The Brookwood Necropolis Railway By John M Clarke Oakwood Press Woking Surrey
The return of an Oakwood Press favourite which has been much enlarged for this Fourth Edition. The fascination continues in what must surely have been one of the most unusual train services to operate on a British railway - the service operated from London Waterloo to Brookwood Necropolis, near Woking. The book tells how the railway conveyed the deceased and their accompanying mourners to their final resting place, the Brookwood Necropolis, which at one time was the largest cemetery in the world. The Necropolis was originally promoted as concerns about public health in the nation’s capital and elsewhere had increased, London having suffered its first cholera epidemic in the mid-19th century. The service finally ceased shortly after World War II. The railway has been the inspiration for two novels, read the full true story of this remarkable railway which author John Clarke has been studying for more than 25 years.The Brookwood Necropolis Railway had many unusual features, in the cemetery there were two stations one for the Anglican section and another for the Non-Conformists and even after death class distinctions were made with first, second or third class coffin tickets available. Somewhat surprisingly there were licensed premises at the stations. Visitors to the station bars have said that there were notices displayed stating ‘Spirits served here’!
This much enlarged new edition, which includes expanded text and a number of new photographs, is to A5 format, with 192 pages of art paper. Amongst its 115 illustrations are photographs, maps, building plans, track layouts and plans of special rolling stock used on the line as well as tickets and other ephemera connected to the railway and the Necropolis company. This new edition also has a large pull-out map of Brookwood Necropolis. The book is perfect-bound with a laminated card cover and square-backed spine.