Big Wheels Keep on Turning

This is a post about a small book about big engines. There are thousands of books about railways; but most of them aren’t as nicely designed as this.

Patrick Stirling’s Locomotives, by LTC Holt, was published by Hamish Hamilton in 1964 and designed by Higginbottom and Oubridge (Who they? If you know, let me know please). I know a bit about the history of illustrated books in britain and the developemnt of art-direction in magazines and books. I know the illustrated books of Hugh Evelyn from the early 1960s, but these books by Hamish Hamilton are new to me.

The square format of the book is a big clue. As is the use of a photographic image enlarged so as to become slightly degraded. This book looks like it comes form the early 1970s. In fact, it’s from the first pre-commercial period of pop art in England.

You can see bits of Peter Blake, The Sunday Times Magazine and Sargent Pepper in all this.

The Stirling locos were designed, built and developed for the Great Northern Railway towards the end of the 19C. They were distinguished by the large diameter driving wheel. In their time, they were the biggest and quickest machines known to man.

There are a number of other titles in this series of books. Well worth looking out for.

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