|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
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. 58
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. 58
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.
The book of BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0s, Ian Sixsmith
& Richard Derry. Clophill: Irwell Press, 2011, 208pp, 201 b&w
photographs, Reviewed by Brian Janes. 60
An illustrated list of individual locomotives with an introductory factual essay on pages 5-29 is followed by a reprinted article by Kevin Pile based on an official BR report of 1952 on the initial performance of the class in Scotland. Pages 38 onwards are devoted to tables of individual locomotive histories largely illustrated with static three-quarter front views of the majority. Most photographs are dated, a considerable plus.
An improved version of the LMS 'Black Fives', the class seemed to many better looking. Initially distributed in small batches to virtually all regions where they were found inferior to their own locomotives, perhaps due to innate conservativeness. Drifting back to the heartlands of ex-LMS lines they lasted to the end of steam. The book sheds little new light on the class but the reviewer was amused to learn that information was drawn from standard forms with an ERO prefix; one ER O'Neil having rationalised LMS pre-war printing arrangements, led to Crewe printing works thereafter being generally nicknamed 'The ERO'.
As with all this series the book is well produced for lay enthusiasts. However, Volume 2 of the RCTS work on Standard BR Steam Locomotives does a better job of assessing and describing the class.
British steam past & present. Keith Langston. Bamsley:
Wharncliffe Transport: 2011. 176 pp, hardback, 78 colour photographs,
102 b&w photographs, Reviewed by Graham Bird
This 'popular' volume does not aim to offer a comprehensive account of British steam operation, but wisely limits itself to pen-portraits of ten selected aspects of the subject. These include, for example, the Bluebell Railway, Beattock Bank, the Churnet Valley, Oxford station and the NER Q6 0-8-0. The Belfast-Dublin line also features, and there are accounts of the building of Tornado and of the ongoing project to recreate an LMS 'Patriot'. Each topic gets a brief historical overview, but the main focus is on events which older readers, at least, will be able to remember. There are few pre-1950 illustra- tions. The historical outlines are complemented by accounts of steam preservation, but some may feel that there is too much emphasis on these at the expense of'real' history.
The plentiful and well-chosen photographs are the outstanding feature of the book. The colour images of preserved locomotives and trains are superb and the monochrome views, many by David Anderson, evoke very well the latter days of BR steam. The overall quality of presentation is high but a little more time could usefully have been devoted to proof reading. However, the author succeeds well in conveying the allure of steam railways and the book is likely to appeal to a wide audience.
The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in Salford. Tom Wray.
Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Society, 2011, 64pp, 60 b&w and
colour photographs and illustrations, Reviewed by Richard Coulthurst.
Covers the period from the early days of the constituent companies of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR) that served Salford, such as the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Railway, and takes the story up to recent times with the opening of the Salford Crescent, the Windsor Curve and the refurbishment of Salford Central station. The Clifton Junction incident, the result of a dispute between the LYR and the East Lancashire Railway in 1849, receives attention while the heavy freight traffic that was such a feature of the area is clearly demonstrated.
A late addition to the network in the area was the branch to the Manchester Ship Canal which proved to be an expensive and difficult project, passing at it did through a densely populated urban area
A notable feature of the book is the illustrations which include photographs, large scale plans and coloured architectural drawings all supported by comprehensive captions. There is brieflist of sources and a short bibliography but the book is not referenced and there is no index. It is, nevertheless, a well-produced book and attractively priced.
The Minehead Branch and the West Somerset
Railway. Colin G Maggs. Monmouth: Oakwood Press, 2011.
176pp, 192 b&w photographs, 13 maps & plans, gradient profile, 14
facsimile documents. Reviewed by Tim Edmonds. 64
The second edition of a book flrst published in 1998, this has been revised to include extended photographic coverage and textual updates. It tells the story of a line which began life as the broad gauge West Somerset Railway from Norton Fitzwarren to Watch et, later extended to Minehead, and worked initially by the Bristol & Exeter and then by the Great Western. After closure by British Railways in 1971 the branch was sold to Somerset County Council who leased it to the modem West Somerset Railway, a preservation operation. The book covers all these periods of the line's existence.
