SEmG

London and South Western Railway Luggage Labels
The White Ones

by Mike Morant
 
All the labels types described on this page are or should be white but many are discoloured to the extent that they are a light biscuit colour.

The white labels heralded the use of a From line, a standardised title, the occasional addition of a blank Via line at the bottom and the specific mention of other railways' names. Additionally, a clutch of LBSCR suburban destinations was added to the assortment plus a wider range of District and Metropolitan stations than are known within the realms of the coloured labels. All the white labels of the types described on this page have the '787' printed on the right-hand side.

They fall into four easily definable categories:

  • blank From line
  • no From line
  • From specified station at the left
  • From specified station in the centre

Blank From line

Luggage_label_L92-1_Bournemouth_West Luggage_label_L92-1_WEST_Bournemouth
Luggage_label_L92-1_WEST CROYDON Luggage_label_L92-1_SHEPHERDS_BUSH
Note the two interpretations of Bournemouth West, the LBSCR suburban destination and the use of a blank Via line at the bottom thereof. It should also be noted that the word 'From' is always italicised on this type of label. The WADEBRIDGE overstamp adds interest.
Luggage_label_L92-1_FROME Luggage_label_L92-1_LEAMINGTON
There must have been a thawing of relations with the GWR as labels with that name on the Via line become commonplace from this label type onwards and the number of destinations on other railways increases dramatically. We also see the introduction of routings that had been conspicuous by their absence on the coloured labels. The routing via Salisbury is of particular note as it's well known that the LSWR had, hitherto, vehemently resented the mere presence of the GWR at Salisbury. Common sense had evidently and finally prevailed. Even the distant and hitherto ignored SER appears for the first time with a label to Dover S. E. Railway.

Another interesting addition to the assortment is the inclusion of labels to St. Malo and Havre (with no preceding 'Le') although such destinations had appeared before but they are described on the oddments page.

From Waterloo at left

All labels of this type have the word From italicised. The destinations are nearly all on the LSWR's own system plus the S&DJR and M&SWJR. In fact the assortment is pretty much as one would expect for labels applied to luggage at Waterloo. The stations on the then new Lynton & Barnstaple Railway add some interest to this genre.

It should be noted that one of the reasons why many of the destinations within this type of label are very scarce is that they are very prone to dessication. The Wooda Bay example shown below is in good condition but most examples are very damaged indeed.

Luggage_label_L92-2_WATERLOO_TO_BOW Luggage_label_L92-2_WATERLOO_TO_Porchester
BOW has been included mainly to show that there are Devon destinations on these labels whilst the spelling of Porchester indicates that there might still have been an occasional quality control issue.
Luggage_label_L92-2_WATERLOO_TO_Lymington_Pier_(1) Luggage_label_L92-2_WATERLOO_TO_LYMINGTON_PIER_(2)
One has to beg the question as to how two very different labels to the same destination came to be used concurrently at the same station. There was certainly more than one luggage label rack at Waterloo as this author remembers all too well that one was fairly accessible whilst the other wasn't.
 
Luggage_label_L92-2_WATERLOO_TO_WOODA_BAY It's thought that this type of label came into use around 1889/90 and was superseded by the centred style around 1908/9. This example is interesting in that it uses the name Wooda Bay which later became better known as Woody Bay and so the label probably dates from the L&BR's opening in 1898. The L&BR destinations are also the only ones of this type to use Barnstaple Town or Junction on the Via line.

No From line

It's probably this type of LSWR label that's the most familiar to those who have only a passing interest in the genre and there are literally hundreds of widely differing interpretations of what was probably meant to be a standard design.

The heading and the '787' code are unvarying in their positions and the labels, generally, have fared better in preservation than their antecedents. The new features present in these labels are principally concerned with the sheer size of the assortment. There had obviously been a sea change in respect of through services, the increase of urban sprawls and the ability of a growing population to make use of the railway system generally.

What is interesting is that, even at this late stage in the LSWR's development, there is only one label to a destination west of the Tamar on the GWR's system and even that is an oddity as shown below.

Luggage_label_L93-1_NEW_QUAY
The contents of this label are odd to say the least. This author surmises that it is the result of a breakdown of communicatons within the ordering process and that an order was placed for labels to a new quay (at Padstow perhaps?) and this is the result. Perhaps there is a more rational explanation.

Within this type we see many more destinations on the SECR, Metropolitan and Distric Railways plus a general broadening of the map with the likes of Leeds and Newcastle present and even a first incursion into Wales with Cardiff and Newport in the assortment.

