Book reviews — February 1980
OLD AND NEW CROYDON ILLUSTRATED Croydon Advertiser
1979. Available from bookshops
This is a facsimile reprint of a book published in 1894 by the Advertiser's then editor, Jesse Ward, who probably wrote the text. Some of his story needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and the text is a strange mixture of sober factual accounts of public buildings and services (including gas and water supply) and murders, fires and other excitements. The illustrations particularly commemorate the present East Croydon Station, built that year and the redevelopments, then in progress, at the West side of the High Street and the market area behind it. The 1894 advertisements include a choice one by Sainsbury's and several by manufacturers, depositories, a lavender distillery and a Steam Rustic and Horticultural Builders".
VICTORIAN CROYDON ILLUSTRATED Edited by John B. Gent M.C.1T for the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society
1979 £1.50 Available through bookshops.
104 illustrations of old Croydon, mostly unfamiliar and a short but interesting text. Some of the illustrations are of industrial interest, ranging from vanished windmills and smithies to the reconstruction of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham in 1853 and there are some particularly choice photos in the final section on transport. Derek Bayliss
THE INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY OF REIGATE AND BANSTEAD DISTRICT compiled by Derek Stidder
1979 20 pages
The Surrey Industrial History Group sprang from a series of IA evening classes at the University of Surrey and before it is even officially formed, which is this April; it has produced its first publication. This booklet came off the Press immediately before the Kingston Workshop, where it received a warm welcome. The gazetteer follows the usual format being broken down into sections on the various industries and including 109 sites. An excellent first publication covering townships just outside GLIAS's area and therefore of particular appeal to members in the South and South West of London. Available from GLIAS, 20 Commonwealth Way, Abbey Wood, London SE2 at 75p + 15p.
EDWARDIAN INVENTIONS, An Extraordinary Extravaganza of Eccentric Ingenuity by Rodney Dale & Joan Gray
1979 Star Books 156 pages £2.95
In the years 1901-1905 over 140,000 British Patents were granted. GLIAS member Joan and her co-author are to be congratulated on their stamina — they read every specification — and the book they produced is superb. A number of similar books on the Victorian period have covered just the quirky invention, but here we have a well-studied sample ranging from the Wright Brothers glider to Wainwright's Improved Closet Seat to Prince Synd Hozoor Meerza's Improved Hat (it had a clockwork fan built in to cool the scalp). The book is great fun to read, but also well researched, analysed and introduced. At £2.95 for a large-format, profusely illustrated work it is a bargain.
P.S. If any member can explain Huish & Steven's Device for Preventing Self Abuse in Horses, which is so constructed that while the act is attempted an electric shock is administered and electric bell rings, to Dean she will be glad to hear. Dave Perrett
© GLIAS, 1980