London & North Eastern Railway and Connecting Railways.
George Phillip & Sons Ltd
A rare wall map of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), one of the “Big Four” railways that was created by the Railway Act of 1921. The LNER serviced the area north and east of London that included such places as Edinburg, York, Newcastle upon Tyne, Aberdeen, the East Midlands and Inverness, with terminals in London at Fenchurch St., King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Marylebone.
To counter its dependency of carrying freight from heavy industry in the Northeast of England and Scotland, the LNER began in the mid 1930’s to focus on providing better and faster passenger services. In fact, it once set the world record speed with one of its locomotives on a test run.
One of the distinctive features of the map is the Gill Sans typeface. The Gill Sans typeface was used from 1929 onwards on all company promotional items as a form of branding. It is interesting to note that the Gill Sans typeface was based on Edward Johnston’s “Underground Alphabet” introduced in 1916 for the London Underground. The “aim was to blend the influences of Johnston, classic serif typefaces and Roman inscriptions to create a design that looked both cleanly modern and classical at the same time.”
It is said of the LNER that “advertising was highly sophisticated and advanced compared with those of its rivals” where graphic designers and poster artists were commissioned to “promote its services and encourage the public to visit the holiday destinations of the east coast in the summer.”
The LNER, as with the other railway companies in Britain, were nationalized in 1948 to form British Railways.
This wall map is thus a beautiful reminder of an earlier age of rail travel with an eye towards design features that are both modern and timeless.