Luggage_label_L93-1_CANNON_STREET_(DISTRICT) Luggage_label_L93-1_KINGS_CROSS
Luggage_label_L93-1_CHELSEA Luggage_label_L93-1_CHELSEA & FULHAM
There were, as can be seen above, still some inconsistencies in interpretation.

From Waterloo at centre

At first glance the From is not italicised on this type but see below and it isn't obvious at a quick glance:
Luggage_label_L93-2_WATERLOO_TO_DINTON Luggage_label_L93-2_WATERLOO_TO_DINTON_italic
The destinations are nearly all on the LSWR's own system plus the S&DJR and M&SWJR but there are a few interesting additions with the PD&SWJR's few stations (except Chilsworthy) entering the fray and the inclusion of Bramley and Reading but somewhat surprisingly not Mortimer, the station between those two.

The selection of routings was expanded and includes the variations shown in the next illustrations:

Luggage_label_L93-2_WATERLOO_TO_LITTLEHAM_Via_EXMOUTH Luggage_label_L93-2_WATERLOO_TO_LITTLEHAM_Via_TIPTON
Luggage_label_L93-2_WATERLOO_TO_WEYHILL_Via_ANDOVER Luggage_label_L93-2_WATERLOO_TO_WEYHILL_Via_ANDOVER_JUNCTION
It's also worth noting that there are not only two different routings for each destination but also three different fonts on four labels. There are several more of the latter.
 
Debunking a myth: there is a misconception amongst many LSWR collectors concerning the missing From word. It's a fact that the five labels to PD&SWJR stations don't have 'FROM' preceding the WATERLOO but there is a myth that they are the only ones to have been so treated. The example on the right should put that myth to rest forever and it's probably not the only one of its type. Luggage_label_L93-2_WATERLOO_TO_VERWOOD

From Bournemouth West

There are 36 listed labels from Bournemouth West and their basic characteristics are exactly as per those from Waterloo. The destinations, However, are a different story altogether. Unlike the Waterloo assortment these contain only one to an LSWR location and that's Waterloo itself.

Most of the destinations are on the GWR with, generally, very specific routing on the Via line. One significant dvelopment is the specific naming of the Midland, L.N.W. and North Eastern railways.

The table below is believed to be the complete set of Bournemouth West destinations.
BIRKENHEAD Via BASINGSTOKE & G.W.Rly. DARLINGTON Via Bath and N.E.Rly. NEWCASTLE Via . . . .
BIRMINGHAM Via . . . . DUDLEY Via Basingstoke & G.W.Rly. NEWTON ABBOTT Via EXETER G.W.Rly.
BRADFORD Via . . . . EVESHAM (Via BATH & M.R.) PAIGNTON Via EXETER & G.W.Rly.
BRISTOL (St. Philips) (Via BATH & M.R.) Evesham Via Bath & Midland Rly. REDLAND (Via BATH & M.R.)
BRISTOL (ST. PHILLIPS) Via BATH and Mid. Rly. GREAT MALVERN Via BATH & M.R. St. Leonards Via Havant L.B.& S.C.Rly.
BRISTOL (TEMPLE MEADS) HARROGATE Via BATH and Mid. Rly. Scarborough Via Bath and North Eastern Rly.
BUXTON Via BATH & MIDLAND Rly. HASTINGS Via Havant & L.B.& S.C.Rly. STOCKPORT Via BATH & BIRMINGHAM, L.& N.W.Rly.
CAMP HILL Via Bath. HUDDERSFIELD Via . . . . STONEHOUSE Via BATH
CARLISLE Via Bath and Settle. HULL STROUD Via BATH.
CHELTENHAM Via BATH and Mid. Rly. MALVERN LINK (Via BATH & M.R.) WATERLOO
CHESTERFIELD Via BATH and Mid.Rly. MALVERN WELLS (Via BATH & M.R.) WOLVERHAMPTON Via . . . .
CLEVEDON Via Highbridge and G.W.Rly. MATLOCK BATH Via Bath and Midland Railway. YORK Via . . . .
Luggage_label_L92-2_BOURNEMOUTH_WEST_TO_MATLOCK_BATH Luggage_label_L93-2_BOURNEMOUTH_WEST_TO_NEWCASTLE

From Ilfracombe

There are 66 listed labels from Ilfracombe whose basic characteristics are exactly as per those from Waterloo and Bournemouth West but the assortment contains no LSWR destinations whatsoever.

If the assortment of destinations could be regarded as esoteric then some of the routings thereto are verging on the bizarre. This group of labels, unlike all the others, contains several GWR destinations west of Plymouth and also the only LSWR label with an Irish destination: namely, Dublin.

