Michael Robert Bonavia

Born in May 1909; educated St Paul's School and Corpus Christi, Cambridge. An economist. Worked for N.M. Rothschild, bankers. Joined LNER in 1945: worked in CGM's office: Assistant to Miles Beevor. BT Staff College, Woking [Hardy]. Died 1999. There is a Michael Bonavia Archive in the NRM (details online)

"Important in laying bare the limitations of the top managers of the BTC, whom he found drab and uninspiring" [Birth of British Rail]

Hardy, Richard  and Gourvish, Terry.  Michael R. Bonavia, 1909-99: an appreciation. J. Transport Hist. 2000, 21, 1-5

Bonavia was an exceptionally fluent writer, and much of what he wrote is a joy to read. He was relatively unusual in writing both as a professional transport economist and as a "popular writer" for railway enthusiasts. He wrote a considerable number of magazine articles which are marked by levity and provide great shafts of light into the working, or non-working, of the railway system and on some of the "personalities" involved. He had a great love for the LNER. The compiler of steamindex's father had a huge regard for him whom he encountered in the immediate pre-nationalization period.


The birth of British Rail. London: Allen & Unwin, 1979, 110pp. 62 illus.
British Rail: the first 25 years. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1981.
Economics of Transport. London: Nisbet, 1936.
The four great railways. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1980.
A history of the LNER. Allen & Unwin. 3v
Volume 1. The early years, 1923-33. 1982. 90pp.
Volume 2. The  age of the streamliners, 1934-39..
1982. 107pp.
Volume 3: The last years 1939-48.

A history of the Southern Railway.
London: Unwin Hyman. 1987.
Excellent on influence of Board. reviewed in Backtrack, 1988, 2, 94. Error noted by KPJ calls Lionel Lynes "Leonard"
Organisation of British Railways
; based on University of London PhD Thesis 1968
Railway policy between the Wars. Manchester University Press, 1981.

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