The 'For Boys Of All Ages' series of books

The foreword to what turned out to be the very first book in this series seeks to explain the reasoning behind its publication. Sadly, the subtitle and content doesn't consider anyone other than fathers and sons or uncles and nephews being interested in railways. From reading some of the dedications on several of the books and jigsaws in our collection we know this was, of course, far from correct.

'Despite the fascination of aeronautics, wireless telephony, and other wonders of this twentieth century, our railways still hold high place in the esteem and affection of a host of youthful admirers, and for their edification and enlightenment some of the "hows," "whys," and "wherefores" in regard to modern railway practice are here explained.'

We have in our collection examples of each of the titles which eventually made up this series, all having seen a lot of use - which is really what was meant to happen. They all adhered to the same basic format in both binding and covers and, although the subtitle wording did subtly vary, with one exception, the words 'Boys of All Ages' remained a constant. All but one which had joint publishers, were published by The Great Western Railway. Several of these books have been subsequently republished in facsimile form in both paper back and hard back versions.


10.30 Limited book
Third edition

The 10.30 Limited

A Railway Book For Boys Of All Ages

Written by W.G.Chapman

'Printed in England at THE BALLANTYNE PRESS SPOTTISWODE, BALLANTYNE & CO. LTD. Colchester, London & Eton', with all editions priced one shilling.

The book follows a journey on the 10.30 Limited, otherwise known as the Cornish Riviera Express, from Paddington to Plymouth North Road Station. Each of the eighteen chapters along the journey exlores a particular aspect of the railway and includes many photographs and drawings by way of illustration. A colour plate showing the 10.30 Limited at full speed prefaces the book.

1st impression (Tenth Thousand) - August, 1923

Foreword dated June 1923. No index.

2nd edition (Twentieth Thousand) - September, 1923

A note to this edition explains that the opportunity had been taken to make a few revisions and additions to the text, including a brief description of the prototype engine Caerphilly Castle. An index has also been added.

3rd edition (Fortieth Thousand) - November, 1923

~ A copy of this third edition is in our collection ~
Contains 124 pages. This edition is probably a reprint of the September edition.

4th edition (Seventy-first Thousand) - February, 1924

~ A copy of this fourth edition is in our collection ~
The title page still says 'published in 1923'. Now contains 131 numbered pages.
Following the numbered pages there are now included no less than five pages each advertising a different GWR publication. These being the next book in the series Caerphilly Castle which is 'Ready in July', the Jig-Saw Puzzle of the engine of the same name, Through the Window 'number one: Paddington to Penzance', the four books comprising The Line to Legendland series, and finally the large Cathedrals book which apparently marked 'The high-water mark in the production of travel literature'.


Caerphilly Castle bookThird impression

"Caerphilly Castle"

A Book Of Railway Locomotives For Boys Of All Ages

Written by W.G.Chapman

Printed by 'KELLY & KELLY Printers LONDON, E.C.2', with all editions priced one shilling.

The cover features an unsigned 'wrap around' drawing of the engine pulling a train out of Paddington Station. The twenty chapters of this book cover not only the parts and principles of operation of a railway locomotive, but follow its construction in Swindon Works, and offer a good history of railway engines from before broad gauge days. A sepia plate showing examples of three G.W.R. locomotives from 1838-1923 prefaces the book.

1st impression (Tenth Thousand) - August, 1924

Foreword dated July 1923.

2nd impression (Twentieth Thousand) - September, 1924

3rd impression (Thirtieth Thousand) - September, 1924

~ A copy of this third impression is in our collection ~
Contains 199 numbered pages.
The final page of this edition carries an advert for the book "The 10.30 Limited" as being 'The book that makes uncles popular', and one saying 'Build the "Caerphilly Castle".... It is a Jig-Saw Puzzle equalling in value those sold in the shops for 7/6'. It is advertised at 2/6 from bookstalls, or 3/- by post.

4th impression (Fortieth Thousand) - September, 1924



BRUNEL and After book

BRUNEL and After

The Romance of the Great Western Railway

Written by Archibald Williams

'Printed in England by Kelly & Kelly Ltd., London, E.C.2', and priced one shilling.

The cover features an iconic image, signed Morton Studios, of Brunel standing in front of the chains of the Great Eastern which are carried onto the back cover. Advertised on the back cover, in a shield shaped panel, as being companions to this volume are the two books published previously, Caerphilly Castle and The 10.30 Limited. Not wishing to miss the opportunity, the panel also states that A complete and detailed History of the Great Western Railway is in the course of preparation and will be published later. Eleven chapters deal with the early beginnings of the GWR, through broad gauge and conversion to standard gauge, the railway during the (1914-18) war, and the subsequent increase in comfort, speed and safety.The last chapter lists some facts and figures, and some noteable dates in GWR history. A fold out map of the GWR system is attached at the back of the book.

Published - 1925

~ A copy of this sole impression is in our collection ~
Contains 205 numbered pages.
In addition to the advert on the back cover, a single page at the back of the book advertises two books uniform with this volume, being of course The 10.30 Limited and Caerphilly Castle. This book is something of an anomoly as it is quite clearly being treated as the third in this series, and yet it doesn't carry the sub-title For Boys Of All Ages and is unique in being written by Archibald Williams as opposed to W.G.Chapman. It would seem to have been quietly forgotten about for whatever reason, as it isn't promoted in later volumes and only enjoyed the one edition.


