For enthusiasts, researchers and modellers of the Great Eastern Railway

RG053: Sunrise-Land - Rambles in Eastern England, 1894.

NEW FEBRUARY 2023.   This is another guide to East Anglia, but it is different from all the others of the period. For a start it was written by a lady, Annie Berlyn (also known at the time as Vera, it seems). She casts her very personal and feminine eye over the region.

Thus early in the chapter on Norwich she says "Surely no Norwich citizen ever goes shopping in London; for all within a circle, so to say, in Gentleman’s Walk and in London Street, everything that is newest and prettiest is obtainable."

She duly covers all the regular tourist spots, but did not feel obliged to restrict her comments to conventional complimentary ones. For example, "Though the grand Norman nave of Norwich Cathedral is with one exception the longest in England, it somehow fails to impress like that of Ely or Peterborough." If she doesn't like a place, she makes that clear: "No London fog could ever produce such profound melancholia and blood-curdling thoughts as the promenade of Wells-next-the-Sea"!

Lynn disappoints her a bit despite its pretty name, having too many drearily modern buildings. With all its bustle and modernity and the clanking of its horse-drawn trams, however, Ipswich got her approval: "one cannot be long in the Suffolk capital without being struck by its progressiveness and enterprise".

The railway gets mentioned at times. In the chapter on the port of Harwich she commends the opportunities it gives: "Since these cheap — and they are wonderfully cheap — tours have been arranged by the G.E.R., even Hodge finds his way abroad in holiday-time." At Aldeburgh a traveller's first impression will be unfavourable: "As a rule the stations of the Great Eastern Railway, ever most mindful of the comforts of its passengers, are not calculated to depress the spirits of waiting travellers to a lower degree than is inevitable; but about Aldeburgh station there is a peculiarly forlorn and disconsolate appearance that chills one at once."

It is a substantial hard-back book consisting of 346 pages plus another 30 pages mostly of advertisements for local firms and for Jarrold's other publications. It covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex as far down as Chelmsford and Southend (or Whitechapel-super-mare as she refers to it).

There are lots of pictures - 136 of them on a quick count - all of which are black and white sketches. You can see a list of them all HERE. I am told that seventy or so are by Arthur Rackham, one of the foremost book illustrators ever, whose many subsequent commissions included Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows. This was his very first job, and his name or initials can indeed be spotted in the corner of some of the pictures.

The book contains no map and surprisingly has no index. This word-searchable file for the first time therefore offers the opportunity to locate all its references to a place.

We have also provided the file with bookmarks to each chapter. It will be available to download as soon as payment has been made. You go to your account and click on ‘Downloads’. New customers create an account as they place their order.


Pages 376
File Size (MB) 23.1

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