In 1836 the Northern & Eastern Railway (N&ER) and the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) competed to build a train line from London to East Anglia. The ECR proposed a new line from London to Ipswich via Colchester, and the N&ER proposed a track from London to York via Cambridge, Lincoln and Peterborough. Both vied to extend their lines to the fishing port of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
Head to head, the two companies issued public notices to drum up support for their individual projects and also to draw attention to the weaknesses of their competitor’s. In an attempt to disrupt the ECR’s bid, the N&ER issued this handbill, ‘cautioning’ the people of Great Yarmouth that the ECR line would threaten the stability of their fisheries and cut them off from markets in the ‘great manufacturing towns’ in the north and west. Further, the N&ER warned that a railway linking Essex and Suffolk fisheries would undermine Great Yarmouth’s trade with London. Within days of the handbill going up, the ECR issued their response urging the inhabitants not to be ‘deluded by the specious statements’ of their rivals (see N.Tab.2012/6(3)).