Book reviews - June 2000
'Industrial Buildings', by Michael Stratton
Published by E & F N Spon, March 2000, £45. Hardcover - 256 pages (ISBN 0419236309)
The adaptive re-use of industrial buildings has been a positive aspect of conservation planning and architecture for over two decades. This book gives guidance as to the types of building stock offering greatest potential for conversion, that are likely to be viable and sustainable. With chapters contributed by experts in the field, the team of authors included historians, researchers, conservationists, designers and entrepreneurs. The book covers a range of issues from analysis of different types of industrial building and conservation policy to a case study section presenting successful initiatives in different environments and countries.
'To Western Scottish Waters: By Rail and Steamer to the Isles', by Robert N Forsythe
The 176-page hardback book (ISBN 0752417193), published March 2000 by Tempus Publishing Ltd, costs £19.99
This book is a well illustrated pictorial history of rail and sea travel in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland from the first paddle steamer - PS Comet of 1812 - to the present day. PS Waverley, the Caledonian Steam Packet, has its history retold, together with many other vessels such as the Puffer cargo steamers which have plied between the islands, including a cruise vessel which was once a Tilbury to Gravesend ferry. The railway, which reached Oban from Glasgow in 1880, has its land cruises very well illustrated with both the lines from Oban and the Fort William to Mallaig described. Anyone who loves Scotland will enjoy this book, which is illustrated with many old photographs and advertising leaflets as well as more recent photographs. Charlie Thurston
'The Millennium Dome', by Elizabeth Wilhide
The 191-page hardback book (ISBN 0-00-220170-4) is published by HarperCollins. £19.99
As a structure the Dome is amazing. Whatever your views on the political and monetary aspects, the engineering and tight time schedule to bring it into being is almost unbelievable. With government indecision on site and budget eating away at the millennium deadline, final design ideas for the structure could not be finalised. Once those decisions were taken it became a race against time to complete the structure. The book covers this race with chapter titles such as 'The birth of the Dome', 'Running the project', 'Siteworks', and many more. As well as text, some 250 excellent photographs of the work in progress are included. They show the construction of the 12 steel masts at the Bolton works of Watson Steel. They also won the cabling contract which was sub-contracted to Briden International from Doncaster. Every part of the construction is followed photographically - 8,000 piles were driven in 13 weeks, all masts were erected in two weeks. The very special relationship that developed between the various contractors was evidently unique. The cover price may seem high but the quality of the book is worth it. It is possible to get a copy at much less than the asking price - it is on the 50% off list at Sussex Stationers. D I Dawson
'Building Tate Modern', by Rowan Moore and Raymund Ryan with contributions from Adrian Hardwicke and Gavin Stamp
The 200-page paperback book (ISBN 1-85437-292-0), published by Tate Gallery Publishing, costs £25
This book follows the transformation of the brick power station on Bankside into the Tate Modern art gallery by Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron. Of particular interest to industrial archaeologists is Gavin Stamp's chapter on 'Giles Gilbert Scott and Bankside Power Station', featuring many historic photographs and design plans (including a rejected two-chimney proposal). Throughout the book are beautiful photographs of Bankside from prior to its construction from 1948 through to all stages of its recent conversion.
'Alexander Raby, Ironmaster', edited by Glenys Crocker
Published by Surrey Industrial History Group, price £7.50. Available from Glenys Crocker, 6 Burwood Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 2SB. Cheques payable to Surrey Industrial History Group
The proceedings of a Surrey Industrial History Group conference held in November 1998.
© GLIAS, 2000