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The Romance of Modern London (1893) by Fred T. Jane

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  • #16
    Round the Underground on an Engine (1893)

    Thanks to all who replied.

    Here's another in the Jane's "Romance" series, courtesy of Google books.

    The English illustrated Magazine, Volume 10, August, 1893, Pages 787-792

    The Romance of Modern London

    III-Round the Underground on an Engine

    Written and Illustrated by our Artist-Commissioner [Fred T. Jane]

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    By the courtesy of Mr. Powell, manager of the District Railway, I was provided with an "engine-pass" for the "Inner Circle"; and on a bright June morning I made my way to St. James's Park station. There I met Chief-Inspector Exall, who was detailed to accompany and look after me generally.

    The train selected was a District "down" one. "Down," by the way, signifies up to the Mansion House; the explanation of this apparent paradox being that the northern part of the "Circle" was opened first. In those days the line was only some three and a half miles long and yet cost over a million pounds to construct.

    In a short time our train rushed into the station, and a moment later we had boarded the engine. I was accommodated with a position near the left-hand tank, whence I could get an uninterrupted view ahead; but it had its drawbacks as the water in that tank was hot.

    No time is wasted at stations on the Underground, and a minute later the train was off—off into a black wall ahead with the shrieking of ten thousand demons rising above the thunder of the wheels. The sensation altogether was much like the inhalation of gas preparatory to having a tooth drawn. I would have given a good deal to have waited just a minute or so longer. Visions of accidents, collisions, and crumbling tunnels floated through my mind; a fierce wind took away my breath, and innumerable blacks filled my eyes. I crouched low and held on like grim death to a little rail near me. Driver, stoker, inspector, and engine—all had vanished. Before and behind and on either side was blackness, heavy, dense and impenetrable. Westminster Bridge, Charing Cross, and The Temple were passed before I could do or think of anything beyond holding on to that rolling, rushing engine: then finding that I was still alive and sound, I began to look about me. Inspector Exall put his head to my ear and shouted something at the top of his voice, but I could only catch the word "Blackfriars." I looked ahead. Far off in the distance was a small square-shaped hole, seemingly high up in the air, and from it came four silver threads palpitating like gossamers in the morning breeze. Larger and larger grew the hole, the threads became rails, and the hole a station; Blackfriars, with rays of golden sunlight piercing through the gloom.

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    Off again, a fierce light now trailing out behind us from the open furnace door, lighting up the fireman as he shovelled more coal on to the furnace, throwing great shadows into the air, and revealing overhead a low creamy roof with black lines upon it that seemed to chase and follow us. Ever and anon the guard's face could be dimly seen at his window, more like a ghost than man; while in the glass of the look-out holes were reflected the forms of the engine-men, like spirits of the tunnel mocking us from the black pit into which we were plunging. Then again we would seem to stop, and to fall down, down, down, with always the wild shrieking surge and ceaseless clatter of the iron wheels.

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    Soon ahead of us gleamed pillars of crimson stars, the signal lights of the Mansion House. Between this station and Mark Lane there is nothing particularly noticeable, saving the approach to the latter; where ghostly looking figures paced a hidden platform across which fell great golden beams that looked like impassable barriers. Yet here one could take a second glance, the beams were riven asunder and a black engine blotted them out with clouds of writhing steam. Next to Mark Lane, and almost close to it, is the old Tower station, now disused. We sped past its deserted platforms and limp signal posts, and a few minutes later steamed into the central station, Aldgate. The firemen at once jumped off the engine and made the necessary arrangements for filling our water tanks. So quickly was this done that probably none of the passengers noticed any difference in the length of the stoppage, and in a very short while we were off again into the tunnels, two minutes sufficing to bring us round a sharp curve into Bishopsgate.

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    Aldersgate, the next station, was opened in 1865, and for many years was comparatively deserted by passengers. The opening of the markets hard by has altered all this, and it is now one of the principal stations on the line. All about this section we encountered other lines which sometimes dived under us, at other times merely diverged in various directions. Outside Aldersgate the line is ventilated by a series of arches, which give a fine effect of light and shade, making the tunnel look like an old-time dungeon.

