Monday, 13 February 2012

Dickens London

Very rarely I'll do a book review here - this is one of those occasions.
Whilst dropping in on my parents to scrounge free food and tea, I spotted a book on my mother's 'to read' pile. Dickens's Victorian London is a real gem of a book: short extracts from his novels followed by a number of contemporary photos with extended captions. There are a handful of railway based examples, mainly construction subjects, but what grabbed me were the photos like the above of ordinary Londoners going about their business and social activities. From slums to dock-building. Most of course are posed, but the wealth of detail is absorbing. The anti-heath & safety document above is worth ten minutes study. The gib crane, and the barrel walk are enough, but the thing which jumps out are the rarely modeled deflection stones... added too late for the protection of the corner. Note also the large sash windows on the first floor and the smaller security conscious ones at ground level. No this is not a railway book, but modellers are by nature also social historians by default so this for background information is worth every penny - even better if it's on loan.


  1. It's interesting that the crane folds inside the building rather than being fitted on the outside. Thus when the doors are shut, it isn't visible.

  2. Less for Bill Sykes to hang himself on I suppose - bit of forward planning.