What to see on railway station platforms in 1940s and 1950s Britain
There was always a lot to see on the platforms of the large stations.
Porters' trolleys. Photo taken in the Steam Museum at
Swindon. The suit-cases were made of a fibre material that might once have
looked like leather. Many cases, though, just looked as if they were made
of thick cardboard fraying at the edges.
Truck used by railway porters for passengers' luggage
as well as for loading and unloading sacks of goods.
1940s vending machine, common on station platforms,
but always empty in the 1940s and early 1950s. Photographed in Milton
There were always porters on the platforms of the large stations, ready and waiting to earn a tip by carrying passengers luggage for
Porters had special trucks and trolleys as shown in the photographs.
A railway station seat.
A railway station bench seat with a back, labelled
with its home station.
A basic railway station bench seat with no back.
Benches were provided for passengers who preferred not to stand while
waiting for a train. Like so many other things at that time, these were
made of wood, but not to a standard style. Being wood, they had the
advantage of not feel cold to sit on, but they did of course need
regular maintenance in the form of coats of varnish. The photos show
On the walls or fences of platforms were advertisements. These were
typical of the time, in that they were enamel on metal. The enamel gave an
attractive glossy finish and was relatively weatherproof. However, by the
time that I remember them during the Second World War, they had invariably
been chipped, letting the damp in and causing rust. I never saw any new ones
after the war, probably because plastics were coming in.
Above: Station platform on the Watercress (Heritage)
Line showing the enamelled adverts.
Right, a close-up of an enamelled advert in the Milton Keynes Museum, showing the rust eating into the chipped parts..