GWR postcards


Individual cards and small sets


1910

A pair of black and white photographic cards was published around 1910 and, whilst not forming part of Series 6, they are very similar in appearance. The picture side follows the same style and the address side is similar but the shields are slightly bigger and the typeface used differs slightly.

The Royal Train in the photograph, taken on 20th May 1910, is in fact King Edward VII's funeral train which consisted of a brake van, ten Royal saloons and, not visible on the postcard, a guard's van.
Great Western Royal Train, Engine 'King Edward'
Great Western Royal Train, Engine “King Edward”
Royal Train postcard back
1910 photographic card back
G.W.R. Pacific Type Locomotive. 'The Great Bear'
G.W.R. Pacific Type Locomotive. “The Great Bear”
The Cornish RivieraClick or tap to see a larger image The Cornish Riviera

1913 - The Cornish Riviera

Twelve miniature lithograph posters, sold as G.W. Series No. 3, were printed by Messrs. Andrew Reid & Co of Newcastle-on-Tyne in March 1905. Several other individual poster cards were produced over the years being printed by a variety of printers but, whilst being very similar, they were not part of any series.

Published in 1913, this single card was also printed by Messrs. Andrew Reid & Co of Newcastle-on-Tyne but the poster depicted is very different to the Cornish Riviera one used in the series of 1905. On the picture side it carried the words Pictorial Poster Fac-simile., just visible at the top left, and the printer's name at the bottom right, both within the white border surrounding the poster image. The address side bore no company branding.

Whilst this card has been franked as having been posted at MAIDA HILL W.9 on 4 JAN, the year cannot be made out.

Click or tap on the poster thumbnail to see a larger image.

Glorious DevonClick or tap to see a larger image The Cornish RivieraClick or tap to see a larger image

1915 - Glorious Devon and The Cornish Riviera

A pair of coloured poster cards was published in around 1915, one advertising Glorious Devon, and the other, The Cornish Riviera. Both cards were printed by Acme Press whose name they carried in the bottom left corner of the poster image. The address side was very plain with no branding whatsoever and only the wording on the posters identified the cards as being from the Great Western Railway.

The Cornish Riviera card depicts a poster almost identical to that used on the 1913 version printed by Messrs. Andrew Reid & Co seen above, but the view of the fishing fleet is slightly less cropped. We have not been able to find any information regarding the Acme Press responsible for these cards.

The Glorious Devon card is unused, and whilst the date franking on the Cornish Riviera card is indistinct, the message is dated 6/5/18.

Click or tap on either poster thumbnail to see a larger image.


1915 - Ambulance Train

The Great Western Railway contributed to the war effort during World War 1 by building a number of special ambulance trains, as did most of the other British railway companies. These were for use both at home and in Europe. The Great Western Railway produced their trains in Swindon between 1915 and 1916, and published a set of five half tone postcards illustrating typical elements of such trains.

The postcards were sold as a set in a special packet for 3d (three pence). The packet for our set is dated 1915 but the set is believed to have been published again in 1916 and were also overprinted for correspondence purposes. Whilst the postcards themselves bore no branding or writing, other than the words 'POST CARD' on the address side, they all bore as part of their title Continental Ambulance Train - Built at G.W.R. Works, Swindon, 1915. The packet which was printed in red did additionally carry the name of the company. Four of the half tone cards were printed in a pinkish sepia, whilst that showing the whole fifteen coach train was a pale green.
Continental Ambulance Train
1 - Continental Ambulance Train
Continental Ambulance Train Kitchen
2 - Kitchen
Continental Ambulance Train Treatment Room
3 - Treatment Room, Pharmacy Car
Continental Ambulance Train Ward Car
4 - Ward Car
Continental Ambulance Train Ward Car
5 - Ward Car for Sitting Patients
Continental Ambulance Train postcard back
Ambulance Train postcard back
Continental Ambulance Train set packet
Original packet

