BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Children's Newspaper giveaways

The following two booklets were giveaways with The Children's Newspaper in 1935. The first, The Book of the Southern Railway, was given away with issue 831 (23 February 1935) and the second, British Railways, with the issue 888 (28 March 1936).

The first giveaway was accompanied by a competition for 300 readers of the paper to win 100,000 miles of free rail travel, which the editor, Arthur Mee, announced thus:

100,000 Miles of Free Rail
Travel For C.N. Readers

With every copy of this week's C.N. readers should find four beautiful reproductions in miniature of Southern Railway posters, the first of a series of forty, and also an album for the Poster Stamps.
    It will greatly interest boys and girls to collect these beautiful pictures and fill up the blank spaces in the album as the Poster Stamps appear each week. But there will be just as much interest in the Mapping Test which is announced in the special supplement to the album.
    Never before have such novel awards been offered. There will be 300 prizes consisting of 100,000 Miles of Free Rail Travel, and all boys and girls not over fifteen will have an equal chance of winning, because the prizes, which are to be given for the best maps received, are to be divided according to the proportion of entries received from each age.
    Successful entrants will be able to share their prizes with others. Think how jolly that will be in the happy holiday times before us! A winner of 500 miles of Free Rail Travel may have tickets for two for 250 miles, or otherwise by arrangement with the Editor, and they will be available on any British railway.
    Now please turn to the centre pages of The Book of the Southern Railway and see what you have to do to win one of these novel awards. It is regretted that the Mapping Test is not open to overseas readers, but this is not possible owing to the nature of the awards. Our readers abroad will, however, be able to fill their albums with the very beautiful Poster Stamps.
    Readers are asked to give their newsagents instructions to deliver the C.N. regularly each week. By doing this they can make sure of completing their collections of Poster Stamps and also of seeing the many good things which are to appear from week to week.
The competition clearly proved popular as there was a follow-up a year later. From the second editorial it was clear that Poster Stamps were a popular collecting pastime. In fact, they date back to the 1860s and were inspired by postage stamps. They had no cash value but were used for advertising and promotions. The brief Wikipedia entry on the subject reveals that they were indeed still popular in the 1930s.

We will cover British Railways tomorrow. For now, here is The Book of the Southern Railway.

(* My thanks to Jenny Cefai, who discovered these two rarities amongst the effects of her late Uncle, and to Norman Boyd for the scans.)

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