on 17 June 2013
I was struck by the title and wanted to know more. Indeed, this book is a rarity: it should appeal to not just one, but two, famously bookish tribes - those who are into trains, and those who are into beer! Often as not, of course, there's a well-established cross-over between the two. The writer not only charts the history of pubs, bars and refreshment rooms that have criss-crossed the UK's rail network for 150 years, he then goes on to provide a comprehensive guide to the best of them still in existence today, from the (extremely) rural, such as Crianlarich in Scotland, to the extravagantly lush (Hamilton Hall at Liverpool Street). Here is a subject that has not, as far as I know, been documented before; this is the one future beer and rail archivists will be using as the template!
on 2 September 2013
Certainly no railway buff, I found this book a unique and fascinating journey though the story of pubs, rooms and bars created to provide refreshment to train travellers.
In describing the development of the railways and refreshment rooms, the book provides an insight into the lives of people who used or have been impacted by the railways from the 1800s through to present day.
I loved the tales such as the Necropolis Railway, which carried the coffins of the deceased, and the Victorian refreshment rooms which had different rooms assigned according to class.
The book also provides a great collection of characterful pubs to visit around the country, where you feel you might still get a sense of the history, architecture and stories of these ale houses. Colour and historical photos throughout the book help bring the pubs and stations to life. The beginning (or end) of a train journey has never been so appealling...