|Official title 'The Royal Visit to Crewe Works'.
In April 1913 King George V and Queen Mary made an official visit to the London & North Western Railway's works at Crewe. A number of photographers were in attendance and contributed to an album commemorating the event.
Fortunately, this album has survived, and although the photographs are stuck on to the pages with some kind of glue and the paper from which the pages are made is now brown and crumbling with age, the photographs themselves on the whole are in remarkably good condition. A selection of them, along with the contemporary report of the visit published in the L&NWR Gazette, is contained in this book.
Most of the photographs have people in them, including the King, Queen, local dignitaries, railway company officials and many workmen. Predictably there are also photographs showing the royal train and L&NWR locomotives.
Crewe works built and repaired steam locomotives, and manufactured a large proportion of the necessary components. The album includes excellent studies of workmen in the process of carrying out their trades, including on the casting floor, the heavy forge, the blacksmith's shop, the lathe shop, the boiler shop and the erecting shop (where final assembly of the locomotives took place).
The photographs give a glimpse of life in England before the Great War; of the respect accorded to the royal family and of the enormous effort expended to make the visit a splendid occasion; of the working conditions of the ordinary people; of the interior of steel works, foundries, forges and machine shops; of the organisation of the works of a great railway and of engineering in the age of coal.
The book illustrates a way of life which was well ordered and apparently stable and enduring; but little more than a year later it was subjected to traumatic change as a consequence of war and in a very short time was swept away for ever.
Edited by railway historian Edward Talbot
Softback. 270 x 215mm. 48 pages
About 48 black & white photographs
A map showing the works in 1913 puts the various photographs into context