.”