Edwin A. Pratt
British Railways and the Great War. 1921. 2v.
Author had access to official information, Covers all aspects from the preparations for war in 1912 until the end of control, 1921. In addition to a general survey there is a short account for each major railway. Illus include portraits. maps. Along with Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations this is one of the most absurd omissions from the Norwich village library and one which indicates it should not be a candidate "City of Culture"..
History of inland transport and communication. Kegan Paul, 1912. reprinted David & Charles in 1970
Introduction by C.R. Clinker.
It is impossible to study the history of transport and communication in England from original sources without becoming increasingly aware of and involved in the close and vital connections between it and the development of agriculture and industry, and many other economic and social aspects of the national life. The greatly increased attention paid to the historical side of inland transport over the past forty years has inevitably widened the canvas until, by a natural process of fragmentation, each form has found itself in a separate compartment-road, river, canal, railway, street tramway and internal combustion engine-and 'treated as such, in more or less complete isolation.
It is questionable whether this fragmentation, and consequent isolation, is altogether a good thing, There is such close interlinking between, for example, canals and railways that a knowledge of preceding forms of transport is essential to a proper understanding of their place in the development of the whole. Segregation has, undoubtedly, enabled historians to deal at greater length and in detail with individual subjects, turnpike roads for instance; canals and railways have been subdivided, usually into companies but sometimes into areas, so large is the volume of original material now available for their study.
This isolation and subdivision has, however, had the unfortunate effect of leaving both serious students and casual reference. seekers with only two books which can be said to cover adequately and reliably the history of transport as a whole over a long periodthe present volume and C. E. 'R. Sherrington's A Hundred Years of Inland Transport (193'4). Of those dealing with limited periods the most outstanding is W, T. Jackman's The Development of Transport in Modern England (1916), a scholarly work of great precision and fully documented, which takes the story from Roman roads down to 1850. Even one of the most frequently-studied subjects, railway history, lacks a dependable book giving detailed coverage beyond 1852.
Albeit his account ends in 1911, it is fortunate that we have Edwin A. Pratt's History of Inland Transport and Communication in England, for here is a readable and authentic record of the transport panorama from the earliest roads, down through the river and canal era to the electrically-operated railways of 1911. But this is not merely dry history. Pratt devotes whole chapters to examination of roads and the Church, early trading conditions, the turnpike system, disadvantages of river navigation, railways and the State, and railway rates and charges, on which he was an authority. The sources of practically all his statements and quotations are documented in the text or expanded by footnote; there is also a useful list of books, pamphlets and reports consulted in preparation of the work.
Pratt may justly be regarded as a neglected author. He wrote more than twenty books on canals and railways, one or two probably of only ephemeral interest. His special interests were the contentious subject of nationalisation, railway rates, accidents and the part played by railways in wartime. The present work was the first of a series initiated in 1912 entitled National Industries, edited by Henry Higgs. Only two others appear to have materialised H.S. Jevon's British Coal Trade and A.W. Kirkaldy's British Shipping (both also reprinted by the present publishers).
It is essential that those who wish to form a clear picture of inland transport history as a whole should begin the story at the beginning, and trace the course of events leading up to the conditions as they existed in the peak years before World War 1. They cannot do better than read this book through from cover to cover
. C. R. CLINKER