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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 January 2012
When I bought a Kindle over a year ago, I swore I would never buy another tree book. Unfortunately, being a steam train nut and the fact that Amazon were offering two different reprints of the famous Bradshaw's Handbook used as the basis of Michael Portillo's television series, proved all too much for me. I simply had to have one, but which one?

I read previous reviews noting comments that the more expensive version at £21.95 was only paperback and the paper and print quality were questionable. All the comments about this Old House version were 5 star and as a hardback at less than a third of the price of the alternative paperback I decided to take the risk.

Well, the risk paid off. This is a superb facsimile of the original with excellent paper, binding and print quality. A joy to own and what a fantastic bargain. I am adding my 5 stars and a 'Highly Recommended'.

By the way, in case you're wondering like I was when I ordered it, that yellow and blue banner shown in the picture is not part of the cover which is brown all over, but merely a removeable 'fly strip' for advertising purposes.


p.s. I see that Amazon have now removed the 'fly strip' referred to above from their advertising photo. Someone must have read my review LOL.
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on 7 January 2012
Well here it is, a more faithfully sized facsimilie of probably one of the most famous tourist guides (albeit a little out of date) at the moment, until a few years ago the name George Bradshaw had all but disappeared from the national psyche, then along came Michael Portillo with a camera crew and a little, old, obscure book almost nobody had heard of, right from the outset I wished I could own a copy and searched the Internet for a copy of my own, I realised that originals like Mr Portillo has are extremely scarce and incredibly expensive costing hundreds of pounds, I should have realised that it would only be a matter of time before it was to be reproduced and here it is, a fantastic little book with a goldmine of information both trivial and historical about our country, some of which we didn't even know, the name Bradshaw was synonymous with the rail network as Beeton was with cookery but his memory was all but airbrushed from rail history in the beeching reforms of the 1960's, thanks to Mr Portillo his name has once again been restored, buy and read this book and you will see that, for all it's faults at the moment, the rail network has achieved so much and shaped who we are today, it's astonishing to think that a back street cartographer from Manchester, whose only aim was to help the Victorian traveller get from A to B more efficiently, awakened the true sense of us as a rail travelling nation, forget Michelin, lonely planet and the rest, this is the only informative guide to the UK that you'll ever need
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2012
As I write these words, this book is number 39 in the list of best-selling books on all of Amazon UK. Not bad for something published in 1863! There is no doubt that great interest has been generated by the BBC showing Michael Portillo's 'Great British Railway Journeys', now into its third series, such has been the success of the previous two.

Portillo uses Bradshaw as his guidebook whilst travelling around Britain by train, just as Bradshaw himself did, and it's wonderful to be able to have one's own copy to refer to. The guide itself is substantial; most of Britain's railway network was in place by the 1860's, and somehow Bradshaw managed to compile a comprehensive guide to everywhere from great cities to small villages, taking interest not only in places of history (great houses, churches, castles etc.), but also in the industries of the time, such as wool, cotton, mining. There is real enthusiasm here, a reflection of pride in Britain when she was at the height of her world importance; there's a number of passing references to the great Empire!

It all makes fascinating reading, and what is most amazing is the quality of reproduction, given the age of the original, and the incredible value for money. And it's a hardback! Less than a tenner - an essential puchase indeed. There are even a few, admittedly small, town plans of great cities at the back.

Very highly recommended.
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on 18 January 2012
Having been charmed by the television series Great British railway journeys, I finally decided I had to have my own copy. This reproduction is fascinating, not just because of the extraordinary amount of information it contains but in the way it shows the evolution of not just Britain over 140 years but in the printed word. The book is most certainly not "user friendly" in a 21st century manner but once you work out how to navigate around the many different indexes it provides a wonderful insight into Victorian world which is both similar and totally alien to us now. One can only guess how on earth Bradshaw collected all this vast amount of information but we should be glad he did. I was particularly amused to read that the area which now contains Gatwick airport is stated to "present no feature of importance". You can/will lose yourself for hours reading about places you know and have visited as they were during the 19th century. This is the most delightful book and is heartily recommended.
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on 30 January 2012
On the one hand, Old House is to be applauded for providing an exceedingly cheap facsimile edition, in hardcover, of the important and very rare 1863 edition of Bradshaw's Handbook (just £5 from Amazon). However, this venture is let down by the publication being incomplete and inconsistently so. While the illustrations listed in the indices of each of the four sections refers to maps and town plans, only the plans of Sections 3 and 4 are included (at the back) and then reduced from foldouts to the size of a page (less than A5 in size) where they are unusable. The town plans of Sections 1 and 2 are omitted. Why? Moreover, none of the foldout maps are included in this edition, presumably for the reasons given by `Historystudent' on behalf of Old House, namely that the originals of the maps (and some of the town plans?) in the copy used for the facsimile are in poor condition. In that case, it would have been logical to fill these gaps with the maps and town plans of the 1866 edition, say (which are not significantly different). The mid Victorian maps and town plans are fascinating and an essential complement to Bradshaw's text. It is very frustrating that these are missing and `Historystundent' should not brush this omission aside so lightly.

