I usually watch the BBC4 TVs documentaries about railways and steam trains. In amongst the old photographs and film footage, you can usually see a bit of how posters were displayed on the platform and around the station. That’s especially interesting to me.
It’s clear that no sensible person would go around filming or photographing poster displays. Luckily, steam trains are much more photogenic and interesting for most people. So, there are lots of films and photos of station platforms, with their poster displays in the background. Quite apart from the mechanical beauty on show, there is all the romance and feeling of adventure and departure.
You can imagine my excitement when I saw this yesterday…
If you look carefully, the poster, second from right, looks interesting. It’s a railway platform safety poster by Tom Eckersley. It shows how someone could be knocked over or injured by people opening the doors of the train as it comes into the station.
Obviously, this kind of image and message has disappeared nowadays. The doors on trains are controlled automatically and you can’t jump of the train before it stops.
I recognised the poster, because it’s included in my book, Modern British Posters.
It’s always interesting to see the historical context of poster display. This poster is from the very early 1960s. You get a real sense of how different and exciting this kind of graphic communication could be – on a railway platform in rural Wales.
You see some terrific advertising in the backgrounds of early Hitchcock films – often associated with railway stations and esacape.