Railway Trades Union Banner


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Railway Trades Union Banner

I love these banners…with their simple and sophisticated mixture of image and text, classicism and sign-writing…lots of layers there.

I’ve got a John Gorham book about trades union banners…I’ll check it out.

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Railway Pub Sign

Here is a pub sign from Folkestone…I think I’ll start keeping a record of railway themed pub signs when I see them…I’ve always loved pub signs for their obvious combination of image and text, and for the heraldic and sign-paintedqualities in their design.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of keeping this record before…grr

The Golden Arrow was the express service between London and Paris. The international dimension gave the whole thing a special kind of glamour. The train service passed through Folkestone…

Andrew Martin has told the story of these kinds of pre-war luxury train services. I’ve posted about his book before, here

Andrew Martin – Railway Writer

and, here

Andrew Martin – Literature and the Railway.

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Food and the Railway

I’ve posted before about the pleasures of restaurants and trains…imagine if you could get a proper meal on an actual train…it would be perfect. Here’s a picture of the panoramic dining on a US Pullman restaurant…

Sadly, this doesn’t seem to fit with the contemporary business model of the railway industry in the UK, and on-board catering services are disappearing…it looks as though GWR still provide a restaurant car on their service between London and Cornwall…although it’s prioritised for first class travellers.

And some heritage railways services have a rake of old Pullman’s where they do silver-service…

Ian Jack, has written very nicely about it, here



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Railways and Reading

From the earliest, the railway and reading went together. This was evident, in its most obvious form, in the railway bookstall. In Britain, the firm of WH Smith was launched from a bookstall, at Euston, and grew to become a nationwide high-street newsagent and wholesale newspaper distributor…

Here’s the story in more detail


That was in the 1840s. More recently, Penguin Books launched the paperback revolution, at the end of the 1930s, from a station platform.

Roy Porter has written about the 18C British Enlightenment and described the changes in reading patterns that happened as a consequence of the huge expansion of letterpress printing.

In the 19C, the railways supported a similarly dramatic change in reading habits…expanding the market for magazines and short-stories, and for dramatic news of murder, mayhem, accidents and disaster…

The thrills of ghost stories and crime fiction quickly became a staple of railway journeys…


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The Haunted Railway…

The local page of the BBC website had a small feature on Kent’s most haunted railway stations…it wasn’t that interesting, but it got me started…

If ghosts are unquiet spirits, then the railway is full of them; the railway was, until quite recently, very dangerous indeed…I’ve posted before about the issue of railway safety.

The link between the railway and the spirit is evident in the visual and aural sensation of the steam railway…vapour and whistles…and all gone, in a flash!

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Faster and Faster…the machine ensemble and accelerationsim

I’ve posted many times about the connection between speed and desire in its various forms…just google New Pamphleteer, speed, and see what comes up…

The Guardian have just published a piece about the intellectual history of Accelerationsim. You can read it, here


Here’s a link to my description of the machine-ensemble in relation to the railway system…

British Rail Design Standardisation

The counter-cultural origins of Accelerationism suggest that this philosophical position is a practical recasting of the to-hell-in-a-handcart view pf progress…it’s like accelerating into brickwall….and weirdly, bith left and right are determined to ride this creative destruction to the bitter end…

I’m a more interested in how to make this safe…I don’t want to stop it, but I want to enjoy the ride…like a big-dipper fairground ride.

Also, I am considering how this isn’t just about technology; it’s about a specific image-culture of speeding up…



I forgot that there is a short-story by local author, HG Wells, called The New Accelerator (1901). The main part of the story plays out against the backdrop of  The Leas, Folkestone’s coastal and cliff-top seafront park…

You can download a PDF of the story

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Folkestone is an Art School • Bob + Roberta Smith • 2017

The artist Patrick Brill, called Bob and Roberta Smith, will be part of the art-in-public-space festival in Folkestone during 2017.

Bob and Roberta have made a series of short films about the potential for Folkestone becoming an art school…

You can watch the films, here

Bob and Roberta Smith

Bob and Roberta have an old train set, which is used to illustrate various philosocal points about art and education and life…perfect, and just like this this site.

An art school is not really about buildings and courses; it’s about people, and mostly it’s about students. In the end, anywhere can be an art school; it’s in your head…



I’ll be posting from Folkestone later this summer…

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Andrew Martin • Jim Stringer Railway Detective • 2007

Just starting a new Jim Stringer mystery…

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“Express” • A Railway Card Game by Meccano Hornby • 1930s

Here is the box of a card game I found today…I’m not sure exactly how it works, but it looks lovely. I like the back of the cards, with the streamlined LMS engine, below

and the back of the packet has a young girl waving a hanky.

There are station views and more cards with wagons and so-on. Here are the engines

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