GWR postcards


The Great Western Railway published many postcards, both as sets or individually, for sale to the public and for correspondence purposes. Our collection holds many complete sets and other examples, but some categories of postcard contain so many different cards that it would be impossible to do other than hold a representative sample. We have developed our own list showing postcards published by the GWRClick or tap to see our postcard list
(pdf document format)
which is updated whenever new information comes to light. It should be noted that this list should not be taken as being definitive as it shows only those postcards which are either in our collection, or those which we have either seen an example of or know for certain existed.

The actual postcards can vary in size and the thumbnails on these pages should not be taken as being an indication of their actual or relative sizes

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The first GWR postcards


London views


South Eastern and Chatham and Dover Railway
Bank of England

Posted 9 November 1900

Midland Railway
Miller's Dale

Posted 30 September 1901

South Eastern and Chatham and Dover Railway
Bank of England

Posted 9 November 1900

Midland Railway
Miller's Dale

Posted 30 September 1901

It is believed that the Great Western Railway first started to sell postcards in 1898. This was a limited set of nine views of London landmarks which took the form of a vignette with space left for a message on the front. The name of the railway company and the image title were printed on the front of the card, and down the left edge was printed Picture Postcard Co. Ltd., 6 Draper's Gardens, London, E.C.. The back was left plain for the address as divided backs were not to be allowed by the Post Office until 1902. The cards were 5½"x3⅜" and printed by the short-lived Picture Postcard Company Co. Ltd. of London which is thought to have only operated between 1898 and early 1901. They produced large sets of similar cards for several other railway companies and we include two from our collection for illustration. The one printed for the South Eastern and Chatham and Dover Railway has the title Bank of England which is the same as one produced for the GWR so it seems possible that, other than the company name, it could have been identical to the GWR version.

General cards



Kenilworth Castle.
WARWICK. To Paddington in 2½hrs.

This company went on to produce a second series of at least eighty different views for the GWR. These cards were slightly smaller in size, being 5"x3⅛", and carried a half tone image surrounded by a decorative frame, travel information, space for a message, and the railway company title. Along the bottom left edge was printed Picture Postcard Co. Ltd., 6 Draper's Gardens, London, E.C.. They also carry P.G.B. at the bottom right, although it is not known what this might refer to. This company is known to have printed cards of an almost identical style to this second series for the Joint South Western and Brighton Railway, and very similar ones for the Cambrian Railway, London and South Western Railway and the Great Northern Railway amongst others.

Cards in this second series were probably sold in sets of six and were certainly available from postcard machines at principal stations. Several reference books suggest this series of cards was produced from 1899, but the example shown on the left bears a hand written message dated 1898, although the month is indistinct and the stamp with the date franking has been removed.


It is believed that six of these cards featured places of interest in Oxford, their caption placing Oxford as being almost exactly midway between Paddington and Birmingham timewise To Paddington in 1hr. 20 mins. To Birmingham in 1hr. 18 mins.. We are fortunate in having four of these cards in our collection. The other Oxford cards of which we are aware illustrate Oriel Quadrangle, and St. John’s College.


The Isis.
Posted January 21 1903

Magdalen College and Bridge.
Posted October 24 1904

Exeter College Gardens.
Posted August 22 1900

View from Magdalen Tower.
Posted July 14 1902

Raphael Tuck cards

In 1904 it was announced in the January edition of the Great Western Railway Magazine that a new set of postcards was soon to be published. In that March the GWR issued a set of 25 collotype cards printed by Raphael Tuck and Sons whose company device, an easel and palette, was printed in the space for the stamp. These cards were produced with the split back which was now being allowed by the Post Office and were 5½"x3½" in size. The June issue of the magazine carried illustrations of five of these cards, being numbers 1,2,12,15 and 16. Cards in this set were printed in three different colours, blue, grey or sepia. They could be bought from automatic machines at two for 1d, or one pre-stamped for 1d.

Shown below are cards in our collection which orignate from those first three printings. For a complete list of titles reference may be made to our full set of series 1 cards.

Blue cards

How our forefathers travelled in the !Forties!
10 - How our forefathers travelled in the !Forties!

Great Western Viaduct Ivybridge, Plymouth
17 - Great Western Viaduct Ivybridge, near Plymouth

Grey cards

Latest Type Great Western Goods Engine
7 - Latest Type Great Western Goods Engine

Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol
8 - Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol

Entrance To Great Western Tunnel<br>Twerton near Bath
9 - Entrance To Great Western Tunnel
Twerton near Bath
How our forefathers travelled in the !Forties!
10 - How our forefathers travelled in the !Forties!

The Great Western Railway Bridge Maidenhead
13 - The Great Western Railway Bridge Maidenhead

The Great Western Royal Train
14 - The Great Western Royal Train

Great Western Railway Bridge, Saltash, built 1859
16 - Great Western Railway Bridge, Saltash, built 1859

Beautiful Berwyn
18 - Beautiful Berwyn

A Charming Great Western Hotel, Tregenna Castle, St. Ives
20 - A Charming Great Western Hotel
Tregenna Castle, St. Ives
Great Western Railway Bridge over the Severn, Arley
22 - Great Western Railway
Bridge over the Severn, Arley
Great Western Viaduct, Pontcysyllte, near Ruabon
23 - Great Western Viaduct, Pontcysyllte
near Ruabon
The Lion Rock, Cheddar
24 - The Lion Rock, Cheddar

Sepia cards

Great Western Express Passenger Engine 'City of Bath'
2 - Great Western Express Passenger Engine
"City of Bath"
Great Western Station Hotel, Paddington.
5 - Great Western Station Hotel, Paddington

Great Western Railway Bridge, Saltash, built 1859
16 - Great Western Railway Bridge, Saltash, built 1859

Raphael Tuck postcard back
Raphael Tuck postcard back