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    From Farringdon Street to King's Cross is the longest stretch without a station, and the driver here gave us an exhibition of full speed, and No. 18 came into King's Cross at the rate of some forty miles an hour. The average speed of trains between one station and another is from twenty to twenty-five miles.

    The road now began to be uphill, and at the same time the air grew more foul. From King's Cross to Edgware Road the ventilation is defective, and the atmosphere on a par with the "'tween decks, forrud" of a modern ironclad in bad weather, and that is saying a good deal. By the time we reached Gower Street I was coughing and spluttering like a boy with his first cigar. "It is a little unpleasant when you ain't used to it," said the driver with the composure born of long usage, "but you ought to come on a hot summer day to get the real thing!"

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    Fog on the underground appears to cause less inconvenience than do the sultry days of July; then the atmosphere is killing. With the exception of this one section (between King’s Cross and Edgware Road) I found the air far purer than I had expected, and the bad air so much complained of by the “sewer-rats”—as those who habitually use this circle are called in “the City”—is due in a great measure to their almost universal habit of keeping all the windows and ventilators closed.

    The finest bit of scenery on the underground is the Baker Street Junction, where a second tunnel leading to the St. John's Wood line branches out of the main one. It is no longer used for through trains, however, owing to a fearful accident that occurred here some time ago, and Baker Street is now the terminus of that line. On the left through the main tunnel lies the station, a medley in crimson and gold ; on the right the daylight creeps in, and the picture is a harmony in blue and silver. It is a novel and unexpected sight to see the ordinary black coat of respectability look crimson, as it does when seen after the intense blackness of the tunnel. But like all the other scenes, this was brief and momentary; then a dream of the past.

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    There is a similar and much-used junction before Praed Street, but it is provided with a big signal box where the tunnels meet.

    The ventilating holes in the tunnel roof all about this part give a beautiful effect of light striking into darkness ; especially one before Edgwar Road is reached, where the silver column of light fell on a green signal lamp, set low in the permanent way. Just before Praed Street we got into daylight again—the line passing through a sort of valley formed by high houses on either side.

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    Hitherto, though we had passed many, I had scarcely noticed the trains that we met; but about here I changed over to the right side of the engine in order to get a better view of a coming train. I had not long to wait. Far away in the distance was an ever-increasing speck of light—the head light of an approaching train. A moment later, it had come and gone—a silent flash of light, so silent that it might have been a phantom; our own engine made too much noise for any other sound to be audible. Curiously enough, an approaching train is totally unlike what one would imagine it ought to look like. A strong light bursts from the furnace if it chances to be open, and illuminates the tunnel overhead, the carriage windows and brass work make lines of light that run off and die in the distance, but the engine itself is lost in the blackness through which it is rushing.

    At High Street, Kensington, engines are changed so we jumped off—at least my guide did—my attempt to follow his example being calculated to cause an impression that I had taken the platform to be a seat—but all this is by the way. Engine No. 18 went off into a shed to rest awhile, and No. 7, a precisely similar one, backed on to the train in her place. This resting of engines is rendered a frequent necessity from the strain caused by the numerous stoppages ; incessant running in one direction has also been found bad for them as it wears away the wheels on one side sooner than on the other. To remedy this, the engines half their time run "backwards forwards," as they say in the West of England.

    Off again; and this time down-hill. We dashed rapidly through the grass embankments outside Gloucester Road, past some men posting bills on the advertisement hoardings that border the line below South Kensington, now deep in a tunnel, now traversing a cutting open to the sky; until we shot once more into St. James's Park, seventy minutes after leaving it. We had covered some thirteen miles in our trip round London; seemingly no great distance for the time occupied; till one recollects that it entailed no less than twenty-seven stoppages, with a watering and change of engines into the bargain.

