In researching my novel, which is set in the mid-1930s, I needed to do some research into train journey times. As any good Agatha Christie fan will know, the ABC railway guide was just what I needed, and I managed to get hold of a very exhausted one for April 1934 (Christie’s novel, The A. B. C. Murders, was published in January 1936). The ABC was first published in 1853, and was very much London-centric. So you can find out the 9.19am train from Wivenhoe arrived at London Liverpool Street at 10.36am (and operated on Mondays only) but if you want the times of trains from Wivenhoe to Colchester… well… this guide isn’t going to tell you.
The front of the book, before the timetables, is filled with hotel adverts. Starting with London, they are then alphabetical by the name of the town or city, and include the Channel Islands.
Most of the adverts (and there are hundreds!) are not very interesting – it’s incredible how similar hotel frontages at the time were. The ad will consist of an exterior photo or line-drawing of the hotel, very standard font and blurb about the hotel – such as the adverts for The Royal Esplanade, Seaford and Ryde Castle Hotels in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Rustington I have included here for looking like Mr. Rochester’s house in “Jane Eyre”, with its crenellations.
However, the bulk of the adverts in this gallery (follow the link to Flickr or see the slideshow below) are in fact not representational, and have been included here because they are rather interesting.