In a talk at the British Library, Simon Jenkins tells the stories behind the development, triumphs and follies of that great British institution: the railway station.

From Waterloo to Whitby, St Pancras to Stirling, this is an institution with its own rituals and priests, and a long-neglected aspect of British architecture. Simon Jenkins has travelled the length and breadth of the country to select a celebration of Britain’s social history, exploring its role in the national imagination, and championing the engineers, architects and rival companies that made it possible.

The talk, at the British Library will be chaired by Andrew Adonis.

Tickets cost £12, and will be released tomorrow (Friday) at 11am – book here.

To talk takes place on Mon 30th October at 7pm.

Although this is about railways, there is also a rather charming series about churches presented by Simon Jenkins many moons ago, and is still available on Channel 4’s website.

It’s six half hour episodes of quite delightful relaxation.


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  1. Maurice says:

    Why are we all, of a sudden calling railway stations ‘train station’s? You see signs in so many places directing you to the ‘train station’ aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhh! We are not Americans! Our trains stop in railway stations.

    Rant over.

    • Ian Visits says:

      We’ve been calling them train stations since the Victorian times — there are loads of examples of that usage in newspaper archives.

    • Bob McIntyre says:

      Because it is in a newspaper doesn’t make it right! I agree with Maurice, “railway” NOT “train” station; there are too many Americanisms around. Much of the media now assumes we are part of the USA but don’t spoil such a good and informative Web site by descending to their level.

    • Ian Visits says:

      So who is the Official Declarer of Words to decide what is the Officially Correct Term?

      As it happens, in English, the language changes over time, and phrases come in and out of fashion, there is not right or wrong, just what is commonly accepted by sufficient people to make communication possible.

      If enough people call them train stations, then that’s what they are. If enough people call them wibblesticks, then that is also what they are.

  2. Ray says:

    Ian, I agree. The language continually evolves. Otherwise we might all still be speaking (and writing) the Middle English of Chaucer’s age or the 18th century English of Dr Johnson! The ‘rules’ of our language that many people like to pretend are set in stone have themselves slowly evolved over the last couple of hundred years or so and mainly serve to keep the pace of change to a manageable level rather than freeze the language in aspic. There is nothing wrong with train station of course, although it is perhaps historically more typical in the UK to use railway station. Let’s be honest, there is no logic to our language. We have always used bus station, for example. Perhaps bus stations should be called public transport road stations!

  3. john says:

    If I could delete one word from the English language it would be the word TOMORROW.

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