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GRAY, Thomas

Observations on a general iron rail-way, or land steam-conveyance; to supersede the necessity of horses in all public vehicles: showing its vast superiority in every respect, over all the present pitiful methods of conveyance by turnpike roads, canals, and coasting-traders. Containing every species of information relative to rail-roads and loco-motive engines.
London, Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1825. 5th edn.

Thomas Gray was an early visionary, proposing to link the main commercial centres of Great Britain by railway. He envisaged a great trunk line between London and Edinburgh via Leicester, Nottingham, and Sheffield with branches to Birmingham, Bristol and beyond. He foresaw that locomotives would supersede horses and predicted many of the social benefits that a railway system would bring.

His book, of which the first edition appeared in 1820, helped to familiarise the public with the idea of a locomotive-driven railway system. This fifth (and last) edition is considerably larger than the previous ones and contains much new material, including details of Blenkinsop's patent rack railway at Middleton Colliery (which Gray had seen as a boy in Leeds), various petitions to government ministers and to the Corporation of the City of London, and many newspaper reports on railways in general.

This edition is also notable for the inclusion of Josias Jessop's two reports on the Cromford & Peak Forest Canal, their only known appearance in print. In addition it contains a splendid large frontispiece together with a plate illustrating "The draught of a general iron rail-way" also present in the fourth edition though not in the earlier ones.


8vo. xxiv + 233 + (1)pp, 5 engraved plates (2 folding). Publisher's boards, crudely rebacked in cloth. Joint between title and contents page repaired with old conservators' tape. Skempton Nos.583,727, Ottley No.256.



Catalogue No: 6126