The Railway Poster and the Cotswolds

This is a short article which I put together for Ciren Scene magazine to put into a bit of historical context the poster designs that I create and why you won't find many original railway posters of this part of the world...

The railway poster has a history of promoting the great places of the UK throughout the early twentieth century, with the first pictorial poster created in 1905. The 1920s and 30s are considered the Golden Age of railway posters and went hand in hand with a rise in prosperity for working people and increased tourism. The GWR produced some particularly famous poster art, capitalising on its railway being the route to many popular seaside holiday destinations in the South West.

Cornwall GWR posters

At that time the Cotswolds wasn’t considered much of a place to visit or holiday, despite its towns being part of the GWR network, as it was still very much a working agricultural region. By 1934 the great writer JB Priestly called the Cotswolds the “least spoiled of all our countrysides” but it wasn’t until 1966 that the Cotswolds became recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

As a result there are virtually no original railway posters from the early twentieth century depicting the Cotswolds other than a rather generic 1949 countryside design by Paul Chater. Since then places like Cirencester, Tetbury, and Malmesbury had train stations closed as the car took over and the railway became less prominent. 

Cotswolds Railway Poster

Cotswold Poster Co aims to introduce a bit of that railway poster glamour to this beautiful area with modern takes on these travel posters, showcasing as many of our great towns and villages as possible. Now over 80 poster designs are available on the website, as well as greeting cards, Christmas cards, fridge magnets and 2022 calendars. They make good gifts for lovers of this part of the world too!

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