Somerset & Dorset (Joint) Railway Luggage Labels
|The earliest lugage labels pertaining to the S & D were,
strictly speaking, issued by the Bristol & Exeter Railway and examples such
as one to Glastonbury exist. However, the initial incarnations of labels for
what was the embryo S & D emanated from the Somerset central, Dorset
Central and Somerset & Dorset Railways prior to the formation of the joint
operation in 1878. The author has no examples from the first two of those
railways and the B & E has, arguably no place on this SR web site. And so
we&ll start with the earliest Somerset & Dorset Railway label
||That to Axminster is the oldest type whilst the
example to Evesham is believed to have been printed in 1874/5.
The first label type to use the word 'Joint' in the title was almost
identical to the Evesham example and the author will add an illustration
thereof as and when one becomes available.
|We now progress to the era when the title
becomes self-explanatory and is spread over two lines which, henceforth, is to
be the norm.
There is actually a third variation on the title text but obviouly only two
are displayed here.
|Thus far the labels bear a distinct resemblance of form to those
of its forebear the B & E but from this point onwards it becomes very
interesting indeed as the Joint Committee produced a mass of labels that bear
little resemblance to those produced for any other railway let alone the joint
owners of this one. This design includes the company's title on two lines
which rarely occurred on luggage labels other than those for joint lines. Note,
also, that there is mention of neither of the words one would expect namely
'Railway' and 'Committee'. Hiterto, the labels'
destinations had been limited to indigenous one, the LSWR and the Midland but
this type of labels spread its favours to the LBSCR, SER, SEC and surprisingly
||A reminder that the S & D did produce labels
to home stations and in some profusion too. Note the rider (S & D) to
differentiate the destination from the GWR one of the same name. Many of this
type of label are routed to GWR destination via Highbridge but Bridgwater
isn't one of them!
|A typical example of this type destined for a
Midland Railway destination although this example doesn't mention the
Midland's name specifically.
||The example to a GWR station specifies Cardiff
via Highbridge and there's a similar one to Swansea as well as several
other GWR destinations some of which are routed via Bath rather than
Note the subtle change at the top right corner of the label in the form of a
print quantity along with the printing date. This was a purely Midland Railway
practice in which the LSWR didn't indulge although the date aspect did
manifest itself in a big way during the post-grouping Southern era.
|There are several surviving examples of this
label type to destinations on the SER/SECR but none that I'm aware of to
the LCDR. This example is to Woolwich Arsenal and there are examples to
Rochester, Strood and Well Hall. The reason for these south east destinations
isn't known but it would be reasonable to assume that there's a
||This type of label, designated S53 in the RPS
coding scheme, produced considerable variations of text and typeface for
individual destinations. This example to Gillingham specifically mentions that
it is on the L&SW but there are two more that don't with one in each
case and two different typefaces.
|There are a few surviving examples to the LBSCR
not all of which include Wimbledon on the routing line.
there was usually some measure of reciprocation between railways within the
luggage labels genre but I have examples from Norbury, Thornton Heath and
Carshalton to the S & D which have no surviving reciprocal labels. Those
stations mentioned probably had the labels in conjunction with pigeon racing
traffic as two of them had no facilities for handling dairy and other farm
||The final type of pre-grouping S & D labels
brought an end to individuality for the time being as, two heading lines apart,
this is purely Midland in origin. This example is shown purely for the peculiar
use of Ford as the intermediate routing station when it would seem that
Okehampton or Tavistock might have been more appropriate.
|This type of label is simply the successor to
the previous one with the changes to the owning companies' names changed to
reflect the grouped status. The design, as mentioned above, is pure Midland
which was adopted subsequently by the LMSR.
||1928 saw the introduction of this type of hybrid
label which has obvious Southern design origins in terms of size shape and
typfaces for the destinations plus the standard style of printing date for the
period. Even the stock number, 787, is pure SR and dates back to the very
earliest labels of the LSWR. The one new introduction though is the word
'Committee' into the second title line. All destinations for these
labesl appear to be on either the SR ot the LMSR.
|Only two examples of this label type are known
the other being to Bournemouth and they're peculiar in many ways. The
ornate title text has returned albeit very small, they're printed in grey,
the title part of the label takes up almost half the surface area and despite
inital appearance it is a purely Derby product with the LMS's E.R.O. number
at the top right whilst beneath it the printing date is partially in Roman
numerals: VIII 33. Yes, this type of label must, indeed, have been designed by
||Two typical examples of S&D routing labels.
Although they are post-grouping - the railway name and printing date tell
us that - the design is pure Midland Railway.
All photographs are copyright
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This page was last updated 15 December 2007