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Ironbridge Museum man tells railway's story in new book

By Toby Neal | Attractions | Published:

A key figure in the Ironbridge Gorge Museum over 30 years has written a new book telling the story in pictures of the Great Northern Railway.

Great Northern Railway Gallery by Michael A. Vanns.

Michael Vanns was at the Ironbridge museum from 1978 to 2009 and worked on a variety of projects, starting with the Elton Collection which examined the Industrial Revolution through contemporary prints, drawings and books.

He was the museum's head of education and was involved in the preservation of the Jackfield Tile Works, as well as the recreation of the Blists Hill Victorian Town, where he was responsible for designing displays and choosing which buildings would be reconstructed there.

He has written 13 books, all but two of which are on railway subjects.

"Great Northern Railway Gallery" is a pictorial journey through time which aims to capture something of the spirit of a once-great organisation in the heyday of Britain's steam railways.

It tells the story of the GNR's independent years, until it was absorbed into the London & North Eastern Railway in 1923.

Although operating a network of nearly 700 miles between King's Cross in London and York, and mainly eastern areas, its domain did extend as far west as Stafford.

In 1881 the GNR took over the Stafford & Uttoxeter Railway which meant it could run its trains to Stafford, having reached an agreement with the LNWR to use its station there.

"Great Northern Railway Gallery" is published by Pen & Sword and costs £25.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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