Isle of Wight Railway Luggage Labels

by Mike Morant
All railway luggage labels pertaining to the Isle of Wight are greatly sought after within the label collecting community and beyond. Those from the island are scarce and it's believed, anecdotally, that there were no indigenous pre-grouping labels remaining in situ by 1952.

The labels from the Isle of Wight Railway are nominally all the same size and format which latter is an unusual one being squarer than from other predecessors of the Southern railway. They are also colour coded by route although the colour definitions contained in the RPS handbook don't necessarily coincide with reality. The IoWR also had it's own nomenclature for the titles of the mainland railways for some reason known only to itself.

I41_shanklin One label colour that is indisputable is that white was used for island destinations although there is often discolouration resulting from age.

this example to Shanklin is typical of the genre.

Duplication of examples is being avoided generally within these pages but this example of an indigenous destination is included for its use of an intriguing 'Via Brading Junction. ' line under the destination. It begs the question as to what other route would be available to St. Helens! I41_st-helens
I42_clapham-junc Labels routed via the LBSCR, always referred to as South Coast Rly, are allegedly printed on yellow paper but all the examples I've personally seen look to be somewhere between gold and a rich orange as is the case with this example to CLAPHAM JUNC. However, the blank label Via South Coast Rly is indisputably bright yellow.
This example to Portsmouth Town Station is printed on exactly the same colour paper as all those to destinations on the LBSCR although, of course, this destination was jointly operated with the LSWR. I42_portsmouth-town
I43_birmingham A timely reminder that Ryde wasn't the only ferry crossing available from the east of the island. The label to Birmingham is on distinctly more orange paper and it's routing reminds us that there was a regular ferry crossing to the mainland via Stokes Bay which closed as far back as in November 1915.
Further evidence of the orange (nearly brown) paper used for destinations via Stokes Bay but this time to WOKING firmly planted in LSWR territory. I42_I43_woking
I44_vauxhall Destinations on the LSWR accessed via the Ryde to Portsmouth ferry were printed on blue paper as shown in this example to Vauxhall.
There's nearly always one type of label within a railway's assortment that breaks at least some of the rules and this is just such an example.

The title line is unique for an Isle of Wight label in that it is entirely in upper case text. The Via line states which mainland railway the luggage will be carried on and the paper colour suggests that the ferry crossing will be via Stokes Bay but that isn't actually mentioned.

The question that begs to be asked is why on earth would a label be required for luggage on an excursion in the first place as it is, by default, an out and back journey although many railways did have such labels? Large picnic hampers perhaps?


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This page was created 21 November 2007

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