The Centenary of Railways by Anon, 1925, London Midland & Scottish Railway 1925 [ebook]


The Centenary of Railways by Anon, 1925, London Midland & Scottish Railway 1925.Paperback book, 9.75”x 7.25”, 40 pages 13 B&W illustrations plus two large folding plates in B&W of the well-known Ackerman prints depicting early trains on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.  

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A slightly odd publication this, bearing as it does no credit for authorship or design. It was printed by the Midland Railway’s favourite  printer, Bemrose of Derby who might well have been able to undertake both tasks, rather than the one of the former LNWR printers of choice located close to Euston Station. The introduction, unusually given a month –July as well as a year date, is by H.G. Burgess, General Manager,  and one wonders if the publication was sponsored by the Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Dept. of the LMS at Derby. Why might this be the case? Well the British Empire exhibition at Wembley, where the LMS made a poor showing compared to the Great Western and the L.N.ER, who both exhibited magnificent modern locomotives was approaching the close of its second year. In July, the LNER was gaining tremendous publicity from the celebrations to mark the Centenary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, which had been brought forward from September to allow delegates to the International Railway Congress to participate. The events included a large exhibition and banquet, held at the LNER wagon works at Faverdale  and of course the procession of historic and modern locomotives and rolling stock along part of the original route. The  LMS was involved as a guest, but was in a very subordinate role.

The other significance of the July date is that it is just a few weeks prior to the retirement of LMS CME George Hughes, previously the occupier of similar posts on the LNWR and the L&Y. His refusal to leave his eyrie in the shadow of Rivington Pike, leaving a Horwich tail attempting to wag a very large Derby dog, and get a grip on the amalgamated locomotive engineering department, resulted in internecine strife which deprived the LMS of a modern express locomotive until the “Royal Scot” class was conjured  out of a set of borrowed “Lord Nelson” drawings by a private contractor.

The booklet shows some signs of being hastily put together; the back, and both inside overs are blank, which might have been used for advertising LMS services, There are three blank pages apart from the printers name (one of which is an expensive coated art paper, which might have been used for a further half tone block). One gets the impression that the rumble of an approaching bandwagon was heard, and this was an attempt to jump on board.  There is one other curious feature – the choice of “Modern” locomotives to illustrate, which someone in high authority must have authorised. The loco running department official “crack” express locomotive was the family of Midland Ralway Deeley/Fowler 4-4-0 compounds, a design dating back to some years before the Great War. Not a single “Crimson” rambler is featured instead there is a photo of an LNWR “George V” with a replica of the “Rocket” and a silhouette of George Hughes’ “Dreadnought” class 4 cylinder 4-6-0  originally introduced in 1908, but being built in an improved version as late as 1925. It is difficult not to see the hand of George Hughes in this- one final little squib tossed into the cockpit of LMS loco policy before retiring!

The LMS was, if course to have its share of the limelight five years later, with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Centenary Celebrations.




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