A brand new invaluable modelling resource book: “SOUTHERN NOUVEAU – And the Lineside” by the Irwell Press

Although not strictly model news this latest book from the excellent Irwell Press stable will provide an invaluable resource for LSWR, Southern or Southern region modellers alike. ‘Southern Nouveau: An essay in concrete’ was originally published as a small paperback comprising of only 56 pages, 30 years ago in 1987 by Chris Hawkins and George Reeve via Wild Swan Publications,  and has long since been out of print, with some copies fetching silly amounts of money on well known auction sites.

The latest, hot off the press (last weekend in fact) publication from my good friends at the Irwell Press,  is “SOUTHERN NOUVEAU – And the Lineside.” a very much expanded tome at 400 pages and in hardback format  It covers much more of the story of the Exmouth Junction Concrete Works, from its early beginnings, the development of its products and is somewhat expanded, from the original publication, to cover many more lineside items as the title implies.
It includes pretty much all the Concrete items, from entire huts and footbridges, to humble posts in every conceivable size and configuration, that poured out of the special concrete works at Exmouth Junction and slowly caused the ‘look’ of the Southern to change. And that was before the celebrated Southern Art Deco buildings began to appear, which are also included in this publication.
This a comprehensive record and account of those years, of developments which rippled out across the wider BR network until even the 1970s. It uses a large number of photographs and drawings, along with detailed descriptions, of almost every facet of the Southerns lineside items as they evolved well into BR days, even including details of the official painting specification for the myriad of items that are included, ranging from Posts, Platforms, Name / running boards, Bridges, Huts, Stores, Stations, Engine Sheds and Signal Boxes.

I am pretty confident that there is no other single source in which almost the entire spectrum of lineside items of the Southern Railway / Region can be found and therefore it will prove to be a most valuable resource, so I wholeheartedly  recommend it to any Southern / Southern Region historian or modeller . I have even been able to provide a small contribution within the weighty book, see if you can spot it…

5 thoughts on “A brand new invaluable modelling resource book: “SOUTHERN NOUVEAU – And the Lineside” by the Irwell Press

  1. Southern Nouveau: An essay in concrete was /is one of those books you simply could not do without.

    I anticipate SOUTHERN NOUVEAU – And the Lineside to be the same.


  2. My copy arrived today so I haven’t had time to go through it with a fine tooth comb. However, my first reaction is that it is disappointing, there are certainly some excellent (and well produced) photographs, but I have seen most, if not all, of the drawings before and there are a lot of standard SR/BR(S) concrete items which are not covered by them. (Memo to self, must get round to drawing up all my dimensioned sketches made 50 years ago.) It also seems to me that the authors’ knowledge of the history is a little lacking, perhaps best illustrated by the coverage of speed restriction signs where temporary restriction signs are covered in depth with drawings, but references to permanent restriction signs refer to the cut-out metal signs which were IIRC a BRB-inspired import from the LNER in the early 1960s [so not really Southern nor even BR(S)] and there seems to be no mention at all of the standard SR △ markers at all, even though examples lasted through to the late 1960s. The coverage of the early LSWR concrete footbridges is excellent (with rare good pictures of the example at Bollo Lane which certainly lasted into the late 1960s and possibly later), but there doesn’t seem to be any mention, let alone explanation, of the two different SR designs [most probably SR/BR(S)] even though they are pictured on the same page. I suspect that, at the end of the day, a lot of modellers are going to be mislead by the book.

  3. I should add that one of the real bonuses of the book for modellers is the complete (or near complete) set of “structure” painting guide sheets included in its final pages. I already had a lot of these but there are ones included that I hadn’t seen before. The sheets are “corrected” to the BS colours used by BR(S) rather than the hand-mixed paints used by the Southern Railway but nobody should get hung up on this, the differences are negligible and well within the range of variations resulting from wear and exposure to sun, rain, wind and pollution. Although, typically, structures were repainted once a decade, there were odd and strange exceptions where particular locations seemed to miss out on repainting altogether. As an example, well into the 1950s Catford station (on the Nunhead-Shortlands line) appeared to be what can best be described as dilapidated, but on closer examination bore clear evidence of the late SECR paint scheme with a very large “CATFORD” painted within the wooden down-side platform shelter.

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