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Book reviews — August 1982

Most Splendid of Men, Life in a Mining Community 1917-25 by Harold Brown
Blandford Press 1981 186pp illustrated £4.95 hardback
This is an autobiographical account of life in a N. Staffordshire mining community in the period following the First World War. Despite the author's promise at school he was not permitted to continue his education, but was made to go down the pit — Silverdale — even though he had started work as a shop assistant. Chapter titles give an idea of the subsequent contents; Leaving School, First Shift at the Pit, The Work of Two Boys, Ripping Dirt and Waggoning, On the Face, Tightening Our Belts, Pumping, 'Hooker-Up', A Gob Fire!, Liberty and Epilogue. This is rather a personal account.

Harrods the Store & the Legend by Tim Dale
Pan original (paperback) 1981 149pp illustrated £1.95
The chapter — The History of Harrods, pp5-57 — with sketch plans of the site showing how the Store grew over the years looks useful. The aptly named 'Vital Statistics & Useless Information' is fascinating: for instance 'in 1963 the Store used 8,000 miles of string'. Good reading for Harrods buffs including those going on the Conference visit on September 9.

Taking the Plunge, The Architecture of Bathing by SAVE
1982 24pp illustrated £2 from SAVE, 3 Park Square West, NW1
From May to July this year SAVE had another of their excellent exhibitions, this, time on Swimming Baths, Bath Houses and associated buildings. This is the by-product and should particularly interest GLIAS members as it deals with Public Wash Houses (What can he mean? Ed.) An added bonus is a check list of Public Baths in England & Wales up to 1939. Thank you Colin Bowden for bringing this to my notice. Bob Carr

Britain's Maritime Heritage by Robert Simper
David & Charles 1982 392pp £11.95
Being Maritime England year there are a whole spate of books on the sea and ships however, Robert Simper is a well-known author of maritime books and has done a good job in this volume putting the emphasis on maritime heritage, rather than just the craft. As an Industrial Archaeologist it is pleasing to see chapters on harbours and docks, shipbuilders, etc., much of the chapter on Docks being devoted to our own London Dockland. The chapters on craft and ships is well illustrated with line drawings explaining the types of craft and riggings; the importance of the fishing industry is also well documented and, like the other chapters, is not purely historical, but comes right up to date. The last 90 pages form a substantial gazetteer with short introductions to all the significant ports and harbours as well as any preserved craft to be found in them. London's entries includes Roman boat sites, Thames Bridges, Docklands (North & South), Southwark, Stratford, Teddington and The Embankment. This book is not free of mistakes, but it is an excellent background to the subject and is illustrated with many black and white pictures plus a number of colour plates, also, today 392 pages for £12 is good value.

Tunnels Under London by Nigel Pennick
28pp 1981 £1
This book details the tunnels built beneath the capital for railways, roads, under river sewers air raid shelters and nuclear bunkers. Although railways form the greater part of the text, there are lots of interesting facts about the other lesser-known tunnels, but one suspects from the author's approach that there are many facts withheld from the public about some holes in the ground. The volume is small, but the text is closely printed and includes a number of unpublished maps, plus rare photographs. Dave Perrett

© GLIAS, 1982