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GREATER LONDON INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY

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Book reviews — April 1977

Old Postcard Views, From the Walter Dowsett Collection No. 1 River Thames
Compiled by Alan Cordell, Peter Ferguson, Alan Pearsall, Published by Nautical Pictorial, 17 Court Way, Twickenham, Middlesex TW2 7SA at £1.50 (plus 30p for postage and packing).
This is the first of a series of books, others in preparation will cover the rivers and coasts of Essex and Kent, of old postcard views of early sailing craft collected by Walter Dowsett over many years. Most of the cards in his collection date from before the First World Wars there are over 600 views of sailing barges alone. The book contains a selection of 60 views of the Thames from Southend to Hampton between 1902 and 1914. Sailing barges, which until 1914 were the major carriers of bulky materials such as bricks from the Kent and Essex brickfields to London and hay for London’s horse-drawn traffic, figure prominently. Some of the views show paddle steamers carrying passengers on the River, Tower Bridge raised for all sorts of commercial traffic, much activity in the Pool, now things of the past, and Thames side warehouses many of which have now disappeared. The pictures are interspersed-with quotations about the Thames and clearly drawn maps, which unfortunately do not always tie up with the pictures. A key to the views describes most of them in some detail, particularly the barge history and trade.

The book clearly shows the value of such old picture card views to the industrial archaeologist in illustrating, for example, old forms of transport, types of trade and long-gone buildings and a collection of views of a particular area over a number of years can show changes in buildings, etc. Good value for £1.50. Robert Vickers

The Bourne Society is the local history society for the Purley, Coulsdon and Sanderstead areas of Croydon and adjoining areas of Surrey including Caterham and Godstone. It publishes a yearly 'Local History Record' and the latest volume (XVI, 1977) is excellent value at 20p for 38 pages of text and illustrations (25p post free from 17 Manor Avenue, Caterham, Surrey), it includes articles on Leigh Mill, Godstone; the train-mounted Purley anti-aircraft light in World War I; and Edward VIII pillar box; local lunatic asylums and two local firms. All earlier volumes are still in print at the same prices. Articles of some IA interest includes:

  • Vol. II 1963 Caterham & Warlingham Caves (sand mines)
    Local Windmills (abridged from Farries & Mason)
  • Vol. IV 1965 Memories of Riddlesdown Quarry
  • Vol. V 1966 The First Transatlantic Television Broadcast
    Early Radio Broadcasts
    First Buses
  • Vol. VI 1967 R.A.F. Henley 1917-1966
  • Vol. VII 1968 Living Crafts (sheep-farming, musical instruments)
    The World’s First Public Railway (excavation of track at Merstham)
  • Vol. VIII 1969 Further Secrets of Caterham Caves
    Living Crafts (Bellfounding, by the Master Founder of Whitechapel Bell Foundry)
  • Vol. XI 1972 Tollgates
    Coulings of Caterham (corn & seed merchants)
  • Vol. XII 1973 Sir Edward Banks 1770-1835
    The Dairymen of Coterham
  • Vol. XIII 1974 Chipstead Water Mill
  • Vol. XIV 1975 Street Furniture
  • Vol. XV 1976 Our Bridges
    Alexander Braid (editor-publisher of Caterham Weekly Press 1898-1909)


  • © GLIAS, 1977