The table below is believed to be the complete set of Ilfracombe destinations.
Abergavenny Via Barnstaple and G.W.R. DORCHESTER Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.). MONTPELIER (G.W.) Via Barnstaple.
BATH (G.W.) Via Barnstaple. Dublin (North Wall) L. & N.W. via Barnstaple and Holyhead. Montpelier Via Barnstaple and G.W.R.
BRIDGEWATER Via Barnstaple and G.W.Rly. DULVERTON Via Barnstaple and G.W.Rly. NEATH Via Barnstaple and G.W.R.
BRIDPORT Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.). EASTBOURNE (L.B.& S.C.R.) via HAVANT. NEWQUAY Via YEOFORD & PLYMOUTH (North Rd.).
Brixham (G.W.R.) via Exeter. FALMOUTH (G.W.R.) Via EXETER. OXFORD G.W.R. via Barnstaple.
CARDIFF (G.W.R.) Via EXETER. Falmouth (G.W.) Via EXETER (ST. DAVID'S). Penzance (G.W.) Via EXETER (ST. DAVID'S).
CARLISLE Via Barnstaple and . . . . FILLEIGH Via BARNSTAPLE (G W.R.) PENZANCE (G.W.R.) Via EXETER.
CHARD Via Barnstaple and G.W.R. FROME Via Barnstaple and . . . . READING Via _____
CHELTENHAM Via Barnstaple, Bristol and Mid. Rly. GLASTONBURY Via Templecombe. SHREWSBURY Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.)
Cheltenham (Mid.) Via Barnstaple (G.W.R.) and Bristol. Great Malvern (G.W.R.) via Severn Tunnel. SOUTH MOLTON Via BARNSTAPLE and G.W.Rly.
CHEPSTOW Via Barnstaple and G.W.R HENLEY Via Barnstaple and G.W.R. STARCROSS (G.W.R.) via Exeter.
CHESTER Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.). HEREFORD Via _______ and G.W.Rly. STRATFORD-ON-AVON Via BARNSTAPLE, G.W.R., & BRISTOL, M.&E.&W. Junc. Rly.
CHICHESTER (L.B.& S.C.R.) via Havant. HUDDERSFIELD Via Barnstaple and _____ STROUD Via Barnstaple, Bristol and Mid.
Churston (G.W.R.) via Exeter. HULL (N.E.) Via Barnstaple, Bristol and Pontefract. SWINDON Via BARNSTAPLE.
CLEVEDON Via BARNSTAPLE and G.W.Rly. ILMINSTER Via (BARNSTAPLE G.W.R.). TAUNTON Via Barnstaple and G.W.Rly.
CLIFTON DOWN Via Templecombe. LANGPORT Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.). TEIGNMOUTH Via St. David's and G.W.Rly.
CREWE Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.). LEAMINGTON SPA Via BARNSTAPLE. TOTNES Via Exeter and G.W.Rly.
DAWLISH (G.W.R.) via Exeter. LEEDS Via _____ TROWBRIDGE Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.).
DERBY Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.). LEICESTER Via Templecombe and Midland Rly. TRURO (G.W.R.) Via EXETER.
DERBY Via Templecombe. LIVERPOOL, CENTRAL (MID. RLY.) Via BARNSTAPLE and G.W.R. WIVELISCOMBE Via BARNSTAPLE (G.W.R.).
DEVIZES Via BARNSTAPLE and TAUNTON. LLANELLY Via Barnstaple, G.W.R. Worcester (Midland Ry.) via Barnstaple and Bristol.
DIDCOT Via Barnstaple and G.W.Rly. MANCHESTER, LONDON RD. Via Barnstaple (G.W.R.) and Severn Tunnel. WORTHING Via HAVANT.
Luggage_label_L92-2_ILFRACOMBE_TO_Great_Malvern Luggage_label_L93-2_ILFRACOMBE_TO_ILMINSTER

From Southampton West

The labels from Southampton West remain something of a mystery Although the few that are known to exist have the same basis characteristics as those from Waterloo, Bournemouth West and Ilfracombe but only examples with the station of origin at centre have thus far come to light.

When the RPS Guide to LSWR Labels was compiled in the late 1990's only a single example was known to have survived. However, there is always previously unknown material awaiting discovery in this hobby and a few more were found within a lot of LSWR labels purchased at general auction in 2006.

 
Luggage_label_L93-2_SOUTHAMPTON_WEST_TO_LISKEARD All the examples known to the author are to GWR destinations in Cornwall.

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This page was last updated 7 July 2007

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