Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society 2014

Key file for access to Journal

Home page

No 219 (March 2014)

John van Laun. John Cooke Bourne (1814-1896), lithographer: Drawings of the London & Birmingham Railway (1836-1838). Chapter 1. 'The great excavations'. 2-17.
Covers the approach to Euston Station from the Regent's Canal at Camden Town. The wash drawings are housed in the National Railway Museum.

Ray Shill. James Bough (d.1796) and Samuel Bull (1727-1806), forgotten engineers of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. 18-26.

Pat Jones. The inception and demise of the Roman Fossdike. 26-31.

Michael Aufrere Williams. A difficult year in the history of the Whitby, Redcar & Middlesbrough Union Railway. 32-40.
The line involved major viaducts and a section along the cliffs between Sandsend and Kettleness which included a tunnel at Deepgrove which tended to fail and eventually led to the closure of the line. The engineers included Arthur Hamand who worked in conjunction with J.H. Tolmé. The unfortunate contractor was John Dickson partly due to the involvement of George Fraser. Includes a transcript of a Memorandum by T.E. Harrison dated 14 November 1883.

Peter Brown. Why did the Chester Canal fail? 42-4.

Robin Simmonds. Is there a Brunellian Viaduct at Tonmawr? 45-9.
Produes evidence to show that a timber viaduct constructed by the South Wales Mineral Railway may be buried within an embankment designed to replace it.

Obituary: Roger Davies. Matthew Searle. 50

Correspondence 51

Reviews 53

Carscapes: the motor car, architecture and landscape in England. Kathryn A. Morrison and John Minnis. Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in association with English Heritage, 400pp, Reviewed by Kevin Jones. 56
This stupendous study attempts in the authors' own words 'to retain a tight focus on the privately owned motor car' and its effects on English towns and countryside. Thus there is very little on the huge commercial vehicle industry which has dictated almost all road improvements and exacerbated the conflicts between the road lobbies and the residential lobbies.
The scholarly book is divided into two parts: the vehicle itself (from manufacture through to scrapping), and on the road, although it is not entirely clear whether this division is justified and there is some duplication. Some activities, notably traffic and parking, are further divided into two periods: pre and post World War 2. The authors, who are architectural historians with English Heritage, clearly identify the sections which they wrote, but there are no obvious transitions in style.
As the early cars lacked locks they required to be housed both at home and at their destinations. Thus car houses were constructed, garage was added to our vocabulary, and multi-storey car parks are nearly as old as motoring. Surprisingly, a few of the last are worth listing and the art deco Daimler Hire Garage (illustrated on page 166) is clearly a thing of beauty.
The authors describe and explain various trends, highlighting the contradictions. Cars were a hygienic replacement for the horse yet are major polluters. They promise freedom but have imposed severe restrictions on pedestrians. Now, with the growth of out-of-town shopping, they are causing town centres to decay.
The illustrations are integral to the study and are from many sources. Some are highly decorative, notably the covers of pre-World War 2 motoring journals, like Autocar, which were based on high quality commercial art. Many are highly illuminating like the aerial photograph showing the delineation of an expanded Ely from the Fens marked by a bypass. Some are surreal, notably those of urban motorways where the townscape has been ravaged. Possibly the book fails to illuminate some aspects of carscapes, such as tyre incinerators and the the quarries needed for construction. The authors note the lack of a bibliography equivalent to Ottley, but praise the RCHS for its efforts. There are over a thousand footnotes and these extend to 18 pages. There is an eleven-page bibliography and one of the best indexes to appear in a book on transport.

East Coast Main Line disasters. Adrian Gray. Pendragon Publishing. 96pp. Reviewed by Philip L. Scowcroft.
This book concentrates on one particular major route afflicted by many significant disasters which have long claimed historians' attention: several at Welwyn, one of the many places which recur through the book; Abbots Ripton (1876); Thirsk (1892); and in recent years, Hatfield, Potters Bar and Great Heck. The book also deals in some detail with many lesser but still important accidents and incidents.
The opening chapter recounts many instances of, for example, railwaymen being killed going to and from work. It is well to be reminded that though fatalities and injuries to passengers are properly viewed with concern, over the years fatalities to railwaymen far outstrip them. The following chapters are divided logically, though overlap is inevitable, into: drivers' errors (by far the largest); signalmen's failures; track failures; careless shunting; technical failures (to infrastructure, engines and boilers, wheels, and goods wagons); weather and natural disaster (fog, snow and extreme cold, extreme heat, water); railwaymen's deliberate dereliction of duty; and external causes as diverse as terrorism (IRA 1939), sabotage (General Strike 1926), loose objects, fire, and vehicles on the tracks. The final chapter, 'Cause Unknown' concentrates on Tuxford (1857), Goswick (1947) and primarily Grantham (1906).
That the book has only 96 pages is deceptive as the format is roughly A4 and double-column. The illustrations (34 photographs and 12 artistic impressions) are well produced. There is no bibliography as such, but each chapter has full end-notes. Strongly recommended; perhaps the last word in a restricted, albeit major, field.

