GLIAS

GREATER LONDON INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY

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Book reviews — October 1981

AN ENTERPRISING SURREY PUBLISHER
Living History Publications has just issued its Local Guide No. 5, a very nicely produced 64-page booklet devoted to Epsom Common. Written by members of the Epsom Common Association, it traces the area's history in considerable detail. For us, there is an account of the Epsom & Leatherhead Railway cut across the common in the 1850s and details of the windmill whose life ended spectacularly a century ago by fire. A brickfield flourished for over 200 years, its products gradually supplanting the vernacular building tradition of timber framing and weatherboarding. Grandiose plans for a 300 foot wide London-Portsmouth Ship Canal crossing the common would have transformed its character, but came to nothing. Accounts of local life and inhabitants put a body around the bare bones of history and the booklet is well illustrated with maps, photographs and sketches. It can be obtained from booksellers at 1.10, or by post, from Living History Publications, 249 High Street, Croydon at 1.29. Due out very, soon is a history and "pilgrim's guide" for the Surrey Iron Railway (by our Derek Bayliss, more news of that anon) and future plans include, an account of the Croydon Canal. MIKE BUSSELL

CENTENARY OF SERVICE: A HISTORY OF ELECTRICITY IN THE HOME, by Anthony Byers
1 post free from the Electricity Council, 30 Millbank, London SW1P 4RD
A bargain not to be missed. 96 pages, generously illustrated, to mark the centenary of electricity generation for public supply. The first few pages give a very potted history of electricity, but the bulk of the book tells the story of electrical appliances in the home. What does an electric mousetrap look like? Who invented the coal effect electric fire and why? The answers are here, but more seriously the book outlines how much more comfortable our homes have become and how much easier our domestic chores, because of the advent of electricity. DEREK BAYLISS


© GLIAS, 1981