Professor Jack Simmons was the most eminent railway historian of his time. His magnum opus was to have been a four volume study of the railways in England and Wales between 1830 and 1914. It is a regret the work was never completed but Faber Finds are proud to reissue the two volumes that were published. The second volume considers the railway's impact on British towns and countryside. London and provincial cities like Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham are examined and special attention is given to certain types of towns: railway towns like Crewe and Swindon, and seaports and holiday resorts many of which were developed in conjunction with the railways. Also discussed are the effects the railways had on the supply of food and coal, holidays and sport, urban or suburban growth in and around the big cities.
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Jack Simmons (1915-2000) was an historian and writer on railways. From 1947 to 1975 he was Professor of History at Leicester University. In 1953, in partnership with Michael Robins, he established the Journal of Transport History, and, later on, he was one of those who helped found the National Railway Museum. His wide-ranging interests are demonstrated by his published works, ranging from biographies of Robert Southey and Livingstone, his topographical A Selective Guide to England, a history of St Pancras Railway Station (still the best book on the subject) to his monumental The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, co-written, edited and compiled with Gordon Biddle.
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