Home | Membership | News | Diary | Walks | Calvocoressi Fund | Books | Links | Database | e-papers | About us

Book reviews — December 1980

GUIDE TO ENGLAND'S INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE by Keith Falconer, introduction by Neil Cossons
Batsford 1980 270 pp £9.95
Once there was a series on the IA of Britain which was to have as its first volume a general introduction. The series was very slow in materialising and the volumes that did appear (six only) received very varying reviews and with the recent appearance of this volume the 'first' became the last since Batsford's have terminated the series. Keith Falconer is well known to GLIAS members being the survey officer of the National Industrial Monuments Survey based on Bath University. Using the national survey he has put some 2,000 of the best sites into this county by county gazetteer. The coverage is good, it surprised me with a few sites in London, the photographs are well reproduced and the text conveys just the right amount of information. The book has the potential to be an IA classic, but is ruined by being assembled in an apparent hurry. The proof reading was non-existent. The Guardian's perfect compared to this volume. It is marred by too many simple avoidable mistakes; GLIAS Journal is published by Enfield Archaeological Society, there is one engine in Tower Bridge, etc. It suffers also from being just a little out of date. It is a shame that it will not go into a second edition to correct these errors and that we will never have the fuller volumes on some of the, as yet totally uncovered counties, such as ............ DAVE PERRETT

Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung Berlin 1978
This lavishly produced book of excellent monochrome and colour photographs by Manfred Hamm deals with the IA of West Berlin. Text, in English and German, is by Gunther Kühne and there is a foreword by Richard Schneider. Berlin has become Germany's largest industrial city, a status still maintained today by West Berlin alone. The striking photographs in this book illustrate the surprising amount of IA extant. There is a group of industrial archaeologists in West Berlin with problems perhaps not unlike ours. The aim of the book is to draw attention to the 19th and early 20th century heritage with a view to conservation. This it achieves, looking at the photographs one is tempted to plan an IA holiday there. BOB CARR

Published by Northgate Publishing & obtainable from Mechanical Engineering Publications of Bury St Edmunds at £11.95
In reviewing this book I feel I should first declare an interest as my name appears in the acknowledgements, but the authors thanks were generous as I contributed only a little bit of enjoyable detective work to confirm their research. I am happy, however, to see my name in a book which manages to be both scholarly and readable. William Symington was a somewhat shadowy figure before Bill and Geoff got to work on him, but the engineer born at Leadhills in the wild lead mining valley of Scotland emerges from their patient research as a most interesting character, making this a book on a par with Dickinson & Titley's biography of Symington's contemporary Richard Trevithick. Although it has proved impossible to prove that Symington 'invented' the steam boat, this biography contributes much to the history of industry and engineering at an early and interesting stage in their development. A good idea to read it if you have any chance of visiting Scotland in 1981, with the help of the excellent museum of mining at Wanlockhead it will give you a clear picture of the importance of early industrial development in this remote area, together with an idea of working conditions 200 years ago. Not, on the face of it, a cheap book, but it is the product of several years' research and unusually well presented: the antithesis of a paperback, it is a volume any industrial archaeologist would be proud to give or receive. BRENDA INNES

Published by him at 35 Summers Lane, North Finchley, N12 0PE
Is exactly what the name implies: a diagram of the entire London underground railway system with opening dates and sometimes closing dates for all the stations. Although well produced and in a portable format and must have involved the author in a considerable amount of research, at £2.95 plus postage it seems a lot to pay for something with only a limited use or interest. It would make a marvellous adjunct to a history of the London Underground, perhaps I could pass this broad hint to the author. BRENDA INNES

© GLIAS, 1980