Wild Swan Books
Camp Coach Holidays on the GWRMike Fenton
Hardback - 218 pages - £24.95
This is a railway book with a difference, not merely a collection of old photographs, not a dry study of old rolling stock, but more of a social history of the 1930s.
During 1933-39 the GWR converted 65 old carriages into holiday homes and hired them out to the public during the summer months, based at rural stations where holidaymakers would have easy access to seaside and countryside. This is the story of the scheme, primarily through the eyes of the people themselves, a unique look at railway history from the perspective of non-railway folk living temporarily in a railway environment.
Armed initially with a couple of official photographs, a GWR Camp Coach booklet and a cassette recorder, Mike Fenton has tracked down many of the people who took camp coach holidays, many of whom had a tale to tell and had even kept photographs and other related material. Over a ten-year period of research, he has collected together a wealth of photographs, memories, publicity material and official information to present a unique look at the GWR. Just dipping into this lovely volume at random is to step back into the 1930s. It will serve as a precious window on the past.