London Chatham and Dover Railway Railway Luggage Labels

by Mike Morant
The LCDR's early efforts in the labels field produced some of the largest labels of the period but that was followed by easily the smallest of all pre-grouping labels as will be seen below.

This section on the LCDR points out some oddities in the RPS's guide to pre-grouping luggage labels. That rightfully respected publication, 25 years old now, contains the odd minor glitch here and there but the LCDR section has more than its fair share. In fact, probably as many as in the rest of the guide put together. the earliest labels are described as being on blue paper which is clearly correct as shown below but note is made further on of both colour definition aberrations and a label type mix up.

L51-1_bekesbourne This and the following example are believed to be the earliest luggage labels to have been produced by the LCDR. All the early labels are of similar size and format to those from the LBSCR's earliest attempts.
Similar to the example to Bekesbourne shown above but with the company's title in lower case text is this example to Shepherd's W(ell). the black frame is a feature that was commonly used by the SER but seems to have been rapidly abandoned by the LCDR. L51-1_shepherds-w
L51-2_dover-priory Also of the early type is this solitary example on pink paper to Dover Priory. The crudity of the title text suggestd that it might be the earliest of the three shown here and note also the use of an ampersand instead of 'and'.
Only the one example of the LCDR's interest in affairs across the Thames has survived in the form of this pristine white paper specimen to Harwich via the long-forgotten Gravesend Pier. This label is also notable for the use of a 'From' line which seems never to have been a common feature on its labels although further examples are shown below. L53_harwich
L56_chatham L56_rochestr=bdg There's more on label colour in the next paragraph

The Chatham label is fairly commonly available but the Rochest'r Bdg example is included both because of it's rarity  - 1892 - 1905 -  and to display the standard colour for this type of label

Mention was made above of colour definitions in the RPS guide. The type of label shown here is described as blue which, in the case of the Chatham example, is obviously true. However, that is the only one of this type I've come across that is that colour! Most of the rest are typified by the example to Rochest'r Bdg and that matches turquoise precisely in the Stanley Gibbons colour guide.
Also in this standard format are white labels to Walmer & Deal for which no example is currently avalable and the unique pink label to Sevenoaks (TUB'S HILL).

But that isn't quite all . . . .

L56_walmer_or_deal L58_sevenoaks_tubs-hill
L56_blackheath-hill L56_sheerness-on-sea Blackheath Hill, another shortlived destination, is printed on a rich green, almost emerald, paper whilst the yellow example to Sheerness-on-Sea on yellow paper is a new discovery since the RPS guide was written 25 years or more ago. The paper is definitely yellow and not, as is often the case, faded white.
The guide to LCDR labels differentiates between certain colours but not other obviously different formats and inexplicably lumps together the 'standard' type with a quite different design which is in complete contrast to the way that the type designations are managed for other railways. L56_sittingbourne Luggage_label_L57_deal
This other format (or type) has a blank 'From' line above the destination. The Sittingbourne example shown above is on typically bright turquoise paper whilst the Deal example is on bright white paper albeit slightly grubby in this instance.
L59_beckenham-hill Only one destination, Beckenham Hill, has ever come to light for this oddly proprtioned type of label and it's often in poor condition due to desiccation. This example is in better condition than most as at least the corners are all intact.
These two similar labels to Crystal Palace (High Level) & Upper Norwood suggest a period shortly before the two railways amalgamated in 1899. Of interest is the fact that Denmark Hill was a LBSCR station at which the LCDR had running rights. S76-2_blank_crystal-palace S76-2_denmark-hill_crystal-palace

Routing Labels

L5x-routing_LSWR_via-kensington Until I was permitted to scan these labels I had no idea that LCDR routing labels had survived. As can be seen here the proportions are very similar to the earliest luggage labels and almost certainly originate from the same era. Interestingly, there is no railway title line.
L56_blackheath-hill L56_sheerness-on-sea L56_sheerness-on-sea
Three further examples of the LCDR's routing labels with the intriguing use of the term 'Ashford Junction' on the middle one.

All photographs are copyright

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This page was created 21 November 2007

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