Forgotten art hero in the age of steam

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From: Graham Hall, Micklethwaite, Bingley, West Yorkshire.

I WAS most interested in your article entitled “Building Up Steam For Poster Art” (Yorkshire Post, January 21). It was wonderful stuff and a nice bit of publicity for an outstanding form of art work, often little known about by the ordinary man in the street.

Joanne Ginley’s article did contain some interesting facts about American poster artists but it’s a shame nothing was mentioned about one of the most prominent who was born and bred here in the West Riding.

Frank Newbould was born in Bradford in 1887 and initially studied his craft at Bradford College of Art. He began his working life at Percy Lund, Humphries & Co Ltd – a firm which eventually became world renowned for technical innovation and very high quality printing.

Newbould eventually became head of their art department but left the company sometime around the First World War period and moved to London, where he took up further studies and began what became a lifetime’s work producing railway posters and the like.

Much of his output was for LNER but he also did commissions for Belgian Railways, GWR, and the Orient Line shipping company amongst others. During the Second World War he worked for the War Office developing camouflage amongst other tasks. He died in 1951 after a very successful career.

Sadly – no pun intended – the local printing industry has had a bad press over the years and whilst poster production has only formed one part of it, I hope your article helps to further highlight the industry. Bradford for instance – along with Leeds – have been and to some extent still are major centres for the printing industry.

Prior to the First World War Bradford was the principal centre in the United Kingdom for the production of Christmas cards. The city now has the European Headquarters of the Hallmark Corporation, housed in the beautiful WN Sharpe building in Bingley Road.

Sharpe’s had a long history, becoming one of the largest manufacturers of greetings cards in the country but were eventually taken over by Hallmark in 1983.

Perhaps the wonderful Railway Museum in York may eventually produce an exhibition of railway posters purely from work by local born artists.

I’m sure they would deserve it.

Service that
made men

From: Bob Swallow, Townhead Avenue, Settle.

I REFER to Jayne Dowle’s opinion on National Service (Yorkshire Post, January 23). An excellent article which revived many memories.

One correction, National Service did not end in 1960, that was the last year in which lads were called up. In my case it was July 22nd into the RAF. I was demobbed two years later to the day.

The last conscripts received their call up papers during November 1960, some of the poor beggers in Germany not escaping until 1963 having been forced into an extra six months due to the Berlin Wall crisis.

On a personal basis after the first two months square bashing, I enjoyed my time making friends who I kept in touch with for many a year.

If you were any good at sport you could get off nearly anything. I played rugby for the station team vividly remembering an occasion when I missed a tackle on a member of the opposition with the result that a flight lieutenant in our team and right behind me caught this chap head on resulting in the most spectacular black eye! The following day this flight lieutenant was taking us for radio theory. It went like this:

“Stand up SAC Swallow”. I stood up.

“You are going to have a bloody rough week for this,” he said, indicating his eye.

I did, but after the next match he bought me a pint.

Happy days and one thing is for sure, you went in a lad and came out a man.

Stressed out by harassment

From: Ken Cooke, Wheatley Road, Ilkley.

I WOULD like to join the language pedants with my pet hate: the pronunciation of harass and harassment.

In my early life the stress was always on the first ‘a’. Nowadays most people accentuate the second ‘a’, making it haráss and harássment – which irks me no end – and ‘harássing’ to me sounds like a foreign word. It seems to be a trend which started in the 1970s.

As a newspaper producer, I am sure the Yorkshire Post is well aware of creeping changes over time. Evolution of language is a fact of life. Every decade will bring lasting changes.

Today we would find it difficult to follow the original pronunciation of Chaucer’s English. Shakespeare is credited with ‘inventing’ or introducing hundreds of new words into our language, not to mention many phrases and idioms.

In the 20th century, George Bernard Shaw recognised the ridiculousness of English spelling and promoted schemes to reform it.

Characteristically Shaw used to omit apostrophes from contracted forms as in dont and cant (for don’t and can’t).

Clearly it didn’t make any difference to one’s understanding, as I would point out to people who complain about greengrocers’ price labels: Were you ever actually misled by a cavalier apostrophe?

All languages evolve over time. The supreme issue is intelligibility: Do we clearly understand what is being said and written?

As for greengrocers’ and market stall holders’ use of apostrophes, I recommend they save stress and ink and ignore them completely.