For enthusiasts,researchers and modellers of the Great Eastern Railway

RG039: East Anglian Health and Holiday Resorts Illustrated, c.1896.

NEW APRIL 2021. This book is called 'East Anglian Health and Holiday Resorts Illustrated'. It bears the subtitle 'A pictorial and descriptive guide for the tourist or visitor, the student of antiquity and the lover of the picturesque'.

It is fascinating, not least because it doesn't exist!  There is not a single copy available throughout the second-hand book trade, there is no mention of it anywhere in all the usual places and neither the Norfolk County Library nor any other seems to have it. The one I possess is missing its front and back covers, but everything in between is definitely real and appears to be complete.

It has no indication of date. There is a written inscription on the title page "From Flo . Walter Xmas 1921", but it looks earlier than that: the photographs show no cars, and no telephone numbers apppear. The latest date spotted in the text is 1895, which puts it in the final years of Queen Victoria.

Nor is there any clue as to an author or editor. All it tells us is that it was "printed and published by Page Brothers and Co., St Stephen's Printing Works, Norwich". It is quite a large book, with 118 pages roughly the size of those in our Journal but landscape in orientation.

Like others of its type, it is a mixture of descriptive text, photographs and advertisements. It has a huge number of local advertisements, especially for the Norwich area, and in that respect it stands out: most are ones that do not appear in other publications, and in several instances include a photograph of the shop front itself. There is no GER advert present, but there is a full-page one which illustrates the steamers on the Yarmouth to Hull route and describes the service they provided.

Similarly the main text and the selection of photographs to illustrate it have a different 'feel' to them. Thus Norwich cathedral is there of course, but so too are interior views of the Roman Catholic church and Princes Street Congregational chapel. It is probably the only such tourist guide which includes a sub-section devoted to the Norwich cemetery.

Despite its title, coverage is distinctly patchy. Kings Lynn does not feature at all, for instance, nor do Southwold, Felixstowe or any of the Essex coastal resorts. It does include Norwich, Yarmouth, Cromer, Lowestoft, Ely, Peterborough, Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Hunstanton (but with no illustation), Sandringham (again with no illustration, just a page of text reposing in the middle of the section on Lowestoft), Ipswich, the Broads and Beccles.

Perhaps understandably, the compiler was much more at home dealing with the Norwich area. A most generous thirty of the pages are devoted to the City. Beccles is granted more space for its text, its photographs and all its local advertisements than Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds or Peterborough get!

Nevertheless despite these limitations this is a really excellent book to get a flavour of those places at that time. You will not get it anywhere other than here, and I don't think you will regret purchasing it.

The file has bookmarks and is word-searchable. 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 118
File Size (MB) 21.5

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