The Second Railway King

The Life and Times of Sir Edward Watkin 1819-1901

by David Hodgkins

Edward William Watkin bestrides the Victorian Railway Age. As a boy of 11 he watched the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. Two years before he died he was present at the opening of Marylebone Station, the terminus of the Great Central's London Extension, the last main line to be built in Britain. Between these two occasions lay a colourful life. Beginning his career with one of the constituents of the London & North Western Railway, Watkin went on to manage the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire, before becoming chairman of the MS&L, the South Eastern Railway and the Metropolitan. Best remembered as the driving force behind the London Extension, Watkin was also a protagonist of the Channel Tunnel project, London's Inner Circle, and the ill-fated Wembley Tower. As president of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, he played a prominent part in the political unification of that country. Throughout his life Watkin was politically active. Starting out as a Manchester Radical and supporter of the Anti-Corn Law League, he later became a Liberal and then Liberal Unionist MP for 25 years. He was a leading member of the Railway Interest in the Commons. No biography of Sir Edward Watkin has hitherto been published. Here for the first time is a fully rounded, scholarly picture of one of giants of the Railway Age, based entirely on extensive archival research in both British and Canadian sources.

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2002. Hardback, xx + 713 pages
51 plates, 21 maps

ISBN 1 898937 49 4