Book reviews — April 1992
THE BRECON FOREST TRAMROADS (The Archaeology of an Early Railway System) By Stephen Hughes
Pub. by Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales. 1991.
It may seem odd to review a book on tramways in Wales in the GLIAS Newsletter, but every so often an IA book which sets new standards is published and everyone interested in IA should read it. Many of you will already know of Stephen Hughes either personally or as an AIA council member or through his earlier book, on the Montgomeryshire Canal. Stephen is responsible, as an Investigator, for IA projects of the Royal Commission in Wales, but the present volume is more than a professional duty, it is a ‘labour of love’.
In 366 pages he presents not the archaeology of Welsh early railway systems, particularly the Brecon, but also describes their planning, construction and engineering. Biographies of engineers are there too, so are descriptions of stock, buildings and equipment. There is an excellent appendix listing 124 significant early railway remains in Wales.
The book provides many new insights on the early history of railways in Britain and contains many photographs, some in colour. However a particularly fine aspect of the book is the excellent measured drawings of surviving remains and associated plans. From this information some excellent artists’ reconstructions have been made showing for example the principle of dredging and ironworks in operation.
This is a thoroughly commendable book and at only £14.95 in hardback by present standards a bargain. GLIAS have copies of the book available at this price, inclusive, from Nigel Sturt, GLIAS Booksales, 94 Springbank Rd, Hither Green, London SE13 6SX.
INDUSTRY AND ENTERPRISE. Bromley Borough Local History No. 9. pp. 64.
Bromley may not appear to be the most industrious of London’s boroughs, but these 13 essays go some way towards enlightening us about the industry in the borough. These range from electrical engineers to the Orpington Car. However the quality of the essays varies widely. Those on Fox’s Brewery, Green Street Green, St. Mary Cray Paper Mills, Thomas Graham Parish (remember his model railways?) by GLIAS member Dr. Eric Inman and Alexander Muirhead (electrical engineer) are of the most interest to the IA reader.
Copies can be obtained from GLIAS booksales (as above) at £3.25 inclusive. DAVID PERRETT
THE BUILDING OF BEDFORD PARK By T. and A. Harper Smith.
Bedford Park, Acton, was built by Jonathan Carr between 1875 and 1882 on marshland. The difficulties of drainage and finance, led to the eventual bankruptcy of the builder, who died in 1915 and his legacy to Bedford Park was an agglomeration of semi-detached houses ‘of a rather better sort’ as reported in the Acton Gazette. This interesting booklet has 43 A5 pages, including lists of builders and notes. At £3 inclusive from Dr. T. Harper Smith, 48 Perryn Road, London W3 7NA. EDITOR
© GLIAS, 1992