For those who are interested in viewing (at a readable scale) the maps and plans from Bradshaw (apart from those that featured on the back of each title, which are not included), I can strongly recommend the on-line 1866 version of Bradshaw (including the indulgent supplements of advertisements that were not present the original 1863 edition): this can be viewed and downloaded gratis as four pdf files from the "hathitrust digital library", under "Bradshaw's handbook for tourists in Great Britain", as explained by another reviewer. For me the optimum solution is to possess the low budget Old House volume (which is well printed and readable) for the text together with printouts of the maps and plans magnified to a satisfactory scale from the pdf files available online.
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on 13 January 2012
Received this book 2 days after placing the order. In my head there was a vague image of the typical large print early 21st century remake of a classic book complete with modern jargon and abbreviations.

Imagine my suprise and absolute delight to be presented with an (almost) exact reproduction of the original, complete with tiny victorian typeset and reproduction maps.

From a historical point of view this book is great, very informative about destinations and written in a prosaic form of english which, alas, has faded somewhat from our modernistic life. No celebrity goss or Text 4 U in this book.

Having read about my locality I now understand the reason why certain places and things have the weird and wonderful names thay have.

Its a really good read.

The book itself is square shaped much like an old type Bible - and just as thick - and the cover has been made to look like the original.

All in all - for the amount of money spent - its a splendid purchase.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 January 2012
The only thing that's ridiculous about this item is the price. FIVE POUNDS? How on earth can such a brilliant product cost so little?

First, let's get the most usual concern out of the way --- this IS a complete hardback facsimile of the original 1863 edition. Those advertisements, maps and illustrations which were in that version ARE included except where the originals were rather too poor to reproduce. NOTHING apart from those few have been omitted. If you want a greater number of such additional elements and some additional details, then you need to look at the separate 1866 paperback facsimile which is also a superb publication.

Bradshaw's Guide: The 1866 Handbook Reprinted

This hardback edition is a stunning item. The covers and binding are srong and yet it is lightweight. All text is clearly legible. Bradshaw's use of language often verges on poetry without stretching into floweriness; a tendency that many Victorian writers evidenced with happy abandon.

If you're a fan of Michael Portillo's programmes (and I assume these have at the very least triggered your interest in this item), I can assure you that this deceptively small book is a fantastic complement to his programmes and a wonderful accompaniment to any future journeys that you take by train. I'd not be surprised to see these little volumes appearing more and more frequently on station platforms or in carriages as travellers revel in the detail and historical interest value of Bradshaw's writing.
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on 29 December 2011
I have waited and waited for this to come out and now it has arrived, I am thrilled to bits with it. Having watched Michael Portillo's excellent programmes, to now have the book on which is series is based is just brilliant. I travel by train a lot and this book will now be my constant companion. Hurrah!Bradshaw's Handbook - A Facsimile of the Famous Guide (Old House)
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on 20 January 2012
I can't see how they've done this for the money, an absolute bargain! A nice compact size, like the original, but all the volumes in one book. The print quality is surprisingly good, OK it's cheap paper but what do you expect at this price. Maps and pictures are included as the original book and are of very good quality. I'm amazed they've managed to produce such quality from a facsimile.
The actual original books are almost impossible to find and if you could they cost a small fortune.
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on 26 September 2012
My first initial review wasnt very favourable, admittedly i only held it and flicked through it quickly, so I put my money where my mouth was and bought this edition and after holding this nearly all day and leafing through it, its just brilliant, superb quality at a great price, i feel ashamed by my first review, i didnt give it a chance, but now im glad i have done, it will be the best £17 you've ever spent
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