Vintage poster sold at auction

The railway poster which has sold at auction.
The railway poster which has sold at auction.

A rare vintage railway poster encouraging families to holiday in Thornton and Cleveleys has sold for nearly £700 at an auction in New York.

A mystery buyer snapped up the colourful poster, which was commissioned by the London Midland Scottish Railway (LMS) some time between 1923 and 1947.

Before the auction at Swann Galleries, the poster had been expected to sell for between £475 and £713. It eventually fetched £669, or $1,125.

The 40-inch by 24-inch poster, designed by artist Alfred Lambart, is emblazoned with the words Thornton and Cleveleys.

It highlights the fact that Thornton Station served the town of Cleveleys and promises ‘cheap tickets’.

The poster features a family and their pet dog relaxing on a golden litter-free beach, with an enticing unpolluted azure sea in the background.

It says an official guide for visitors and a list of apartments are available from the clerk of the local urban council.

Although the poster is not dated, the LMS was in existence for 24 years between 1923 and 1947 before it was nationalised and became part of the new British Railways on January 1, 1948.

At least five different railway posters were produced to advertise the Thornton-Cleveleys area, but the one sold at the auction is a rarity.

Even the York-based National Railway Museum, which boasts one of the finest collections of railway posters, including seven by Alfred Lambart, does not have a copy.

During the steam train era in the early and middle parts of the 20th century, such posters were seen as a way of boosting rail travel throughout Britain by encouraging families to holiday at seaside resorts at a time when comparatively few holidaymakers owned cars and overseas holidays were an expensive luxury.

In recent years, the posters, which once adorned railway station platforms and waiting rooms, have become increasingly sought-after and copies can be bought in shops like Waterstones.

Alfred Lambart, the artist responsible for the Thornton/ Cleveleys poster, was born Alfred Lambert in Darlington in 1902. But Lambert, the son of railwayman James Lambert, later changed the spelling of his surname, possibly to make it more distinctive.

He died aged 69 in December 1971, 18 months after Thornton station was closed when the line between Poulton and Fleetwood ceased to carry passengers.