Cover images:

Front: The Station at Euston Square' (T T Bury, The London and Birmingham Railroad, 1837). See pp. 2-17

Back: Tiled map of the North Eastern Railway, c.1900 (top). See pp. 32-41

The so-called 'Magic Roundabout' at Swindon (lower). See p. 56

Number 220 (July 2014)

Adrian Shooter. The process of privatisation — the Chiltern Railways example. 66-73.
2013 Clinker Lecture presented on 28 September 2013 at the Birmingham & Midland Institute.

Lucy Lead. 'They flow for country and people': landowners and early canal development in England. 73-68.

Tim Edmonds. Change and interchange: the evolution of the M4 motorway at Maidenhead. 90-103.

John van Laun. John Cooke Bourne (1814-1896), lithographer: Drawings of the London & Birmingham Railway (1836-1838). Chapter 2. Euston station to Primose Hill tunnel. 104-20.
This is a remarkable survey of Bourne's meticulous observations on the construiction and early operation of the Euston terminus including the great entrance portico demolished by a nation of iconoclasts and on page 116 the almost comparable grandeur of Bury 2-2-0 No. 32 waiting to takeover a train which has been hauled up the incline from the terminus.

Obituary Kenneth Seaward. 120

Correspondence. 121-5.

A review of the Beeching era. Allen Brackenbury

Reviews. 126-8.

Loco Motion: the world's oldest steam locomotives. Michael R Bailey. History Press. 216pp, Reviewed by Miles MacNair.
Michael Bailey, a past president of the Newcomen Society, is not only a lucid writer about the history of transport development but also an extremely practical, hands-on engineer. He is doubtless well-known to many members for the publication of his forensic autopsy (with John P Glithero) of Robert Stephenson's iconic Rocket locomotive on behalf of the National Railway Museum in 2000. In his new book he expands this principle to review all early locomotives — pre 1850 — that still survive, either in their complete state or as components, including nameplates. He then expands the range to include 'replicas', or more correctly 'reproductions', of certain engines, pointing out that these working machines have to use substitute materials — because the originals, such as wrought iron boiler plates, are no longer available — and include additional, modem features for reasons of 'health and safety'. With regard to 'originals', he stresses the important point that survivors had themselves undergone modifica- tions and improvements during their working lifetime, such that what we see now may be very different to that which had originally been designed and built. These are then analysed with the expertise of an engineering pathologist. The chapter structure divides the subjects into logical 'species groupings', ranging from 'The Trevithick Progenitors 1803-1808' through the Stephenson and Rastrick locomotives, the 'Planets', 'Patentees', 'Bury', 'Crewe' etc types, to the rugged, long-lived range of mineral locomotives built up to 1850. Unlike more parochial publications, he covers examples from all over the world, including France, Germany, Chile and Russia, with particular emphasis on the USA, from their progenitors (both imported and indigenous) to the 'classic' American 4-4-0 via the significant 'Norris' types. Each example through- out the book is accompanied by a useful panel giving an historical ownership time-line, condensed facts on dimensions and design details, and display locations, both past and present. An appendix to the book lists all museums that display pre-1850 locomotives, components and replicas. Although there is no index as such, there is a staggeringly comprehensive seven page 'bibliography' of data sources. Printed on 'art-paper' throughout, production standards are excellent, with 21 pages of colour plates and masses of crisp black & white photographs, diagrams and drawings within the text. This important, comprehensive addition to the history of early locomotives cannot be recommended too highly.

The country railway. Tim Bryan. Shire Publications, 64pp.  Revewed by David St. John Thomas
With over 200,000 of my own The Country Railway sold, I've often felt that it was the last word on the  subject. But the excellent Shire Library's tightly compressed series has covered the subject. And extremely well it has done so.
The Shire books are only 64 pages including the index, but they are more than excellent introductions to the subject. The new The Country Railway is outstanding value at £6.99, and covers its subject surprisingly well in so limited a space. Illustrations are original and well-produced, there's a good human element, and much to learn.
The cover shows a cattle market with trucks ready to load, and hardly an aspect of the subject is not covered in the text. There is even an enterprising list of places to visit, and a good bibliography which includes my own title by the same name.
Shire books have created an enviable reputation,and I've never been disappointed by one. The inside back cover is devoted to other titles that readers might like, showing something of the depth of the Shire Library. It really is an admirable institution, and one could do worse than get a list of the titles and purchase those of personal interest.

Number 220 (July 2014)

John Hore - Man of mystery? Man of genius! - Mike Corfield 142

Closing a line before Beeching : the end of the Whitby-Loftus line - Michael Aufrere Williams 149

Additional observations on Tring summit water supplies - Alan Richardson 159

John Cooke Bourne (1814-1896), lithographer: Drawings of the London & Birmingham Railway (1836-1838). Chapter 3 - John van Laun 170

Understanding the history of aquatic plants in canals: the example of the Chesterfield and Cromford Canals in Derbyshire - Raymond Goulder 182 'Remembrance of a riot' 193

Obituary (David St John Thomas) 194

Correspondence 196

Reviews 200

Cover images: Front: 'Near Newbury'. Painting by John Linnell of a river scene with a swivel bridge (© Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge). See pp. 142-148

Back: Members of the London Group of the R&CHS on a visit to Tringford pumping. station and other neighbouring sites, July 1964 (© Alan Richardson) See pp. 159-169