We have two new books that are both linked to the Great Eastern Railways and are a must for railway enthusiasts.

Under The Griffin’s Wing: A Norwich Life

by Frederick G.G. Cobb

Under The Griffin's Wing, the life of Fred Cobb in the Great Eastern Railway and LNER

Fred Cobb was born in Norwich in 1896. Apart from military service in World War One and a ten year ‘exile’ in Ipswich, he lived his entire life in Thorpe, Norwich. He retired in 1961 after a fifty year career with the railways — initially the Great Eastern Railway (GER) which merged to become part of London and North East Railway (LNER) in 1923 and finally part of British Railways after nationalisation in 1948.

One of his main hobbies was writing and between 1929 and 1937 he was a regular contributor to the London & North Eastern Railway Magazine. Following his retirement, he contributed a number of articles of local interest to the Eastern Daily Press and Eastern Evening News. “Whiffler”, a columnist in the Eastern Evening News, once described him as a writer of “no mean journalistic ability” and “a really good writer” — these words of commendation encouraged him in 1973 to write this autobiography.

He typed the original manuscript and several photocopies were taken and distributed around the family. The consensus was that the work was of sufficient quality and interest to deserve a wider audience.

Fred died in 1977 at the age of 80 and nothing further was done about the book until the autumn of 2018 when Fred’s nephew, Alan Cobb, then at the age of 92, started the lengthy process of digitising the book by reading the entire contents into his computer (initially saving the work onto 85 different files!).

Alan’s son, Chris, and Fred’s daughter, Janette and other family members then took over and carried out the fact checking, proof reading, obtaining the necessary permissions to reproduce photographs, researching printers, cover design and multitude of other tasks to arrive at the finished book.

This is a beautifully produced book and compelling to read – a good indication is glance at a page and then find you’ve read a whole chapter when you should be updating the website!  This book will be popular with people with an interest in Norwich local history and railway enthusiasts alike.

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Under The Griffin’s Wing: A Norwich Life by Frederick G. G. Cobb
Paperback 224 pages; Leeco Publications
ISBN 9781916356405 RRP £14.00

Glory Days: Steam in East Anglia

by Peter Swinger

Great Eastern Memories

Glory Days: Steam in East Anglia recalls the era when steam ruled the tracks and the railways conveyed passengers and goods, from the commuter lines of Tilbury and Southend to the rural tranquility of north Norfolk.  This book describes and illustrates the steam trains which ran within Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Cambridgeshire between the mid-1930s to the end of steam.   It tells the story of many of the smaller companies that combined to from the Great Eastern Railway, plus some of those in the regions which continued to have an independent existence.

From the time of its incorporation under the Great Eastern Railways Act of 1862 from a number of smaller companies, the Great Eastern Railway held sway throughout East Anglia with niggling incursions from other companies in Norfolk and Essex. In north Norfolk the Midland & Great Norther Joint Railway had its line running from Bourne to Norwich, Cromer and Great Yarmouth whilst in the south of Essex the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway spoiled GER’s monopoly.

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Early Steam
  • The Holdens, Father and Son
  • Alfred Hill and the GER
  • Steam Power on the Tilbury Line
  • Midland and Great Northern Joint
  • East Anglian Steam on the LNER
  • The Final Act
  • The Rural Idyll.

Originally published by Ian Allen in 1999, this edition is copiously illustrated with over 180 photographs, many in full colour.

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Glory Days: Steam in East Anglia by Peter Swinger
Paperback 96 pages; Amberley Publishing
ISBN 9781445699646 RRP £14.99