The Railway Station

Jeffrey Richards, John M Mackenzie
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ISBN 9780571269037 Format Paperback
Published 15/04/2010 Length 486 pages

About Book

In the preface the authors describe their approach, 'In examining the social history of railway stations we were concerned to treat them not as inanimate objects, but as living, breathing places which, better than any other building type of the last 150 years, reflected the societies around them, public buildings which people used in all sorts of ways and whose significance they instantly recognized when depicted in the theatre, the cinema, paintings, photographs, poetry, novels, and travel works. For this reason we have chosen to allow other voices to tell part of the story, to illustrate through quotation the central, but often differing, role of the station in so many societies and so many lives.'

They succeed triumphantly in this aim. After the introduction aptly called 'The Mystique of the Railway Station' there are fifteen absorbing chapters covering: The Station in Architecture (three chapters); The Station and Society; The Station in Politics; Class, Race, and Sex; Some Station Types; The Station in the Economy (two chapters); The Station as Place of Work; The Station in Wartime (two chapters); The Usual Offices; The Station in Painting and Poetry, Postcard and Poster; and The Station in Literature and Film. The scope is comprehensive, the achievement magnificent.

'written with great enthusiasm . . . packed with rich detail. This is real social history.' Asa Briggs

'full of good quotations, and (the authors) write with the infectious enthusiasm of addicts, captivated by the romance of railways' Times Literary Supplement

'remarkable . . . the railway station in all its aspects' A. N. Wilson.

  • About Jeffrey Richards

    Jeffrey Richards is Professor of Cultural History at Lancaster University. Among his books are Hollywood's Ancient Worlds, Sir Henry Irving: A Victorian Actor and his World and Imperialism and Music. The Railway Station: a Social History, co-written with John MacKenzie, has been reissued in Faber Finds. Jeffrey Richards is general editor of the Studies in Popular Culture series.

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  • About John M Mackenzie

    John MacKenzie is Professor Emeritus of Imperial History at Lancaster University. He also holds honorary professorship of the Universities of Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Stirling and Edinburgh and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

    He has published extensively in the field of British imperial history: among his books are Propaganda and Empire (1984), The Empire of Nature (1988), Orientalism: History, Theory and the Arts (1995), Empires of Nature and the Nature of Empires (1997), The Scots in South Africa (2007) and Museums and Empire (2009).

    He has edited a number of books, including catalogues for the National Portrait Gallery (David Livingstone and the Victorian Encounter with Africa, 1996) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (The Victorian Vision, 2001), and most recently Peoples, Nations and Cultures (2005). He is currently working on two edited works, European Empires and the People (2010) and Scotland and the British Empire (2011).

    He continues to travel extensively around the world, both for research and for pleasure, and has maintained his interest in railway stations and the societies they serve. He now lives in retirement in Perthshire, cultivating a large garden.

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