Author(s): Holgate, Mike,
Binding: Hardback,
Date of Publication: 05/05/2011,
Pagination: 136 pages, over 50 illustrations,
Series: 20th Century Architects,
Imprint: Halsgrove,
Published By: Halsgrove,
Book Classification: Literary studies: fiction novelists & prose writers, Trains & railways: general interest
ISBN13\EAN\SKU: 9780857040909


The romance of the Great Western Railway and the Golden Age of steam continues to hold a fascination for many. In this book the reader is presented with the darker side of ‘God’s Wonderful Railway’, one in which the author relates true and bizarre events that paint the railway in a chilling and sinister light. Drawing on contemporary court records and newspaper accounts of the day, the author recounts stories of murder, death and mystery surrounding those who built, work and travelled on the GWR.

The fascinating and compelling stories of murder and mystery that took place on the Great Western Railway in its heyday in Victorian times include :

• A murder at Slough when criminal history was made on New Year’s Day 1845 when John Tawell became the first murderer to be apprehended by the use of an early form of telegraph. Tawell killed Sarah Hart, a former lover and mother of his two children, at her home by lacing a glass of porter with poison.

• The Great Western Train Robbery on New Year’s Day 1849.

• The Bermondsey Murder. The case of husband and wife killers Frederick and Maria Manning caused a sensation when they robbed and murdered Patrick O’Connor at their London home in 1849.

• Murder and attempted suicide at Newton Abbot.

• The Coldrenick Viaduct tragedy when a platform collapsed hurling twelve workers to their deaths in 1897.

• Suicide in a Cornish Railway Carriage.

• The peculiar death of George Churchward.

Mike Holgate lives in Torquay, South Devon, and has combined three careers as an author, musician and librarian since obtaining an honours degree from Plymouth University. He is a regular contributor to Devon Life Magazine and the author of several books including two about the notorious murderer and one-time GWR employee John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee - ‘The Man They Could Not Hang’.

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