Vintage poster given to heritage railway

Ken Middlemist with David Holder from The Compleat Angler with the poster at Aln Valley Railway. Picture by Jane Coltman
Ken Middlemist with David Holder from The Compleat Angler with the poster at Aln Valley Railway. Picture by Jane Coltman

A vintage poster advertising a world-famous Alnwick-based fishing brand has been presented to a heritage railway, thanks to a man with long-standing connections to both.

Ken Middlemist has gifted a copy of an old-fashioned sign used to promote Hardy’s tackle manufacturer, to the Aln Valley Railway (AVR).

The 73-year-old, from Hipsburn, is a former employee of the angling company. He is also part of the AVR – a project to reopen the branchline between Alnmouth and Alnwick – and was a fireman aboard locomotives along the stretch in the 1960s, before it was closed.

He is delighted that he has been able to present the replica poster to the AVR. He said: “I think it is really appropriate, considering I worked for the railway and for Hardy’s. The railway used to transport a lot of fishing tackle, so it is quite fitting. I came across a small version of this poster at a sale in Carlisle and thought it would be great to get it blown up and give it to the railway.

“I don’t know when it dates back to, but the poster shows a man teaching a laddie how to fish. They are by a bridge, which looks very similar to the Lion Bridge, in Alnwick.”

Ken – who was working aboard the locomotive on the morning shift of what was to be the final day of steam passenger trains along the Alnmouth to Alnwick branchline, in June 1966 – has put up the poster at the AVR’s newly-created Lionheart Station in Alnwick. He said: “It looks good and we would love other businesses to support us and do a similar thing.”

Pure Fishing bought the Hardy and Greys brands in 2013. It also refurbished the retail store, The Compleat Angler, at Alnwick.