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    It is these stoppages that make the journey as long as it is ; if a train went round at its usual rate it would be back at the starting point in less than forty minutes, while if it went full speed some twenty minutes would suffice.
    However, the seventy-minute trip is quite rapid enough for all practical purposes, and is only rendered possible by the excellence of the brake arrangements, and the perfection to which the block-system of signalling has now been brought. The length of the stoppages could not well be reduced, indeed they are already too short if we are to believe the tale now current of a wandering Jew sort of passenger—a lady of advanced years who can only alight from a train backwards. Every time she begins to get out a porter rushes up crying, "Hurry up, ma'am; train's going!"—and pushes her in again!

    "This finishes our journey," said the inspector, as, taught by previous experience, I cautiously crawled off the engine,—"unless you'd like to go round again."

    I declined.

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    • #17
      London Railway Stations, 1893

      The last is the first, and the first is the last.

      The English illustrated Magazine, Volume 10, June, 1893, Pages 658-662

      The Romance of Modern London

      I-London Railway Stations [by Fred T. Jane]

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      From an artistic point of view the railway station is a much neglected institution. Its utility is recognised by everybody — particularly at excursion time —but few people look any further. The reason is not far to seek. Not many of the thousands who daily use it have seen a railway station. The platform where they have stood watching the lost train steam away, the refreshment bar, the bookstall, the automatic machines, the booking office, even the shoe-black outside—all these the thousands know; but the roof above and the scene around them they have not time to see. Go to any big station of a morning and watch the almost endless procession of hard-eyed men and women, looking neither to the right hand nor the left; they have no time to admire the "scenery"; the station is but the gate to their daily mill.

      Fenchurch Street about nine in the morning repeats to-day the march of the workers that Dickens told of yesterday. True, this is a most unfortunate station in which to hunt for picturesqueness, but take a trip down the Blackwall line to South Dock. From Millwall Junction to South Dock runs a quaint little railway with a diminutive engine, under arches of black timber; a line that recalls the Cornish mineral railways where until recently the third class passengers rode in trucks and you signalled with your umbrella if you wished to take the train anywhere along the route. I remember, either on one of these, or on a Devonshire branch line, waiting for a train at the terminus. I had rushed up with only a minute to spare. "Ticket," I gasped. "She ain't in yet," replied the stationmaster - porter - booking - clerk —" Why didn't you say you was coming?" By and by the train crawled in and I was approached by the guard, who suggested that it would be less lonesome if I rode with him. While we were talking an old man came across the road to the station and said he was tired of waiting. "I'll just walk along the line, and you pick me up when you gets up to me," he remarked —which we subsequently did.

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      This is an incident of quite recent date, but it is hardly a custom to expect around London. It is a sample of the beauty that comes of age, which is ever reckoned a beautifier of everything, except possibly the fair sex. For aught we know the ancient Egyptians growled at their pyramids and temples as unsightly modern erections. The spirit of old Egyptian temples dwells to-day in many of the great London termini, dimly visible through the veil of Isis, though we call it London fog. Go at night to St. Pancras, the Midland terminus, at an hour when no trains are leaving. Walk along No. 3 platform as far as the first seat and then look back. If you are fortunate enough to catch a grouping of the sort indicated in the illustration—a hidden engine belching out clouds of steam that mingle with the fog overhead—it does not need a very powerful imagination to fancy you are in some great temple. The white clouds come from the altar fire; above it, half lost in vapour, is the great clock, its huge round dial like the face of a monstrous idol before which burn in solemn stillness the hanging lamps, gleaming silver and violet and rose.