Early chapters cover the origins and development of the line through to the present day. This is followed by a description of the route and short chapters on themes including locomotives, traffic, signalling and accidents. There are no footnote references but there is a short bibliography of primary and secondary sources and a one-page index. Apart from an excerpt from a Railway Clearing House map on the back cover, the book lacks maps showing the line and its relationship to neighbouring railways. However, there is a track plan or OS map extract of each station. The text is well-illustrated with an interesting selection of photographs and production is up to' usual Oakwood Press standards. This is a good, readable branch-line history and is excellent value for money.
Bashers, Gadgets and Mourners: the life and times of
the LNWR Coal Tanks. Peter W Skellon. Bahamas Locomotive Society,
2011. 256pp, 180 illustrations, 60 line
diagrams & maps, Reviewed by Rodney Hartley . 64
This is an excellent book for the student of locomotive history, setting out in detail, the designing, building and operation of the LNWR Coal Tanks. The narrative includes many first hand accounts of the operation and maintenance of the locomotives. It also describes the improvements and modifications carried out to the class over the years, and Chapter 5 is devoted to a description of the locomotives in service in various parts of the railway system. As well as being a technical work, which enlarges upon some little known aspects of locomotive development and operation, it is also a social history, providing information of a lost era. It also is a history of the early days of railway preservation and the problems encountered therein. Indeed the last surviving member of the class of Coal Tanks was the first locomotive to be purchased for preservation from funds raised by public subscription. Chapter 9 is an Owners' Workshop Manual and there are numerous appendices, references, a useful bibliography and a good index. The book is a credit to the author and to the Bahamas Locomotive Society and is well worth the purchase price, which also includes a 55-minute audio-documentary on CD.
The Wells-next-the-Sea Branch via Wymondham and Dereham. Stanley
C Jenkins. Monmouth: Oakwood Press, 2011. 200pp, 141 b&w
photographs, 1 colour photograph, 19 maps & plans inc loose fold out
colour map, 12 timetables, 11 illustrations. Reviewed by David St John Thomas.
First published in 1988, this revised and expanded edition gives the painstaking and usually sad story of one of Eastern England's most problematic lines, the lengthy Wells-next-the-Sea branch. Journey times from London compared unfavourably with those to neighbouring resorts, and ironically Wells only became popular as a holiday destination in the motor age once the tracks around the harbour had been themselves, lifted and a proper promenade was formed. With a discouraging timetable, passengers on the branch were scarce, but large cargoes were once frequently transferred between ship and rail. Though the writing is slightly repetitive, perspec- tive is good and all one needs to know is here. Timetable reproductions, plans and a rich array of photographs bring it all to life and will make older readers wish they had travelled on the line especially in those early Swindon-built green-liveried DMUs in which you could enjoy the driver's view.
A 1915 as-built drawing of the shortening of the Butterley Tunnel Wide Hole (see pp. 2-7) (British Waterways, Leeds). back cover
No. 214 (July 2012)
Adrian Gray. Canal boats, canal children and social reform. 2-6..
Bill Crosbie-Hill. Great Western Railway ecxcursions in the 1930s, 7-15
No. 215 (November 2012)
Andrew Odlyzko. The Railway Mania fraud, disappointed expectations and the modern economy. 2-11.
Jean Lindsay. The Forth & Clyde Canal conflict and its motto. 12-14
Adrian Gray. Disaster in Nottingham. 15-16
There was a major explosion caused by gunpowder when it was being unloaded from a barge on the Notingham Canal annd taken to a warehouse which collapsed. About a dozen died, blown to pieces scattered over a wide area. The estimated cost is given. Based on newspaper reports.
Carl Shillito. The Fiery Jack, part 2. 17-20.
Original article see Volume 35 page 774
Graham Cousins The Macclesfield Canal Company interactions and relationships: part 2,1840-1850. 21-30
Alan Levitt. Early locomotives on American banknotes: what the engravers got wrong and what they got right. 31-42
Neil Clarke. The railway interests of a Shropshire landed gentleman. 42-5.
