Posts Tagged ‘Luggage Labels’

Luggage Labels

September 28, 2014

Once upon a time you could take parcels to a railway station and pay your money and get them delivered. It may be that you needed to send luggage in advance, if going on holiday or maybe you had a product of some kind and needed it delivered.

At the station, somebody would paste a label on your luggage which named the destination station. Your luggage could be loaded into the guard’s compartment of a passenger train and the guard would ensure it made its way to the destination station.

As a train spotter in the early 60s, I collected these luggage labels. A brave boy (that was me) could go to a ticket office and just ask. If luck was in, you’d be given a whole wad of different labels. And they’d be labels with history; labels printed by long gone railway companies; labels, in some cases with aspects of design, or just destination stations which made them interesting.

Here’s a selection of my Southern Railway labels.


These labels have a month and year of printing on them so the oldest is the Norwood Junction one which dates from 1926. But let’s draw particular attention to the Sidley label.


This one dates from 1927 but Sidley was of interest. It was the local station for my dad when he was a lad and is on the Bexhill West branch. One of my first posts on this blog was about that line and it remains my most viewed individual page. You can click here to read it.

I like the label for Parkstone.


This is nearly twenty years newer than the Sidley one and uses what I call the Southern Electric font for the company name. Mind you, I don’t think electric trains reached Parkstone which is between Bournemouth and Poole until 1988!

A mention for Crawley which was my home town for most of my childhood.


I have literally hundreds of these labels – all were free to me and there will be other folks the same. They don’t have cash value but they do remind me of a time when the railways offered more services than they do now,

Stations no more

July 24, 2013

As a kid train spotter in the early 60s, I used to visit stations and beg old luggage labels. They were of no great value – and still aren’t. They were just little slips of paper glued on to parcels so that the destination station could easily be seen.

Back in the 1960s, some of them, recognisably, dated back to the nineteenth century but today’s little collection all date from between 1923 and 1948 and were for luggage heading for stations now long since closed.


We start with Bude, a small seaside town in Cornwall. Bude was at the end of a long branch line which opened in 1898. It closed in 1966 and residents of Bude now find themselves all but 70 miles from a railway station.


Ludgershall is in Wiltshire. It was on the old Midland and South Western line which linked Andover in Hampshire with the Cheltenham area. The line opened in stretches at various times up to 1898. It was closed in 1961 (before Beeching). But the bit from Andover to Ludgershall is still there and may still receive some military traffic.


Semley is also in Wiltshire. It was on the main line, west from Salisbury and heading for Gillingham and Exeter (and just possible Bude). Semley opened in 1859 and closed in 1966 but trains still rush through the old station site as they travel between London and Exeter.


Waldron was on a line in East Sussex which was known as The Cuckoo Line. This ran between Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne. The line and station date from 1880. Passenger services were axed in 1965 but the line remained open for freight until 1968. The station had numerous changes of name. From 1953 until the end it was called Horam.

This one is of special interest to me for Waldron was a village where my forebears lived.

And finally…


West Pennard – it was a station on the old Somerset and Dorset line’s Highbridge branch. It opened in 1862 and survived until total line closure in 1966.

Just thinking about some of these places can bring back the sights, sounds and smells of a steam railway and the tickets remind me of the joy and innocence of a youthful train spotter

Luggage Labels from Horsted Keynes – 1961

October 27, 2012

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.