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      Science, which built and lighted this immense dome, with its span of nearly 300 feet, may not have intended to do more than construct a merely useful place, but nature will not be denied, and comes with her mysteries of light and shadow, the softening fog and the veil of night. The frontage of St. Pancras on the Euston Road is one of the finest buildings in London. Designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, it rears its immense mass, built at an expense that has never been reckoned, where once stood slums filthy and innumerable. Underneath the passenger station is another for stores, and underneath that runs yet another railway. Few people walking along the upper platform realise that sixty feet below them is a signal box! The difficulties in constructing this three-storied station were enormous. The whole area covered by the stations is some twenty-five acres, while the span, before mentioned, covers nearly 220,000 square feet, and is roughly 100 feet high ; the biggest span, until recently, in the world. It is worth while to wander up the Pancras Road at night; the weird and beautiful effects to be seen outside the station amply recompense one for the unpleasant neighbourhood.

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      That night is not essential to make a railway station look beautiful is exemplified at Euston, the London and North-Western Railway terminus. At the outer end of the arrival platform, which by the way is 1,140 feet long, we get a most beautiful series of curves. The heavy Doric gateway, however, is best viewed at night, particularly by those who have never been there before, as the mystery will be more realistic. The station seems a succession of gateways, and the stranger only reaches it about the time he decides that he must have taken the wrong turning. This gateway and the fine entrance hall with Stephenson's statue are the oldest parts of the present station. A large shunting yard at Euston, known as the "Field" by the engine-men, in the early days was a field occupied by a dairyman who used to turn his cows out into it in the evenings after the trains had stopped running. Dairy fields around Euston are now nearly as hard to credit as the erstwhile village of Charing Cross.

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      Waterloo is about the most disappointing station in London. It is big, very big. Fourteen acres are devoted to passenger traffic alone, and it claims to be the largest station in England, but it is altogether too straggling to look well. The quality of "mystery" which is an essential almost to any beautiful scene, is plentiful enough, but unfortunately only of the sort that is prominent when you want to meet or catch any particular train. "No wonder the French got licked here," said an old Devonshire farmer to his wife as they stood on the bridge and speculated as to whether a grey-bearded guard beneath them was one of Wellington's "Up, Guards, and at 'em!"

      Over the water, Charing Cross is well worth a night visit, particularly if the night be wet and foggy. Stand on the Embankment opposite the Avenue Theatre, look up at the great half circle of station roof, and watch the trains thunder along the bridge overhead, the lights flashing through the girders, and the torrents of dull white steam bursting out above, falling again beneath the weight of the fog and melting into nothingness as they fall.

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      Victoria is not a happy hunting ground for the seeker after the picturesque. It is short and unprepossessing, but the afternoon sun striking down through the roof on the extreme right often gives a very beautiful effect if there is plenty of steam about; and a trip out to Grosvenor Road either by day or night will amply repay the trouble. The down platform is always deserted, and on a spring or autumn day is a pleasant promenade, far superior to the crowded parks. The view is good and varied, and built, as the station is, on a bridge, one gets all the advantages of a trip by water without its inconveniences, while, best of all, 'Arry and 'Arriet know it not. The great majority of trains coming out do not stop here, and it is a grand sight to watch them thunder past, while the vibration supplies ail that is needed to assist the trip by water simile. Grosvenor Road has no architectural beauties to recommend it; it looks indeed much like a first lesson in perspective.

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      Paddington is a station that should be seen by night as well as by day. At night, standing under the bridge just where the steps come down from Bishop's Road station and looking outwards the scene is most impressive and weird. High in the air gleam two great electric lights, the apexes of two ghostly pyramids of light, around swirls the steam of passing engines, beneath all is rush, swish, and darkness, and innumerable coloured lights twinkling and blurred. Everything seems in motion except the two gleaming eyes looking down with steady sphinx-like shine. The electric light system at Paddington is a very large one. There are 101 of these big lights of 2,000 candle power respectively, and the distraict illuminated is one and a half miles long and stretches over some seventy acres— reaching from the hotel in Praed Street to Westbourne Park station, which is, so to speak, a suburb of the big terminus.

      One hundred and forty-six trains leave or arrive at Paddington daily, and some four millions of passengers use the station in the course of a year.

