Railways Around London

John Glover


112 pages / 152 illustrations / paperback cover / 9781913251147 ISBN / 273 x 215 mm dimensions / portrait format

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About This Book

This book contains a profile of Alan A Jackson’s photographic work related to railways in the London area, over the period 1953 to 1973. The arrangement is geographical, starting with the railways on the north bank of the Thames and working from the London terminals outwards. Coverage moves anti-clockwise round to the railways on the south bank. London Underground is pictured on a line-by-line basis, with the sub-surface lines first as indeed they were on the scene first, followed by the tube lines.

Alan Arthur Jackson left his North London grammar school in 1939 and joined the civil service. In World War II he served with the RAF in the Middle East, Italy and France. He returned to marry Beryl, a Queen Alexandra army nurse, in 1949. They had three daughters and eight grandchildren followed.

Resuming his civil service career, he spent much time in HM Treasury, retiring to Dorking, Surrey, in 1984. Jackson was a leading authority on the transport and social history of modern London and the author of several books on these subjects. Of particular note are London’s Termini (2nd edn 1983), London’s Metropolitan Railway (1986), his pioneering study Semi-Detached London (2nd edn 1991), The Middle Classes 1900-1950 (1991), Rails Through the Clay, A History of London’s Tube Railways with Desmond Croome (2nd edn 1993), and London’s Local Railways (2nd edn 1999).

He lectured and conducted seminars at the universities of London and of York. Jackson acted as a consultant for several television series on London’s suburban and social history. He was a prolific photographer, who had the curious habit of leaving his holdall on the railway platform while retreating further to take a photograph and including it in the resulting picture.

He was a Fellow of the Royal Society Arts and President of the Railway & Canal Historical Society 1988-90, followed by Vice President 2007-09. He died on 21 February 2009, aged 86.

All the photography is the work of Alan Jackson, the text is that of the present author, John Glover.

My aim has been to provide a balanced portfolio of Jackson’s work across the whole of the London area. Clearly, though, this is constrained by the material made available, and the emphasis is on the local railway and its infrastructure. But the subjects covered in this book have not been well recorded by others. What was commonplace tended to be ignored, but Jackson has done us all a service in making his work available.

Generally, imperial measurements are used as being the most appropriate for the period. Railway distance measurements in miles and chains, derived from the very early days, do not translate easily into metric equivalents. Signal sighting distances and similar are measured in yards, while the position of signals in an absolute sense is measured in metres. Distances on London Underground generally are metric.

On occasion, your compiler has felt the need to stray well beyond the London boundaries in his selection of subject matter. But even suburban services are likely to have their termini outside Greater London and locations such as Bishops Stortford, Rickmansworth, Bracknell and Horsted Keynes are, he hopes, within the range of what might be considered fair game.

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