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Cathedrals of Steam

How London's Great Stations Were Built - And How They Transformed the City

Christian Wolmar

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Atlantic Books
04 January 2021
History of architecture; Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000; Industrialisation & industrial history; Trains & railways: general interest
London hosts a dozen major railway stations, more than any comparable city. King's Cross, St Pancras, Euston, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo, London Bridge, Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street - these great termini are the hub of London's transport system and their complex history, of growth, decline and epic renewal has determined much of the city's character today.

Christian Wolmar tells the dramatic and compelling story of how these great cathedrals of steam were built by competing private railway companies between 1836 and 1900, reveals their immediate impact on the capital and explores the evolution of the stations and the city up to the present day.
By:   Christian Wolmar
Imprint:   Atlantic Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 165mm,  Spine: 33mm
Weight:   725g
ISBN:   9781786499202
ISBN 10:   1786499207
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   04 January 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Christian Wolmar has written for every national newspaper and appears frequently on TV and radio as a commentator on transport issues. His previous books include the widely-acclaimed The Subterranean Railway; Fire and Steam; Blood, Iron and Gold; Engines of War; The Great Railway Revolution; To the Edge of the World; and Railways and the Raj.

Reviews for Cathedrals of Steam: How London's Great Stations Were Built - And How They Transformed the City

In this delightful homage to the capital's mighty icons of the railway age Wolmar is a worthy successor to Betjeman. -- Michael Williams Every London commuter should read this book... Fascinating histories abound from Queen Victoria's specially arranged signals to the driver to slow down on the way from Slough to Paddington, to Thomas Hardy's job of excavating graves to make way for tracks at St Pancras... The scramble to compete - both for cargo and passengers - is captured as the story of how the iron horses of industrialization rolled into the world's first megacity is told. -- Tom Chesshyre Wolmar compellingly describes how engineers and architects creating terminus stations harked back to classical or Gothic styles. But, with the advantage of iron and glass, they could erect giant structures in months not centuries, whose scale justified the description cathedrals of steam . -- Michael Portillo A wonderful tour, full of vivid incident and surprising detail. Station by station, it also adds up to a portrait of London through the railway age and into our own time. -- Simon Bradley London's twelve great rail termini are the epic survivors of the Victorian age. They are the cathedrals of transportation. Wolmar brings them to life with the knowledge of an expert and the panache of a connoisseur. His words render them indestructible. -- Simon Jenkins


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