The UK Bible Students Website

History Corner





Christian Wolmar - British Rail 1920s-30s


Christian Wolmar, Fire & Steam: A New History of the Railways in Britain (2007; Atlantic Books, London), 243, 247.


Contemporary photographs of railway stations show that everyone dressed smartly when they took the train.


Commuters on their way to work would all wear a hat and gloves, all the year round, however hot and crowded the trains were, and even on the day excursions every man donned a tie and there is hardly an open collar in sight.


Women, while not quite putting on their Sunday best, would make every effort to look respectable in their smartest coat with hat and gloves. . . .

A typical menu in the 1920s offered on the . . . trains out of St Pancras was green pea soup, boiled turbot and potatoes, roast mutton and potatoes, cauliflower and carrots, cabinet puddings (layers of bread soaked in liqueur with dried fruit and custard!) and cheese and biscuits . . . . the restaurant cars were furnished in Louis XIV style with freestanding armchairs . . . while the kitchen next door was furnished with electric fridges and cookers. . . .


Services were improved with passengers being given free newspapers and magazines, and even offered, for a shilling, the loan of a headphone on which, thanks to a cable socket at the back of their seats, they could listen to the latest news and a selection of gramophone records, hosted by the worlds first mobile DJ.