Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society

No 213 (March 2012)

An unusual water supply: the Great Western Railway's Alcester branch and the Stratford upon Avon Canal's Edstone Aqueduct. front cfover

Hugh Potter. Butterley Tunnel Wide Hole. 2-7
Based on paper presented to the seventh Waterways History Conference held at Birmingham Central Library Theatre on 9 April 2011. The Wide Hole is a widening in the tunnel which not only enabled boats to pass, but which formed a junction for a branch to an underground wharf which enabled limestone to be conveyed to the Butterley Company's Codnor furnaces. A roof collapse was repaired by the Midland Railway in 1915 as the canal was a supplier of industrial water. The tunnel is not navigable, but its state was investigated by Robin Witter in 1979 and by Tina Cordon in 2006.

Peter Cleasby. The Canal Association 1855-1947: a brief survey. 8-14
Based on paper presented to the seventh Waterways History Conference held at Birmingham Central Library Theatre on 9 April 2011

Joseph Boughey. Saving the waterways in the post-war British Isles: interpretations and assessments. 15-23
Based on paper presented to the seventh Waterways History Conference held at Birmingham Central Library Theatre on 9 April 2011.
There was never a monolithic process called "saving our waterways" despite literature to the contrary, Av waterways movement developed that iinteracted with other movements for connservation and amenity provision, but this contained many "currents" within it which involved different visions, methods and degrees of success.
Much could not have been saved in any event, although more could have been recorded, and thus not lost to memory. The retention and enlargement of the basic navigable networks in Britain and Ireland was the most impressive achievement, along with the reversal of the often negative image of waterways, from liabil ity to asset, in the view of many decision-makers. While much has been lost, much more might have been destroyed. The ability for the conservation of representative elements to provide continuities with the past has been partly realised. It is contended that much more research is needed into the history of conservation activities, including engineering and maintenance, alongside the study of movements, their philosophies and practical instances. This tends to lie outside the main approaches to waterways history, which usually focus upon engineering, traffics, legal and institutional developments. While these provide essential elements, they do not, in themselves, provide sufficient explanations of developments since 1945 that have transformed most navigable inland waterways.
Wider histories should form a base for the assessment of the success of movements to retain various aspects of waterways. Previous narratives have tended to posit a single idea of retention and revival (mostly against formal closures) and to praise those whose efforts helped to bring this about. To understand what conservation activities took place is to begin to determine the extent to which these emanated from influential individuals, organisations and movements. Some of these are at a distance from the waterways enthusiasts to whom much has (often rightly) been attributed. The revision of such histories that have been developed needs to begin with a different foundation.

Philip Scowcroft. Transports of Savoy delight. 23-4.
Gilbert and Sullivan opera references to transport: mainly maritime, but also some railway

Paul Reynolds. The origins of railway passenger transport. 25-31
Advertised, time-tabled and fare-paying passenger services first appeared on railways in the early 19th century, 1807 generally being accepted as the earliest date. However, these services only operated where special conditions prevailed and there was no idea ofthe wholesale migration of passenger traffic from road to rail. By about 1820 the possibility and desirability of this was starting to be considered by the more enthusiastic advocates of the railway and by the time of the mania of 1824/5 the idea had gained sufficient ground for it to feature explicitly in the plans of several of the companies that were promoted in those years. The publicity given to railways and to their capability for passenger carriage, followed by the interest that the S&DR's passenger operations aroused, led to the acceptance of passenger travel by train despite a continuing distrust of the steam locomotive for this purpose. The successful implementation of passenger traffic on the L&MR reduced this suspicion by showing that it was possible to offer rail passengers a steam service that was reasonably safe and that was faster, cheaper and more comfortable than anything that could be provided by a road vehicle and, above all, that was popular. By the early 1830s acceptance of steam- powered passenger travel by rail had become the default position.

Colin Edmondson. The Marston Rock Salt Railroad. 32-7
In Northwich, Cheshire. closed in 1844 due to flooding.

Allan Brackenbury. 150 ways of crossing the line. 38-43.
Reprinted from Volume 22 Number 2 (1976)

Allan Brackenbury 150 more ways of crossing the line. 43-9.
Station signage instructing users how to, or not to, cross the railway line: by bridge, subway or crossing.

Obituary - David Tew 50

Correspondence 51

Reviews. 53

Early railways. Andy Guy and Jim Rees. 56pp, 80 illustrations (colour), paperback, Oxford: Shire Publications, 2011. Reviewed by Miles Macnair. 54
This is a quite wonderful little production that cannot be recommended too highly. Written by two pedigree authorities on every aspect of 'Early Railways', the text condenses the progression of railways from horse-drawn, wooden-railed waggonways to the opening of the first 'modem', steam locomotive railway in 1830. The key milestones along the way are presented concisely and logically, blending the significance of engineering developments with economic factors and the roles of crucial individuals like Richard Trevithick, the Stephensons, father and son, and the financial backers Edward Pease and Thomas Richardson.
The stuttering evolution of the 'iron horse', powered by 'strong steam', is paralleled by the equally im portant, perhaps even greater, consideration of the 'iron road', the rails it travelled on. While the first was a slow, experimental series of progressive improvements and set-backs — that would continue to the last days of the steam locomotive — the second was virtually solved by a single invention at the Bedlington ironworks in 1820, the T section rail rolled from wrought iron. Other intriguing aspects are highlighted; the stimulus to steam-powered solutions (including rope-hauled inclines with fixed steam engines) resulting from the shortages of horses during the Napoleonic Wars; the role of canal 'feeder lines' in encouraging the spread of the railways that soon accelerated the canals' own decline; and the early recognition of the long-term importance of passengers to railway profitability.
While the text, spread over seven compact chapters, is excellent, the illustrations are even more wonderful, both in their selection and the quality of reproduction. Absolutely top marks to the publishers for producing such high quality at such a modest price. This book will, hopefully, enjoy a wide readership among the general public, stimulating interest in this fascinating, but often neglected, period of railway history.

