Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society
Volume 32

Volume 31earlier Volumes

Volume 32 Number 163 March 1996

L.G. Booth. The Cubitts on the Great Northern Railway: one family or two? 3-11
This was prompted by the recent appearance of two publications with very different themes: first, the volume that covers Eastern and Central England in the Institution of Civil Engineers Civil Engineering Heritage Series, in particular the part of the volume that relates to the Great Northern Railway (GNR),' and, secondly, a paper by the author that describes the early glued laminated timber roof of Rusholme Road (Manchester) Congregational Sunday School (1864-1963). These two publications are tenuously linked by two members of the Cubitt families:
These two publications are tenuously linked by two members of the Cubitt families: Sir William Cubitt, Consultant to the GNR, was related by marriage to James Cubitt, who was in partnership with Henry Fuller, the architect for the Sunday School. The implications of the relationship on the design of the roof have been recently mentioned by the author:4during the investigation of the Sunday School roof the author was reminded of the long standing differences of opinion on the possible existence of a blood relationship between the family of Sir William and the family of Thomas Cubitt, the famous Victorian builder. Cubitt family relationships have been mentioned in many publications, and although there does not seem to he any disagreement about the internal family relationships, the possibility of a blood relationship between various Cubitt families has never been completely resolved.
The particular relationship investigated in this paper—whether two major consultants to the GNR in its early years, Sir William Cubitt (a civil engineer) and Lewis Cubitt (an architect and younger brother of Thomas), were uncle and nephew has been the subject of references in literature since at least as early as 1855. Until 1994 the differences of opinion have been confined to Building and Railway History literature, but Labrum recently espoused for the first time in Civil Engineering literature the opinion that Sir William was Lewis's uncle: before this view becomes firmly entrenched in this particular engineering discipline, it is timely to appraise the long standing evidence on the possible relationships between the families of Sir William and Thomas as perceived in contemporary and subsequent publications, and to attempt to resolve the issue.

Book Reviews. 66-

What's left of Brunel, Jonathan Falconer, Dial House (imprint of Ian Allan Ltd), 1995. 160 pp, profusely illustrated, card covers, , Reviewed by John Denton
This book has much more than the title implies. It contains a wealth of information on most of the major works of Brunel and many of the lesser known ones. The text is complemented by a very good selection of photographs, drawings, etc., many of which cover details not seen in previous books on Brunel. There are also data panels of various works, giving dimensions, costs, builders and other useful information. All these appear to be thoroughly researched, but just occasionally one sees an entry that niggles. One panel is titled 'The Achievements of Three of Brunel's Contemporaries'. The first is Thomas Telford and the first item in that list gives `Ellesmere Canal (1793-1805)'. Fair enough—but the next 'contemporary' is George Stephenson (1781-1848) and his entry also begins with 'Ellesmere Canal (1793-1805'. The plot thickens to absurdity when the third contemporary is 'Robert Stephenson (1803-59)' and again the first entry is 'Ellesmere Canal (1793-1805)'. In each case the rest of the entries do relate to the engineer in question and this repetition may be one of those things that happens in computer setting—but if it isn't readers will be wondering what part Robert Stephenson played in a work completed when he was two years old!
There are detailed instructions on how to locate the surviving remains of Brunel's work and altogether this would appear to be a very useful publication. As a final appraisal of Brunel, it would be interesting to know whether there were later imitators of his style and talent in the way that Charles Rennie Mackintosh is not being copied profusely in Glasgow and elsewhere. That might add greatly to consideration of 'what's left'

The Cleobury Mortimer & Ditton Priors Light Railway, M.R.C. Price, Oakwood Press, 1995, 88 pp, many photo illus plus maps and plans, card covers, Reviewed by Rex Christiansen. page 67
The first edition I bought was published in 1963 two years before the line closed— and had 28 pages. This, the third and revised edition, has 88 pages and many black and white illustrations: a comparison which reflects the continuing interest in the history of 13 miles of one of the most remote of English branch lines. Readers who may have earlier editions are left in no doubt about what the modestly priced revised edition offers.
I admire the honesty of the author in acknowledging that, in the years since the first edition was published, some excellent material on the line has appeared in print. He has not attempted to duplicate it, but, in his own words, simply enhanced and tidied up the original edition, made some significant text alterations and provided a new postscript and appendices. To go in search of the remains of the CM&DP and, perhaps, the equally rural Bewdley-Woofferton branch from which it stemmed, is to explore quiet and lovely countryside as unforgettable as the railway.
In a book dated 1995, it may seem a trifle disconcerting to find that the long and interesting postscript is headed 1992 and that the second introduction is dated March 1993, but these dates serve to underline an air of timelessness which was part of the character of this delightful Shropshire line.

Small mines of South Wales, A J. Booth, 96 pp, 241 x 182 mm, 124 photo illus, 33 plans, Industrial Railway Society, 13 Trinity Avenue, Bridlington, East Yorks, Y015 2HD, 1995, ISBN 0 901096 86 5 (casebound), Reviewed by Michael Hale. page 67
When the coal industry came under state control in 1947, the newly-formed National Coal Board did not wish to concern itself with the operation of small mines, which were therefore worked under licence by private owners or companies. With the passage of time, the number of mines, both large and small, has diminished considerably. It may come as a surprise to some readers that the 'two men and a pony' type of mine still survives.
The author devoted much time and effort to recording such mines in the 1980s and early 1990s and this book is the result. The locations of 32 mines are shown on a general map, and each one has a sketch plan showing site details. In each case, the track gauge is given and the method of working is described. The photographs are of good quality and two or three, sometimes more, are devoted to each mine. They show the men, the ponies, the equipment and the mud.
This is not a history book in the sense that it does not contain a comprehensive list of such mines, or a chronology. It is a fragment of reality, showing how things actually were at a certain period, and as such it will be valuable to posterity.