The Railways started to use enamel
sign rather than wooden one at the end of the Nineteenth Century,
firstly on Signalboxes and for Running in Boards but then for all
manner of Station Information. With Nationalisation and regional
colours a whole new set of signs were produced and these tend to be
the most collected today as many were relatively small and also
there were a large number rescued when the new Corporate black &
white signs were introduced.
Apart from BR Totems one of
the most collectable areas are Station Direction Signs. Early
Station Direction Signs were two sided enamels generally in an
aluminium frame and held by brackets at the side. These were
generally mounted by brackets from a Lamppost. Below are four
examples - all of which have lost their frames.
These early Big 4 Company
signs turn up occasionally but much more common are the
flanged enamel signs brought in by BR after Nationalisation.
These signs in the regional colours were put up as part of
the BR resigning policy to help people find the station when
wandering around the streets. They all have the same basic
format of British Railways in totem at the top with an arrow
and the information below. They were made as double sided
box signs with a bracket generally coming out the side so
that they could be mounted on a suitable piece of street
furniture. They have mostly now been split into two separate
parts as they are easier to display on a wall and more
importantly they will fetch more as two items rather than
As with all BR enamels some
regions had a lot more signs than others and this is
reflected in the price - the rarest being the BR(Sc) and
BR(S) signs although the highest prices for named signs vary
a great deal and relate to the desirability of the station
name. Station direction signs are a manageable size & can
make an excellent display of the regional colours.
For a little less money Signs
with a Totem, an Arrow and "STATION" you would expect to pay
between £200 and £600
of a Black experimental sign went through auction in
2002 and fetched £1150.
The final Station
Direction Signs put in use were made of alloy and either
cast or painted and a couple of examples are shown
The Running in Board below is so large that it
is made in two pieces and although it is a great name it would not
be very expensive to acquire.
As well as Running
in Boards the station name would also be shown on SR Targets, BR
Totems and various Companies Lamp Tablets. They were all
designed to be mounted on lampposts so as to be clearly visible
at night. A sample of pre Nationalisation enamel Lamp Tablets
are shown below. They were removed when BR Totems were installed.
Another use for
enamel signs on stations was as Doorplates and the BR versions
are very collectable as they are small and can easily be
obtained in all six regional colours. An example from each
region is shown below. They can be obtained from about £100 -
£200 for a
simple sign such as "Private" and up to £1000+ for an
unusual sign such as "Commercial Inspectors". Most are
flanged but many of the BR(E) ones are flat.
There are many thousands of different examples
available to purchase and you will have no trouble in building a
collection by bidding in Specialist Railwayana Auctions. The
general rule for enamel signs is that the smaller the sign is
the more expensive it will be as large signs can be difficult to
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