The Civil Engineers: the story of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the people who made it. Hugh Ferguson and Mike Chrimes. London: ICE Publishing, 2011.  xii, 262pp, 118 colour & 247 b&w photographs. Reviewed by Peter Cross-Rudkin. 54
As its subtitle implies, this is on one level the corporate history of the Institution of Civil Engineers from its inception in 1818 to the present day, but on another it seeks to show how the profession of civil engineering has developed over that time. After an introduction, eleven chapters deal with the develop- ment of various aspects of the Institution's role, mostly by focussing on particular engineering projects or individual engineers. A twelfth chapter, one-third of the book, gives brief profiles of 42 of the 147 Presidents of the Institution, with photographs and plans of some of their works, and a final short chapter describes some of the staff, who appear at times to have ruled their nominal masters.
By 1818 the canal age in Britain was nearly over, and there is little in this book, apart from Thomas Telford's involvement in the Institution's early years, to interest the canal historian. However, when in 1828 Thomas Tredgold drew up his famous definition of civil engineering as 'the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man' ,he went on to mention the various types of civil engineering works, including roads, bridges, canals and river navigations, ports and docks, breakwaters, sea and flood defences, lighthouses, steamships, water supply, irrigation, urban drainage and public health. All of these make an appearance here, with many interesting images from the Institution's archives. For historians of the construction of Britain's railways, this book gives a picture of what was going on concurrently in other fields of engineering and other parts of the world. The authors have been associated with the administration ofthe Institution for many years, and write with knowledge and authority. In hard covers and profusely illustrated on good quality paper, this book is excellent value. As a bonus for members of RCHS wondering what the chairman of their Managing Committee looked like before the Society's affairs weighed upon him, there is a photograph in the chapter on contracts and management.

George Townsend Andrews of York: 'The Railway Architect'. Bill Fawcett. Yorkshire Architectural & York Archaeological Society jointly with North Eastern Railway Association, 2011, 256pp, over 600 illustrations & drawings (many in colour). Reviewed by  Gordon Biddle
Dr Fawcett's exhaustive account of the life and work of G T Andrews is the result of some thirty years' recording and research, from sources ranging from the local to the National Archive and the Victoria & Albert Museum. The book is in two main sections: the first on Andrews' life and career; the second, by far the larger, on his churches, secular buildings, railway work and houses. His railway activities covered stations and other buildings on most of George Hudson's lines between the Humber and the Tyne.
Andrews was born in London in 1804, but by 1826 he had moved to York where he practised as an architect until his death in 1855. He enjoyed the patronage of Hudson, 'The Railway King', and was Sheriff of York during Hudson's time as Lord Mayor. Hudson's financial collapse and subsequent disgrace in 1849 severely affected Andrews' practice, but he managed to survive by expanding into non-railway work such as ecclesiastical, country house and estate buildings, and town houses and commercial premises, many of the latter still well-known in York. His railway work is examined in considerable detail. In his early years it was conventionally classical in character, including three large stations: Hull Paragon, the first York terminus (both still standing), and Gateshead (now demolished). Later he began designing stations in the newly fashionable Gothic manner, particularly the gem at Richmond —lately restored — and smaller ones in North Yorkshire of equal quality. Andrews was also prolific in designing railway houses, cottages, locomotive and goods sheds, and even a couple of railway company gas works. The final chapter compares his stations with those of three contemporaries: William Tite, Sancton Wood and William Tress. An appendix lists Andrews' art collection, which was both discerning and considerable. There are twelve pages of endnotes and references, and an index.
Printed on heavy art paper, like the author's earlier works, this handsome book has been designed and produced by himself, including most of the excellent photographs, plans and measured elevations and drawings.

The gleam of the lines: an illustrated journey through two centuries of Irish railway history. Tom Ferris. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2011192pp, 117 photographs (including 68 colour), 50 reproductions of paintings, posters, engravings & drawings, Reviewed by Gerald Leach
With a well balanced combination of narrative and an excellent selection of illustrations this book provides an interesting, well written and pictorial history oflreland's railways over a period of250 years commencing from some early trarnroads in the 1750s up to 2011. The written history is contained in six chapters. The first chapter describes Ireland's basic transport system in the years preceding the 1830s. Subsequent chapters provide a chronological narra- tive from December 1834 when the Dublin & Kingstown, the country's first public railway, was opened, and then on through the 19th and 20th centuries to finally bring the story up to date with the rail modernisation schemes that have been implemented over the past fifteen years. A novel feature of the book is the inclusion of a number of short essays covering a variety of separate topics such as how Ireland got its unusual 5ft 3 in gauge, the atmospheric railway between Dublin and Dalkey built in the 1840s, brief accounts of three serious railway accidents (Straffan, Armagh and Buttevant), and biographies of some personalities who were associated in various ways with Irish railways.
Undoubtedly the illustrations, many of which are being published for the first time, are the book's main attractions. It is lavishly and generously illustrated, mainly in colour, with a superb selection of interesting and good quality photographs, old postcards, reproductions of paintings, maps, engravings, posters and other images of railway memorabilia. The book's grand finale is an atlas section comprising 16 pages of reproductions of the 1907 version of the Railway Clearing House map of Ireland's railways, identifying the various companies and distinguishing in colour the route maps of their lines. For a book of such quality it is economically priced and is highly recommended, particularly to those who are aficionados of Irish railways
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A 1915 as-built drawing of the shortening of the Butterley Tunnel Wide Hole (see pp. 2-7) (British Waterways, Leeds). back cover