From the thousands of old railway photographs which he has examined Jeoffry Spence has selected those of social and human rather than purely technical interest. As well as sections on Locomotives, Rolling Stock, Staff and Uniforms and Track Construction, there are chapters on the Services which grew up to cater for the newly-mobile and on the Excursions made possible by the spread of the railways -from a visit to Doncaster Races by Edward VII on a Royal train to one of the first ‘football specials’ at Park Royal in 1908.
The years covered by this book were prosperous ones for the many different railway companies: The Great Western, The Highland, The London Chatham &. Dover and the South Eastern, to name only some of the famous. Railway Hotels were built, Railway Buses provided inter-station transport and even sightseeing tours in London, and Railway Steamers made the connection with Ireland and the Continent or with the terminals for transatlantic liners. Jeoffry Spence, who has had a lifelong interest in railways and was an assistant curator at the Clapham Museum of British Transport for over 20 years, has written a knowledgeable Introduction and Commentaries which admirably complement the illustrations. What emerges is an affectionate picture of British railways in the days before standardization.