1923 - G.W.R. Express Passenger Engine

Originally published by the Locomotive Publishing Co. Ltd., whose name was still printed at the foot of the address side, this single full colour card was re-issued by the G.W.R. in 1923. It illustrated the engine 'Caerphilly Castle' and carried technical details of the 'Castle' class locomotives overprinted on the front but bore no G.W.R. branding. These cards seem to have been used for a variety of publicity purposes and our version is overprinted on the address side with advertising for the first three books in the 'for Boys of all ages' series together with details of the Paddington office address for mail orders and came in the box with one of our 'Caerphilly Castle' jigsaw puzzles.
G.W.R. Express Passenger Engine
G.W.R. Express Passenger Engine
G.W.R. Express Passenger Engine postacrd back
Express Passenger Engine postcard back

1923 - Sunny Falmouth

Several individual poster cards were produced over the years being printed by a variety of printers but, whilst being very similar, they were not part of any series.

Published in 1923 this single card carried the printer's name, John Waddington Ltd., Leeds and London down the centre of the address side but, other than that on the poster itself, bore no other company branding. The image on the poster, as on the original poster, is surrounded by a wide black frame containing the descriptive text. On the postcard, this is itself surrounded by a plain white border. Click or tap on either thumbnail image to see an enlarged version.

Sunny FalmouthClick or tap to see a larger image
Sunny Falmouth
Sunny Falmouth postacrd backClick or tap to see a larger image
Sunny Falmouth postcard back

1924

The first of this pair of photogravure cards was published in 1924 to publicise the new 'Castle' class of locomotive. The three locomotives illustrated were 'North Star', 'Lord of the Isles' and 'Caerphilly Castle' along with some technical notes. It is felt that this card was published to coincide with the Wembley Empire Exhibition at which the recently built 'Caerphilly Castle' was displayed on the GWR stand in the Palace of Engineering from May to October 1924. During the same period in 1925 its place was taken by 'Pendennis Castle' and the second card was possibly produced at that time. Both cards carried the twin shield and twin scroll company device on the address side, down the left side of which was printed the two lines Published by the Great Western Railway, Paddington Station, London, W.2 and Felix J. C. Pole, General Manager.
G.W.R. Locomotives, 1838-1923
G.W.R. Locomotives, 1838-1923
reproduced to the same scale
G.W.R. Locomotives postcard back
G.W.R. Locomotives postcard back

Pendennis Castle
"Pendennis Castle"

1927

This pair of photographic cards was published in 1927 to publicise the new 'King' class of locomotive. These cards carried no company device or publisher details and the type face used on the address side did vary between different editions. The card illustrating 'King George V' had this short description printed on the front Britain's most powerful passenger locomotive. Designed and built at Swindon by Mr. C. B. Collett Chief Mechanical Engineer, Great Western Railway. The multi-view card carried similar wording beneath the large image of 'King George V', "King George V." (Britain's most powerful passenger locomotive). Designed and built at Swindon by Mr. C. B. Collett Chief Mec. Engineer, G.W.R.. Technical details of the depicted engines were featured on the front of the multi-view card.
King George V
"King George V"

King George V postcard back
"King George V" postcard back

GWR locomotives
"King", "Castle" and "Star" class locomotives
and "The Great Bear"
Locomotives postcard back
Locomotives postcard back



1928 - G.W.R. Express Passenger Locomotive "King George V"

In 1928 the GWR published a book written by W. G. Chapman entitled The"King" of Railway Locomotives which contained a fold-out coloured plate depicting locomotive 6000 'King George V'. This unique large folded card, also published in 1928, used that same image together with technical specification on the inside. The outside 'back' of the card describe the attributes of the locomotives, listed the names and numbers of the twenty members of that class and detailed the trip made to America by locomotive 6000 as part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway centenary celebrations. The 'front' of the outside took the form of a standard postcard and carried the company crest of two shields each with its own scroll beneath. There was a round gummed label with which to seal the card closed for posting.
G.W.R. Express Passenger Locomotive 'King George V'
King George V postcard inside faces
G.W.R. Express Passenger Locomotive 'King George V'
King George V postcard outside faces