There haven’t been anywhere near enough vintage books on here recently so let me try and rectify that situation with one of my recent car boot sale finds – Visitor’s London.
Whenever I go to a car boot sale or charity shop there are certain things that I am always looking out for. Ladybird Books is one such category, but not at all the only one. B and I have numbers collecting habits so we’re just as likely to be seeking out vintage toys and games or transport related bits and pieces. The further away from London you get the less you see with the familiar London. Transport (or TfL) roundel on it, but there is still treasure to be found and Visitor’s London is one such gem.
It was the roundel under the title on the front cover that first drew my attention to Visitor’s London, and then I spotted the slightly jazzy roundel used as the background on the rest of the book.
Written by Harold F. Hutchison Visitor’s London describes itself as “an alphabetic reference book for the visitor to London who wishes to also see something of London’s countryside”. Published by London Transport it seems that the first edition of this came out in 1954, with the 13th edition that I have found being published in 1967. In fact, it seems that a new edition was brought out in every year except 1961.
The book itself is split into two sections: London and London’s Country.
The first being an alphabetic list of places in London and the second being tourist attractions further afield.
Possibly the most exciting part for me is the How to Get There booklet that is inside the back cover – again in perfect condition.
Dated clearly on the cover as 1967 (and priced at 1/-) this little booklet contains the addresses, opening hours, prices of admission and routes for all the destinations featured in the main book. At the back is a fold out colour version of Beck’s Underground map showing the network as it was at the time.
The Victoria line, Hammersmith and City line and Jubilee line obviously didn’t exist back in 1967. Although you can see the second branch of the Bakerloo line, which went on to become the northern section of the Jubilee line and also the Baker Street to Hammersmith section of the Metropolitan line. Also marked as a branch of the Northern line is the section from Moorgate to Finsbury Park, that is now sometimes known as the Northern City Line and no longer part of Transport for London’s infrastructure.
The book as a whole is a gorgeous slice of London Transport history. There is reference to an earlier edition of such a book on the London Transport Museum website where there is a catalogue entry for a poster called Visitor’s London and the text there talks about an alphabetical guide which I am guessing is an earlier version of the same book.
It might have been the only bit of London Underground treasure that I found at this particular car boot, but bearing in mind that it, and a pile of six vintage cook books cost me only £3 I’m pretty damn pleased with my find!