Arts and Literature
Countryside and Nature
New Fiction and Bestselling Fiction
New UK Titles
Pre - Publication Orders
Top Children's UK
Top Biography and History UK
Top Non Fiction UK
View All Titles
Bradshaw's Railway Handbook 1,2,3,4 - Facsimile
Bradshaw's Railway Handbook 1,2,3,4 - Facsimile
Bradshaw's Handbook deserves a place on the bookshelf of any traveller, railway enthusiast, historian or anglophile.
Produced as the British railway network was reaching its zenith, and as tourism by rail became a serious pastime for the better off, it was the first national tourist guide specifically organized around railway journeys, and to this day offers a glimpse through the carriage window at a Britain long past. This is a facsimile of the actual book - often referred to as 'Bradshaw's Guide' - used in the 'Great British Railway Journeys' television series, possibly the only surviving example of the 1863 edition. Bradshaw's Handbook was regularly updated, with the journeys featured, and the remarks made, differing between editions. This is the only available version of the 1863 edition.
130mm x 180mm hardback
With just four short paragraphs to give the hurrying railway tourist the essence of Carlisle (population about 29,417) Bradshaw’s Railway Hand-book of 1863 devoted one fifth of its entry to fancy biscuits.
One paragraph told of its history from the days of the Romans and the court of King Arthur to the manufacture of “cottons, ginghams, chintzes, checks and hats”. Dixon’s eight sided chimney was justly celebrated for its 305 feet and a ten-mile railway ran to Bowness at the end of the Roman wall.
The “lately restored and much embellished Cathedral” merited a paragraph to itself whilst the Moot Hall, “the extensive pile” of the Court House and the County Gaol (cost £100,000) Eden Bridge, the Library and the County Hospital and the Grammar School, and the Dispensary, where, in 1788, “a child was born without any brain and lived for six days”, are crammed into the next paragraph.
And those fancy biscuits? “They are produced in a most complete state, all by machinery, and to an extent that would astonish the visitor.” If even “the most fastidious” visitor at Messrs Carrs would find “the most scrupulous cleanliness being observed throughout the whole works”.
The railway journey westwards would take everyone, including the most fastidious, through the stations at Dalston, for Rose Castle, and Curthwaite, by Crofton Hall, the home of Sir W. Brisco, Bart. to Wigton. Its 4,701 inhabitants are employed in the cotton trade. Clark the poet and Smirke the painter were natives and the town was burnt by the Scots in 1322.
Travelling on, the rail passenger might alight at Leegate or at Brayton Hall, the “beautiful seat of Sir W. Lawson, Bart. with a superb picture gallery.”
The 1210 people in Aspatria are “principally engaged in the quarries of red-stone and coal-pits” .
Eighty years before Maryport was occupied by one house called Valencia and a few miserable fishermen’s huts. “The town is extremely pleasant; its streets are wide and the houses neatly built.” J. Senhouse, Esq. “owns the town”.
Workington, “a coal port and market town” belongs to the Curwens of Workington Hall.” Here is an old church, . . . five chapels, corn market, assembly rooms, theatre custom house, grammar school, custom house, harbour, three-arched bridge, coal-mines, gas works, lighthouse (built in 1825, with two lights, and seen upwards of eleven miles distant) shipbuilding yards, &c.” Its 6, 467 population are employed in “the coasting and timber trade, salmon fishing and straw-plait manufacturing”.
Whitehaven is “regularly built of houses covered with slate”; and in Keswick, we are told, “good, cheap lodgings are abundant in this place”. Allonby “is remarkable for its sea-bathing qualifications, for which it is much frequented in the summer season”.
Much has changed since Bradshaw’s offered their potted biography of every town on every railway line, listing their chief hotels and their market days.
I wonder if the original editors ever imagined that one hundred and fifty years later an elegantly-clad politician manqué would retrace their rolling wheels throughout the length and breadth of the country, clutching their dumpy little passengers’ Bible.
Michael Portillo’s copy is a scarred and battered original, no doubt thumbed and marked and dog-eared by generations of well-informed passengers. But, as always, in response to television’s magic, an enterprising publisher has reprinted the redundant original. It provides an entertaining view of the way our county, and the rest of the country, once appeared in the days of Queen Victoria.
I’m left wondering what it was that made those fancy biscuits in Carlisle so extra special. They were certainly the most noteworthy thing in all of canny old Cumberland.
DVDs & CDs