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Book reviews — August 1988

Gower Publishing Company, 1987. Paperback £15.00
This book has come to my notice in a publisher's catalogue at work. It seems worth noting.

To quote the publisher's blurb — 'There is a growing interest in the history of business not only by academic historians but also by general enthusiasts, business organisations and those interested in the development of a particular business sector.

'This guide aims to outline the principal source materials available for researching the history of a business and as such teaches a procedure for the search rather than answering any particular enquiry.'

The author is archivist at Baring, Brothers & Co. Ltd. BILL FIRTH

The fourth edition of Douglas Rose's interesting map in the series on the history of the London Underground is now available. It consists of a large wall-map with notes and dates of the opening and closure (where appropriate) of each station and route of the system. This informative and well-produced document is available from Douglas Rose, 35 Summers Lane, N. Finchley, London N12 OPE. Folded copies price £3.95 plus 75p postage and packing. Flat copies are £3.50 each plus £1 post and packing. EDITOR

Pub. by Batsford 1988. pp.120, Hardback. Price £10.95
Members who attended the GLIAS AGM heard Dr. Course's lecture on the subject of this book, illustrated by a fine collection of photographs. The book is in what has come to be a standard Batsford format for photographic studies, though there is rather more text than one might expect. The introduction is followed by chapters covering Central London, North and West London, North and East London, South East London and South West London. The format is the same throughout for each chosen location, illustrated by two or more photographs usually taken from the same spot at some time in the past and more recently; there is a potted history and a description of the differences to be seen in the photographs. The selection includes views to show changes in trains, in station architectures in signalling, in the general street scene, etc. The first three chapters deal with ten locations each, while the last two deal, with nine each. Most locations show major changes, the more dramatic having taken place in the last thirty years or so. Honor Oak station in 1954 looks hardly different from Honor Oak in 1922 yet ten years later all is lost beneath encroaching wilderness. Dr. Course contrasts events north and south of the river and the differing policies of the companies to suburban traffic. He concentrates on the passenger business, including LT, almost to the exclusion of goods train or depot, photographs, despite their importance, though he does mention various goods depots and workings in the test. As he explained in his AGM lecture there is a general dearth of photographic material depicting goods depots, but surely not of goods trains. But this is a minor point in an enjoyable book. I was more disappointed by the quality of reproduction of some of the photographs, an unhappy trend with this type of book by publishers anxious to keep down costs. It seems to me to be more like spoiling the ship for a ha'porth of tar. This is a book to dip into rather than to read from cover to cover, I'm sure it will bring back many memories to older GLIAS members and will show the younger ones what they have missed. TIM SMITH

LONDON'S LOST RIVERSCAPE. By Chris Ellmers and Alex Werner
Viking 1980. 124pp. 53 main illustrations. £14,95, (ISBN 0 670 81263 3)
Before World War II the Port of London handled one third of all the trade of the United Kingdom. In 1937 the Port of London Authority had made a panoramic photographic survey of both banks of the Thames from London Bridge to Greenwich and for this book, selections have been reproduced with annotations. What a delight this collection of double-page photographs is! Not only are there notes on the buildings and fixed structures but ships caught by the camera are also described. A feast of this order scarcely needs recommending to GLIAS members. For anyone interested in the East of London this is a most. BOB CARR

© GLIAS, 1988