Canal boats, canal children and social reform. Wendy Freer, 46-9
front: Water Gate from the Grounds of the proposed Cemetery Kensall [sic] Green (see note on p.30)
back: 'The Great Railway Fall Guy for 1849: 'Mr Hudson - the Railway King - who had been
courted during his prosperity by the highest in Church and State, received the utmost abuse
when he disappointed the confidence reposed in his infallibility' (Punch, 10 November 1849)
(University of Minnesota Libraries) (see pages 2-12)
The Furness Railway: a history. Michael
Andrews. Lindal-in-Furness: Barrai Books. 2012. 248+viii pp, 192
monochrome & 24 colour illustrations . Reviewed by Gordon Blddle
A former Chief Medical Officer on British Railways, the late Dr Michael Andrews was an early member of the RCHS. A native of Barrow-in-Furness, he made a life-long study of the history of the Furness Railway, undertaking extensive research into original records, including the diaries of William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire, who was the railway's chairman for 40 years. In addition to his extensive land and mineral interests in Fumess, the Duke was closely concerned with the establishment of Barrow's iron and steel industry with which the Furness Railway was intimately associated. Indeed, it can be said that through the interlocking interests of Cavendish and fellow directors, Barrow and the Fumess Railway were almost synonymous.
The railway opened in 1846, taking slate and iron ore from Furness quarries and mines for shipment at the tiny coastal village of Barrow. Progressively the line was extended up the Cumbrian coast, reaching the iron and coal mining area around Whitehaven, although it was eleven years before a southerly link was made with the London &North Western Railway at Carnforth. Meanwhile Barrow was developing at enormous speed, from a population of 100 in 1846 to over 47,000 by 1881, when iron and steel production was approaching its peak. By the end of the century it was undergoing a gradual decline and the last steelworks closed in 1963. Meanwhile shipbuilding had become the principal industry and Barrow was a major port.
Four of the book's 27 chapters are devoted to Barrow, its industries and docks. Others cover efforts to promote connecting railways to north-east England, culminating in the Furness & Midland joint line from Carnforth into Yorkshire; competition and railway politics in west Cumberland; shipping interests; the railway's role during World War I; and post-grouping developments up to the present day. We learn of the influence of Sir James Ramsden, the railway's general manager, local company director, the town's first mayor, and much else. What F. W. Webb was to the LNWR and Crewe, Ramsden was to the Furness Railway and Barrow. His able successor, Alfred Aslett, developed Lake District tourist traffic to offset the effects of the iron industry's decline.
Excellent photographs, many of historic value, and specially-drawn maps, some in colour, enhance this sumptuously-produced book. Yet despite the sub-title, it is mainly a business history, containing little about locomotives, rolling stock and train services, and nothing about constructing the line, its infrastructure, signalling and scenic routes. The dense text contains numerous lengthy verbatim extracts from minutes and reports, taking space which could have been used for other material, while a more comprehensive index would have aided reference. Michael Andrews died during the book's preparation, and one is left with the impression that the text is a first draft awaiting editing. Sadly, therefore, this account of an interesting, compact, regional railway is a disappointment.
London's railway heritage: architecture, engineering and industrial
archaeology, Vol. 1: East. Peter Kay. Wivenhoe: Author, 2012.
86pp, 272 photographs, 36 drawings, 17 maps & plans, paperback.
Reviewed by Matthew Searle.
Those familiar with the author's excellent previous volumes on Essex Railway Heritage will know what to expect here: a very well-illustrated gazetteer of historic railway infrastructure, meticulously referenced to original resources. The present volume covers the southern part of what was historically known as metropolitan Essex, between the boundaries ofthe City and the Greater London area. A number of the lines featured would lend themselves to the sort of exploration on foot that many Society members enjoy. Your reviewer, despite wandering the area over many years, now learns that he has missed much of interest and misinterpreted more, and looks forward to revisiting it with the book in hand, which is surely the best recommendation for this type of work.