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Book reviews — April 2006

In August 1856 the Eastern Counties Railway opened their branch line to Loughton in what was then very rural Essex. Celebrations of the 150th anniversary will take place this summer in Loughton when vintage tube trains are expected to run to and from Loughton and Epping.

Loughton and District Historical Society's plans to publish a book to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Loughton Branch. The content has been finalised as follows:

A short general introduction by Ted Martin will give an overview of the branch during its 150-year history. Then 'Early Proposals for Railways in the Loughton Area' will be discussed by Ian Strugnell. After this, Chris Pond writes on 'The Railway and its Effect on Loughton' which will show how the development of Loughton was stimulated by the railway and how the decisions of the ECR/GER management determined the social make-up of the town.

Following this Ian Strugnell writes a review of complaints that were received in the early days and a passengers' rebellion followed by his brief history of Loughton's three stations, from the wooden ECR terminus on the site of the present Lopping Hall in Loughton High Road to the later station built as a result of the extension to Epping and Ongar and its 1940s LT replacement.

Harry Paar's seminal essay from his book on Loughton's first station is reprinted as is also his piece on the Recreation Ground for the use of excursionists to Epping Forest which was adjacent to the early station.

This is followed by 'Debates on Platforms' which is reprint of an article by Harry Paar which appeared in the Society's Newsletter in 1993, speculating on the arrangements for the staggered platforms and crossings on the branch in its early days, and the reply to this article by Chris Pond published at the time. Chris has also taken the opportunity to bring the information up to date by adding a note.

'Engines, Engineers and Rolling Stock' are tackled by Ted Martin to try to determine what was used on the railway from the early days to the present day and who was responsible for it. Also included are details of some incidents that occurred on the branch.

Ian Strugnell in the 'The Past in the Present' lists what can be seen from the window relating to the history of the branch on a journey undertaken today.

The final article by Ted Martin is a short biography of Edward Johnston, the designer of LT's typeface, Johnston Sans, and creator of the LT roundel or target logo.

The material will be supported by plans, maps and photographs.

The aim has been not to write a technical railway book but a general history including as much information about the personalities involved as can be obtained. Thus the locomotive engineers involved on the line and Horatio Love, chairman of the ECR and GER, and others, have potted biographies in the notes at the end of some of the articles.

The book will be about 90 pages A5 and should publish in the early summer. The pre-publication offer on the book is £7. The published price will probably be £8.50. You can reserve a copy from the LDHS website or by post to Loughton 150 Book, 34 Hornbeam Road, Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex CM16 7JX, giving your name, address, telephone number and/or email address. Do not send money now, you will be contacted when copies are available with the price and on receipt of your cheque, a copy will be sent to you.

Ted Martin

© GLIAS, 2006