Review of ‘Rowsley Miscellany’, by Glynn Waite

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on (), and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

ROWSLEY RAILWAY MISCELLANY
Glynn Waite

These 'Reminiscences and facts about this once thriving railway community' arise from a wonderful variety of newsletters published by the Rowsley Association, a community of ex-railwaymen and their families. Far from being aimed only at rail buffs, these extracts are interspersed with a generous selection of images and photographs, picturing an age that came to an end at Rowsley 40 years ago.

Numerous names are on record, kicking off with a chapter on passenger guard Joe Wright, who gave 46 years' service with such punctuality that the 'up' train from Bakewell was known locally as the 'Joe Wright'.

The last full-time booking clerk at Rowsley, Angela Waite, who came here to benefit from British Railways' early support of equal pay, gives an admiring view of the highly polished waiting rooms and offices, and gardens which won many Best Kept Station awards. She recalls the flurry of excitement when a train was due and how it was a matter of pride to get it away on time, and the issuing of Privilege return tickets for local railway wives, taking them to Bakewell market on Mondays and Matlock market on Fridays.

Another story explains the reason for having a cat on the staff and recalls with sadness what might be described as its tragic 'split end', whereas a tale which seems to be building up to the demise of an engine driver ends with a toothy smile. Taking a few characters out of the many, we learn of the man whose tie got caught in a vacuum, a weightlifting stationmaster and employees with highly imaginative nicknames ranging from Cotter Pin Ted to Bay Window Bill and Ping Pong.

With the promise of a further volume to come, Rowsley Railway Miscellany is printed by Pynot Publishing at £7.50. (ISBN 978-0-9552251-1-6)

Review by Julie Bunting


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