Because of the wooly headed way the Government of the day planned the railway grouping of 1923 the LNER became the most impoverished of the “Big Four” being saddled with a couple of limping ducks, and one, the Great Central which could hardly hobble. The cunning plan was that the vast freight revenues earned by the North Eastern from coal, steel, iron, ore, shipbuilding and heavy engineering would prop the others up. This morally reprehensible policy of course completely overlooked the rights of North Eastern shareholders whose dividend income would consequently be reduced. It did not work. As the recession of the 1920s passed into the depression of the 1930s – well we all know what happened to mining shipbuilding and heavy engineering in the North East.
The LNER attempted to mitigate its lack of cash by trying just that little bit harder in areas like standards of service and advertising. It is general acknowledged that in this last field it surpassed the other Group companies under two successive Advertising Managers, W.M. Teasdale (from the North Eastern) from 1923 to 1928, and Cecil Dandridge (from the Great Central) between 1928 and the War years when normal advertising activity was suspended.
Both set standards which were fully up to date, and sometimes in advance of those of the wider advertising world. This little booklet from Dandridge’s first year is a case in point. One of a series of booklets intended for distribution to selected potential freight customers it would not have a wide circulation-a simple letterpress cover would have sufficed but with Dandridge’s holistic approach to publicity (nowadays “Corporate Identity”) it was given the fashionable advanced Art Deco treatment of bold shapes and colours then sweeping the continent. It would not have looked out of place in Weimar Germany or Soviet Russia.
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