For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

RH088: Giles's Trip to London 1871, extracts.

  • RH088:  Giles's Trip to London 1871, extracts.

NEW APRIL 2021.  'Giles's Trip to London' is a humorous fictional account of an Norfolk farm labourer's first visit to the capital. It was written in 1871 by James Spilling, who was then the editor of the Eastern Daily Press. A classic of its type, several reprints have been issued (the last as recently as 2001!). Here you will get scans of a very early edition, but since the copy has been rebound without its title page there is no date to it.

The whole book is written in the Norfolk dialect. The story is about Giles Hobbins, who inherits a sum of money and bravely decides to use it to visit 'Sairey' - a girl from the village who is now a domestic servant in Kensington. As it was written by someone who was doubtless familiar with going between Norwich and Llondon by train in the 1870's, the details should be authentic: when he describes the chaotic squash in the booking office at Bishopsgate, for instance, he must have experienced it.

This file provides about fifty of the book's 145 pages. They have been selected to cover his journeys up to London and back home again. He went by Great Eastern from Norwich Victoria station, having learned that he would need to catch the early-morning parliamentary train to go at the price he was expecting. At Ipswich the train waited about half an hour, so he visited the refeshment room. As a result of an unfortunate misunderstanding a policemen detained him while the bell was being rung for re-joining his train, so he missed it - he could only watch as it disappeared “right into a great black hole like a 'normous rabbit’s burrow made in the middle of a hill”.

Although they offered to book him on to a later train, he chose to wait for that one the next day. A helpful GER employee arranged for a telegram to be sent to Sairey - a process which mystified Giles. He explored some of Ipswich and the one shop he approved of was Ransome's, selling top-quality ploughs. He then took a trip on a paddle steamer, probably one of the GER ones, down to Harwich Pier, though Giles again managed to get himself into a scrape.

The next day he completed his journey and met up with Sairey, though not before his watch and all his money had gone missing.

The file is word-searchable and has bookmarks. 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.

File
Pages 56
File Size (MB) 2.0

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