Twixt Rail and Sea book

"Twixt Rail & Sea"

A Book Of Docks, Seaports and Shipping For Boys Of All Ages

Written by W.G.Chapman

Printed by 'WILLIAM LEWIS (PRINTERS), LTD., 227, TOOLEY ST., LONDON, SE1, AND 43 PENARTH RD., CARDIFF', and priced one shilling.
Published in 1927 by H.N.APPLEBY, LTD., in conjunction with THE GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY. Both the joint publisher and the printer are quoted as having the same address.

The cover features an unsigned 'wrap around' drawing of a ship being loaded with coal at Newport Docks. This seemingly less popular, but nonetheless interesting book, contains fourteen chapters covering not only the docks owned by the GWR but dredging and diving, ships and men, and ships' terms, amongst other topics.

Published - 1927

~ A copy of this sole impression is in our collection ~
Contains 148 numbered pages. Foreword dated June 1927.
A single page at the back advertises, as being Uniform with this volume, two companion books The 10.30 Limited and Caerphilly Castle.


The 'King' of railway locomotives bookSecond impression

The "King" of Railway Locomotives

The book of Britain's Mightiest Passenger Locomotive For Boys Of All Ages

Written by W.G.Chapman

'Printed in Great Britain by WILLIAM CLOWES & SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BECCLES', with both editions priced one shilling.

The cover features a head-on view drawing of the engine. The first four chapters of this book are grouped under the heading The Evolution Of The "Kings", and the remaining six under the heading "Kings" In The Making. A double folded colour frontispiece carries an image of the engine with accompanying technical details.

1st impression (Tenth Thousand) - September, 1928

Foreword dated July 1928.

2nd impression (Twentieth Thousand) - September, 1928

~ A copy of this second impression is in our collection ~
Contains 149 numbered pages.
Two pages at the rear of this edition advertise as being 'uniform with this volume' the books The 10.30 Limited and Twixt Rail and Sea. A third page advertises various jig-saw puzzles, coloured plates suitable for framing, and the new and enlarged booklet G.W.R. Engine, Names, Numbers and Classes.


The Cheltenham Flyer bookThird impression

Cheltenham Flyer

A New Railway Book For Boys Of All Ages

Written by W.G.Chapman

'Printed in Great Britain by Kelly & Kelly Ltd., London, E.C.2', with all editions priced one shilling.

The cover features an unsigned 'wrap around' drawing of the train speeding along. A folded colour frontispiece carries an image of the train described as being The World's Fastest Steam Train. Inside the front and back covers are a sketch map showing the principle routes of the GWR. The first four chapters serve as an introduction with some history and background to The World's Fastest Train. Chapters 5 to 15 follow a trip from Paddington as far as Swindon and each also describes various aspects of railway operation such as signalling, train heating, vacuum brakes and such. The final five chapters visit the work carried out at Swindon Works.

1st impression (Tenth Thousand) - August, 1934

2nd impression (Twentieth Thousand) - October, 1934

3rd impression (Thirtieth Thousand) - February, 1935

~ A copy of this third impression is in our collection ~
Contains 232 pages.
One page at the rear of this edition carries the words for A Song of the "Cheltenham Flyer" by J.H.M., and a second advertises the books The "King" of Railway Locomotives, The G.W.R. Engine Book, and Locomotives of the Great Western Railway which contained 12 photogravure plates with salient dimensions for 6d. An inserted slip in our copy also advertises the availability of a Coloured Plate, suitable for framing at 1/- net, and An interlocking Jig-Saw of about 200 pieces, packed in an attracive box at 2/6 net, both being of the named train.


Track Topics bookThird edition

Track Topics

A Book Of Railway Engineering For Boys Of All Ages

Written by W.G.Chapman

'Printed in Great Britain by Kelly & Kelly Ltd., London, E.C.2', with all editions priced one shilling.

The cover features an unsigned 'wrap around' drawing of the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash. Inside the front and back covers are a sketch map showing the principle routes of the GWR. Twenty chapters cover many aspects of the civil engineering side of the railway including the laying of track, buildings, bridges, gradients, and Box Tunnel. There are also chapters titled Brunel, and The broad gauge and its fate.

1st edition - July, 1935

2nd edition - December, 1935

3rd edition - May, 1939

~ A copy of this third edition is in our collection ~
Contains 259 numbered pages. The original foreword from 1935 is retained, but a second one dated 1939 has been added and explains that the opportunity had been taken up to make a few alterations and additions to the text and illustrations in order to bring the book up to date.
A single page at the rear of this edition advertises three companion railway books, The Cheltenham Flyer, Loco's of the "Royal Road", and G.W.R. Engines.


Loco's of the 'Royal Road' book

Loco's of the "Royal Road"

A New Railway Locomotive Book For Boys Of All Ages

Written by W.G.Chapman

'Printed in Great Britain by Kelly & Kelly Ltd., London, E.C.2', and priced one shilling.

The cover features an unsigned 'wrap around' close-up drawing of King George V speeding past with a long train. Inside the front and back covers are a sketch map showing the principle routes of the GWR, and a large double folded colour frontispiece carries a cut-away image of a "King" class engine with 104 labelled components. The eighteen chapters of this book are styled as talks and cover history, various classes of locomotive, components and classifications. Once again, several chapters are dedicated to the construction of railway locomotives.

Published - 1936

Contains 232 pages.
~ A copy of this sole impression is in our collection ~
A single page at the back advertises two companion books Cheltenham Flyer and Track Topics.