      Although Paddington possesses only six platforms, and the longest of these is not more than 750 feet long, yet, standing on the bridge at the Praed Street end of the station, it appears as large or larger than any other terminus. This is in great measure due to the transepts, four of which connect the central nave with the side aisles; the light coming from these making a series of lights and shadows which give an effect of distance that would not otherwise exist. The station was designed by the great Brunei, a man with a passion for big things. It dates from 1854, the year that saw the birth of many of the huge broad gauge engines which, back in those days, made speeds that have never since been beaten.

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      In conclusion, I would remark that the great railway stations of London deserve to be visited every whit as much as St. Paul's Cathedral, the Abbey, or the Tower, and they are as worthy a memento of this century as these buildings are of the days that are gone.


      • #18

        Hello Trade. Lovely work. Hope to see more.



        • #19
          Glorious stuff TradeName...thanks for posting it...



          • #20
            More Pics from "In the Small Hours"

            Thanks, LC and Dave.

            Here are the rest of the pictures from the "In the Small Hours" article (see first post in this thread). Digitized by Google.

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            LOOKING FOR FOOD AT 1 A.M.

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            JUST CLEAR

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            ON THE STAND

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            A MOONLIGHT FLT

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            BILL SYKES

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            2:30 A.M. A BELATED SUBURBAN

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            HERALDS OF THE DAY


            • #21
              Hi TradeName,

              Fantastic illustrations.

              Thank you.


              Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


              • #22
                Thanks, Simon.

                A longer who's who entry on Jane with claims about his antecedents:

                Who's Who (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1900), Volume 52, Page 563

                JANE. Fred. T.; naval author, artist, novelist, etc ; b. 6 Aug. 1865 ; e. s. of Rev. John Jane, Vicar of Upottery, Honiton, Devon; descendant of the Rev. Joseph Jane, D.D., Regius Professor at Oxford tempus James II. and William III., the original of "The Vicar of Bray," and of Syriane, who made or tried to make himself Emperor of Byzantium in the early part of the 13th century; of Russian descent on maternal side; m. Alice, d. of late Capt. Beattie-Beatty, 1892. Educ.: Exeter School. Originally intended for the navy, but health too delicate; failed for Sandhurst, 1885; took up art, 1890; staff of various illustrated papers, for naval subjects; began to write magazine and review articles, 1894; exhibitor, Royal Academy, 1895-96, and other exhibitions; projected a cosmopolitan naval annual, 1897; published following year, and adopted by various foreign navies; invented a naval kriegspiel, 1898, the rules of which were revised by His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Alexander of Russia; Captain H. J. May, R.N.; Captain His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg, R.N.; and Com. Kawashima, Japanese Navy. Publications: Blake of the "Rattlesnake," 1895; The Incubated Girl, 1896; To Venus in Five Seconds, 1897; The Lordship, the Passen, and We, 1897; The Violet Flame, The Port Guard Ship, 1899; All the World's Fighting Ships, etc. etc. 1898-99; The Torpedo in Peace and War, 189S; The Jane Naval War Game (naval kriegspiel), 1898; The Imperial Russian Navy, 1899. Address; Tressillian House, Southsea.


                A review of a novel by Jane:

