Written by Hugh Hollinghurst
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
What strikes you immediately when first perusing through this book is the wonderful range of archive photographs, drawings and paintings it features, 180 in total, many of the former in sepia tone, plus a painting of Rainhill Bridge set in 1830. This was part of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the first ‘inner-city’ line in the world, carrying both passengers and freight traffic and hauled by steam.
Another impressive painting is the original Lime Street Station. The station was the first proper train shed to be constructed with iron and glass and supported by columns decorated in classical style. On the opposite page is a photo of the present look of the rebuilt station. I know which of the two I prefer!
The images also portray railway workers and people waiting to board trains.
One of the most disturbing sights is of the aftermath of a German bombing raid during WW!!. Alongside Oriel Road Station are a series of terraced houses reduced to rubble.
One of my fondest memories recalled when turning the pages was travelling to, for example, Blackpool when I was a child from Exchange Station, which does not exist today. Trains from here also undertook long distance trips to Glasgow.
Among the many highlights of the book is an outstanding looking poster depicting the Liverpool Overhead Railway. As well as the Overhead Railway itself it also shows ships of Cunard, Canadian Pacific and Blue Funnel Line, together with spectacular views of the docks.
Unfortunately it closed in 1956 when the decking was found to be corroded by the sulphurous fumes emitted from the dock engines underneath.