The Oakwood Press.Oakwood Library of Railway History No. 234D. Roger Jermy. Limestone Industry Lines. 136 pages, b & w.
For the purposes of this book ‘Northern Northumberland’ is regarded as encompassing that area of the county lying within the administrative district of Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnwick. The lines covered in this series of books were constructed for a variety of purposes. This, the final volume, concentrates on the limestone industry. Almost exactly 200 years of local railway history are covered.
Whilst it has been necessary to include some technical railway details it has also been considered important to place the railways into their social, geographical and historical context. Whilst researching for the book it has been considered a top priority that original resources be consulted. Anecdotal evidence and evidence from secondary sources such as newspaper reports has been used on various occasions. However, memories, particularly of events that happened nearly a century ago, may have become clouded, and every effort has been made to find written material which corroborates the evidence of the spoken word.
This book attempts to be comprehensive, but written records of some of the railways are sparse or incomplete, and, in the case of many of the lines, there is no one left alive with personal memories to impart. Photographs can provide valuable insight into the working of a line. However, in researching this final book in the series the author has been handicapped by the early demise of some of the limeworks railways. Those at Beadnell, Seahouses and Ancroft, for example, had closed before the mid-point of the 19th century. Just two limeworks survived in the area until after the end of the Second World War.
Various ‘new’ photographs have become available since the publication of the first three books in this series. They illustrate lines already described in earlier volumes and the opportunity has been taken to reproduce them here as a short ‘gallery’. Notable amongst these are several photographs, taken in the early years of the 20th century, of Long Dyke Colliery in Shilbottle. In addition there is a collection of photographs taken soon after W.T. Bathgate closeed his quarry at Ward’s Hill in the 1960s showing the plant and remains of the rails and a locomotive. Other images provide additional views of steam in action at Amble, whilst others add to the social history associated with the lines.
A5 format, 136 pages, 159 illustrations.