Luggage Labels from Horsted Keynes – 1961

I mentioned, whilst writing about a 2012 picnic at Horsted Keynes that I had been there in 1961 and had obtained old luggage labels from the mainline booking office. Let’s take a look at some of those old labels.

This was a London Brighton and South Coast Railway label. Such labels measure about 1-cm by 5. They only show a destination which, I suppose, was all that really mattered. It meant a label like this could be kept at any parcels office on the L, B and S C R system, saving on the cost of needing different labels  for different host stations.

There was a big rack of these labels, all ready for the more common destinations. Less usual places that luggage was sent to would have been hand written.

The old London, Brighton and South Coast Railway existed from the 1840s until the end of 1922. These labels were, at least,  close on 40 years old when I got them. There’s a fair chance they are over 100 now.

But there were other labels too, from the Horsted Keynes office.

Here’s a special label to say, more or less, leave this package at the destination station. The railway company are not doing a delivery from there.

This one specifies no company. Excess luggage sounds like a problem of the air travel age.

And now a favourite. This one is more like 20 by 5 cm – which means it looks smaller!

I love it! I hope the Bluebell Railway have such an item, for this came from what is now a station on their line.

In 1923, the Government grouped the railways. The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway was merged with its neighbours (and rivals) to form the Southern Railway. In the first instance, it made little difference to luggage labels. One assumes these, still on the old green L, B and S C R paper, were issued to Horsted Keynes soon after 1923 – for the Southern went to smaller white labels pretty quickly.

These seem to have the same codes as the older ones. I’m going to guess the B. is for Brighton.

These labels have no great value. Similar ones on Ebay have no takers, by and large. But value doesn’t matter. It’s what they mean to me that counts.


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