Gilbert Szlumper and Leo Amery of the Southern Railway

The Diaries of a General Manager and a Director

John King

Date Published :
June 2018
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
50 b&w illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473835276

Dimensions : 9.7 X 6.7 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 232
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Very few diaries of directors and senior managers of the Big Four railways have survived to enter the public domain. There are, however, two notable Southern Railway diarists whose records have been available in archives for some years, but have been largely ignored by historians; Southern Railway General Manager Gilbert Szlumper and Director Leopold Amery. Their remarkable diaries are addressed in this insightful book, which gives a slightly different view of the company in contrast to the almost sanitized histories by some writers.

The surviving diaries of Szlumper are far from complete. They begin in 1936 and continue into the war years, but there are several gaps. Throughout, Szlumper comments on individuals and developments, revealing little-known facts and the circumstances that meant he could never truly achieve his potential. Formally retiring in 1942, he died in 1969, after which his diaries entered the public domain.

Leopold Amery was director of the Southern Railway from 1932. A Birmingham Member of Parliament for many years, he was a statesman of some stature, his high offices including Secretary of State for the Colonies in the 1920s. In his autobiography, Amery writes very little on the railway, although he does comment on its family atmosphere. His diaries, which are in the public domain in a Cambridge University archive, have been published in two volumes but Amerys fascinating business activities were omitted by the publisher, and like Szlumper he comments on individuals and developments.

The diary information of these two exceptional men has been supplemented by information from the railway, state archives and other sources, and many of the photographs have never been published before.

About The Author

John King spent his working days in railways and airlines where he qualified as an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Transport. In the early stages of his career, he became interested in transport history and wrote several articles and books on Irish transport, British airline and airport history, including some commissioned by British Airways and British Airports Authority. Through his research, he became interested in archives and their management, and obtained a diploma in archives and records management. His last position before retirement from Network Rail was in railway records. Johns interests also extends to local history and he is a past chairman of the Lewisham Local History Society. John has also lectured on aspects of transport and local history.

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