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Book reviews — February 1998

'Dunn's of Bromley', by Christopher Salaman
Vintage Roadscene (ISSN 0266-8947), volume 14, number 53, December 1997 - February 1998, 2.20, pages 12-15
You will remember Chris Salaman from his fascinating talk on the road transport firm McNamara's which we heard as a GLIAS lecture at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School in October 1997. Before World War II McNamara's were situated near the present site of the Museum of London and the talk included background information on the area of London just north of the City. Here in this article Chris moves out to the suburbs at Bromley in Kent and deals with a firm which set up in 1710 as a household furnisher and draper.

The growth of population in the Bromley area in Victorian times led to Dunn's diversification into the household removal business and a large storage depository was established in Widmore Road, Bromley. Initially horse drawn transport was used but a Foden steam wagon was purchased about 1900 and this led to the use of this type for quite long distance removal work without the intermediate use of rail transport as was the case in horse-drawn days. Steam wagons continued in this role until after 1930. On average the removal distance was about 50 miles and they were allowed two days for a return journey to Brighton and three days for Hastings, as the road was more hilly. There was a constant problem of finding water for the engine. On a long journey, say to Devon, they could be away for two weeks. There was a speed limit of 12mph.

After the First World War internal combustion vehicles came into use in considerable numbers and a very varied fleet was acquired of which Chris Salaman gives an account in his article. Dunn's removal business was wound up during the Second World War and perhaps surprisingly was not restarted after hostilities came to an end. Sadly no Dunn's removal vehicle survives in preservation but at the Museum of London you can see a baker's handcart on display courtesy of Dunn's of Bromley. This is an interesting article of particular appeal to road-transport enthusiasts and the account of working steam wagons will probably have a wider audience.

In the same issue of Vintage Roadscene you will also find articles on British Lorries in Holland, restoration of a Leyland Titan PD2/40 bus, English Electric tramcars, the road Preservation Scene, restoration of a 1924 Albion van, restoration of an ex-Lowestoft AEC Regent II bus, filming trolleybuses and the Scammell Rigid Eight lorry which originated from Watford in 1937. There are numerous photographs of vans, buses and lorries etc. Vintage Roadscene is edited by S W Stevens-Stratten FRSA and is published quarterly. The article on English Electric trams is part one of a series. The English Electric Co Ltd was formed in 1919 by the amalgamation of Dick Kerr & Co, Siemens Brothers Dynamo Works, Stafford, the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company of Bradford and Willans and Robinson of Rugby. It is mentioned that Dick Kerr and Co built the first electric conduit tramway line in the world between Gravesend and Northfleet, Kent. Does any reader have more information on this technological first and are there any remains? For what period did it operate? Bob Carr


© GLIAS, 1998