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Taking its lead from the London & North Eastern Railway, who had successfully tried out the idea of hiring camp coaches during the summer of 1933, the GWR authorised the conversion of 19 old passenger coaches into their first camp coaches that November. They were kitted out with kitchens and sleeping accommodation with the intention of sending them out to country stations around the system where the public would be able to hire them for a week or a fortnight during the summer season as holiday homes.
This novel idea proved to be so successful during the GWR's first season in 1934, that the company continued to develop the concept throughout the '30s, until the advent of the Second World War prevented further advancement of the idea. In the 1950s, the scheme was successfully revived all over Britain under British Railways.
Half a century later, Mike set out with a couple of photographs, a copy of a 1968 Great Western Echo and a GWR Camp Coach booklet to try to track down and interview as many people as possible who had made use of the GWR Camp Coach scheme during 1934-40. Placing a large number of appeals in local newspapers around the country, many people responded and came forward. The result is this lovely volume in which memories, photographs and other ephemera retained from that period have been combined with information gleaned from official records to form an intimate and personal look at the 1930s. It is a valuable and enthralling sociological study of that time.
218 pages, 1999, Case bound, 8¾" x 11", 1100g