                The Speaker, Volume 13, June 13, 1896, Page 645



                The Incubated Girl. By Fred T. Jane. London: Tower

                "The Incubated Girl" belongs to the Frankenstein order of romance. She is discovered in a condition of suspended animation in an Egyptian temple by a fiendishly wicked and appallingly learned professor of Egyptology. He brings to England the cyst which contains the heroine in embryo, and, following the instructions of a papyrus conveniently deposited with her in the temple, succeeds in hatching his interesting '* find." When a story begins in this way we know what to expect. The beautiful Stella grows up to perfect womanhood in the house of her wicked incubator, and that miscreant then launches her upon the world in order to see how she will comport herself in real life. He has brought her up in absolute ignorance of all questions of morals and faith, and it is only by some dim recollections of the moment when, in a previous incarnation, she figured as an Egyptian goddess, that she is able to realise the fact that she has a soul. Professor Zidara has been warned in the papyrus that something very terrible will happen if she should fall a victim to love, or should lose her purity; and being a gentleman who is ready to pursue knowledge to the very gates of Hades, he deliberately puts her in the way of temptation in order to learn what will happen when she falls. Of course, in the end she has to pass through her ordeal, and the last we see of the unhappy girl is when she lies, gagged and bound, on the professor's dissecting-table, whilst that worthy is about to subject her to vivisection in the interests of science. Let us mitigate the horror of this scene by saying that the doctor, who is the professor's accomplice, suddenly kills the girl in order to save her from the fiend's dissecting-knife. Now, all this is rather poor stuff, and if this were all that is to be found in " The Incubated Girl" we should scarcely have thought it worthy of notice; but Mr. Jane, to do him justice, has made many pages of his rather terrible Btory extremely entertaining. He manifestly has a strong sense of the humorous, and his description of the proceedings of the luckless Stella, whilst she is still a free agent, are more than commonly amusing. A young lady who has no heart, but immense good nature, who knows nothing of fear and nothing of convention, who has boundless wealth at her command, and who knows no law but her own pleasure, is bound to get into a series of amusing scrapes when she is suddenly launched upon the world. We have read nothing for a long time funnier than the account of Stella's appearance in Hyde Park on the back of an elephant, and of her subsequent experiences at the police-court. There is, indeed, a great deal of farce in "The Incubated Girl," despite its tragical framework, and it is by the farce, rather than by the tragedy, that we are impressed.


                A letter by Jane about this novel:

                The Animal's Defender and Zoophilist, July 1, 1896, Page 44

                VIVISECTION DETAILS IN "THE INCUBATED GIRL." (from "Eastern Morning News," Hull, May Sth.)

                Sir,—In your review of my book, " The Incubated Girl," in a recent issue, you take exception to the few details of vivisection introduced on the grounds that the Vivisection Act renders such impossible. Did it do so, I should not have introduced these details; I do not speak without book. Who can tell what goes on behind the laboratory doors? The inspection, such as it is, is very slight, moreover the action of curare being, as I have described it, paralyzing to all sense of motion or sound, what proof of the torture inflicted remains? In point of fact the sense of feeling is as acute, possibly acuter, than ever, and the torment unutterably multiplied by the paralyzing effect of the drug. Dante, seeking for horrors for his " Inferno," could not imagine anything equal to an operation under curare. Far from lessening the evils of vivisection, the Act alluded to has increased them; since what was before a public performance, as it were, is now in great measure a secret thing. In my book I have but touched upon the fringe of the question, the matter of how vivisection affects the operator in his relations with his fellow-creatures, and almost the whole of the book is true; "truth is stranger than fiction" once again. There are plenty of things which imagination can never reach to, and in this work I have left my imagination out as far as possible.

                Yours truly, etc.,

                Southsea. Fred T. Jane.


                A brighter view of London, not by Jane, from an 1883 children's book.

                London Town (London: Marcus Ward, 1883), link
                designed and illustr. by Thomas Crane & Ellen Houghton

                Click image for larger version

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                • #23
                  A tip for the gricers

                  With reference to the Underground, a set of four coaches from that era have been restored and are preserved on the Bluebell Railway in West Sussex. They were lent out for the Undergrounds 150th anniversary celebration (in which Metropolitan Loco No1 also featured) but are now back home.

                  If anyone's interested, details can be obtained through:-


                  All the best



                  • #24
                    Some good pics here. Is that a young Dave busking at pic 18?



                    • #25
                      'Fraid not Robert...I suspect even then I had noticeably less hair on top than that! I tend more towards your Bill Bailey....

                      All the best



                      • #26
                        Blimey, what a wonderful load of illustrations showing what London looked like soon after the JTR murders. Super stuff, TradeName, which I missed the first time around. The magnificent Weaver's Arms pub shown in Post #9 was in Stamford Hill N16. It closed down in 1953 though I believe that the building is still there.