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Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations de…
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Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations (edició 2017)

de Simon Jenkins (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses
693301,524 (3.94)No n'hi ha cap
It is the location of all our hopeful beginnings and intended ends; an institution with its own rituals and priests; and a long-neglected aspect of Britain's architecture- the railway station. Bestselling historian Simon Jenkins has travelled the length and breadth of the country to select this joyous celebration of our social history. With his usual insight and authority, he describes the history, geography, design and significance of each of these glories; explores their role in the national imagination; champions the engineers, architects and rival companies that made them possible; and tells the story behind the development, triumphs and follies of these very British creations. From Waterloo to Whitby, St Pancras to Stirling, these are the marvellous, often undersung places that link our nation. All aboard!… (més)
Membre:draca22
Títol:Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations
Autors:Simon Jenkins (Autor)
Informació:Viking (2017), 336 pages
Col·leccions:Reference, Transport/Travel
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Railways

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Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations de Simon Jenkins

No n'hi ha cap
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I got this half price, which is just as well, as it's not worth forking out full whack for. It's a good enough coffee-table book, but doesn't go into much detail about the stations. I agree with most of the 48 stations chosen I have been to, but not Birmingham New Street! The platforms are still a dismal lightless hole, whatever improvements have gone on above. And Liverpool Street and Manchester Victoria really only count as half a good station each (and the new roof at Victoria leaks). St. Pancras has always been my favourite - boring and conventional choice, I know, and yes, the domestic platforms are a bit poor, but the roof and the hotel (not to mention the Betjeman Arms) outweigh all faults. If I was going to add a station to the 100 it would be Birmingham Moor Street, a lovely contrast to the pits that are New Street and Snow Hill. ( )
1 vota sloopjonb | Jan 19, 2020 |
A gorgeous and substantial book listing the author's favourite hundred British railway stations. Stations of all shapes and sizes are included, from single-platform halts in the wilds of Wales to teeming termini in London and other major cities; and in all conditions from semi-derelict and neglected to restored buildings on heritage railways. The author founded the Railway Heritage Trust and served on the boards of British Rail and London Transport, as well as having a career as editor of two major British newspapers and still having columns in two more.

Jenkins provides a potted history of the railways in Britain to set stations in their context; and a further essay on the role of railway stations in the life of the nation and the development of architecture as a profession. These essays are erudite and important, but are not written from the point of view of a railwayman. He then goes on to discuss the stations, using the language of architecture, and devoting the first hundred or so pages to London and then discussing the rest of the country, region by region. Each station gets a description of its architectural features and at least one photograph. The photography is stunningly good; but quite often it doesn't necessarily show the features that have been highlighted in the description. Sometimes, the photographs will concentrate on one detail, leaving the rest of the description in the reader's mind's eye (unless they happen to know the station under discussion). This could be quite frustrating for the reader; but given the brief for the book, sadly it's inevitable. Even the smallest railway station demands a minimum of three photographs (railway side, road side and one overall view of the station in its setting), so some degree of choice has to be made. A book designed to appeal to the general reader as well as the architectural historian and the railway enthusiast is going to have to make compromises, especially as those three types of readers will have very different expectations and requirements of a photograph. I've done this exercise myself; I know how difficult it can be. Almost certainly there has been excellent material left out.

The range of styles covered is eclectic. The nineteenth and early twentieth-century styles are, of course, covered in detail; Jenkins does not neglect Art Deco and early modernism, although there are considerably fewer examples of those styles on Britain's railways. He also covers contemporary structures, such as the new Westminster Tube station, the rebuilt Birmingham New Street concourse and Jesmond on the Tyne & Wear Metro in the north-east. About the only style not covered is the system-build structures of the 1960s and 1970s. I doubt that anyone will consider these stations to be of any architectural merit in the fullness of time; however, they do need to be recorded as a duty to history, even if it is unlikely that any will be considered worthy of conservation by a future generation.

Although Jenkins is not, as I said, a railwayman, he gets most of the railway details correct. However, what is really much more noticeable is that, as a fully paid up member of the British Establishment, he adopts a position that for the most part ignores the railway's workforce and indeed goes out of his way to take some thinly veiled pot shots at the railway trades unions. Indeed, the unions are firmly placed on the 'debit' side of the list of heroes and villains in the story of the British railway station. I am not suggesting here that unions have always been blameless in the everyday story of British working life; but more often than not managements have got the unions they deserve. Jenkins wouldn't agree and he would make sure that that opinion went somewhere in the book - and somewhere where the reader could not fail to miss it.

The heroes of Jenkins' book are the architects, a few campaigners (John Betjamin first amongst them), other artists and writers who have celebrated railways and stations in word, picture and film, and a handful of high-profile enthusiasts such as Bill (more properly, Sir William) McAlpine, who just happens to be a millionaire civil engineering contractor with a love of railways. (Jenkins omits to mention McAlpine's profession and the source of his wealth; perhaps he assumes that 'everyone knows' who William McAlpine is. That may have been true twenty years ago; perhaps not so much now.) The army of volunteers who inspired the heritage railway movement are celebrated mostly for not being part of the government machine. For a hobby which celebrates the everyday achievements of ordinary working men and women, this book is very much a personal and an individualist's reaction to the aesthetic values of a fine railway station building. Yet Jenkins seems divided in his own mind in this matter, acknowledging the role of the railway as an important catalyst for delivering socialised travel and, by extension, helping make and consolidate a society through the shared experience of travelling from A to B.

If this book helps readers notice railway stations a bit more, then that will be a good thing. If it then makes them look at other vernacular buildings in our towns and cities, that will be even better. We need to get back into the habit of looking about us, noticing the details and appreciating where they fit into the wider picture. It is a skill we have lost. For that, this book is valuable. But at the same time, it cannot be taken as a definitive account of the role and importance of railways and the railway station in everyday life and in the history of the British worker. For that, the attentive reader must look elsewhere. ( )
2 vota RobertDay | Feb 4, 2018 |
Excellent book , text and illustrations. How about my favourite, i think I would go for Tynmouth and its elongated spandrels. I was surprised to see Portsmouth & Southsea in it. Perhaps its upstairs, downstairs approach is of novelty value. I must admit to never having considered it to look at all like an hotel de ville on the Loire. ( )
  jon1lambert | Nov 2, 2017 |
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No n'hi ha cap

It is the location of all our hopeful beginnings and intended ends; an institution with its own rituals and priests; and a long-neglected aspect of Britain's architecture- the railway station. Bestselling historian Simon Jenkins has travelled the length and breadth of the country to select this joyous celebration of our social history. With his usual insight and authority, he describes the history, geography, design and significance of each of these glories; explores their role in the national imagination; champions the engineers, architects and rival companies that made them possible; and tells the story behind the development, triumphs and follies of these very British creations. From Waterloo to Whitby, St Pancras to Stirling, these are the marvellous, often undersung places that link our nation. All aboard!

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