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Railway book published 25 years after first edition



Twenty-five years after publishing the first edition, Brixham author Chris Potts has released a second version of his history of a local railway line. His follow-up edition of the Newton Abbot to Kingswear Railway is timed to coincide with the anniversary of the railway reaching Kingswear 150 years ago.

Potts said the newer version includes more historical information, personal anecdotes from those who worked on the railways and an update of the 25 years after his initial publication. “We found World War Two action records, runaway balloons and bombing that went on. “In particular it’s very fascinating in Kingswear how they had problems getting water in the engines. The railways needed water to run, and in the 19th century there were great problems with water shortages.”

This isn’t the first time Potts has updated a book of his, having published the second edition of his history of the Brixham railway branch in 2000. As well as railways, he has also written on the history of Brixham’s boys’ home and the town’s museum.

Having started his career on the railways at Torquay booking office in 1962, Potts later worked in Plymouth divisional office before spending 34 years at British Railway. After retirement he returned to the West Country, living in Brixham ever since. His latest book took him four years to update, on and off.
“I’ve always taken great delight in railways and railway history, so it’s a dream come true. I’ve made a good job of this, I’m pleased with it.”

With 352 pages the latest version is longer than the original at 218 written pages plus eight blocks of photos. At a print run of 1,000, half its predecessor’s in 1989, the latest edition may not be able to sell many but has still made a good start, with Torbay Bookshop selling 13 of its first 15 copies.


Chris’ book is also available for purchase from the Museum shop – price £19.95

More Pieces of Brixham Life






More Pieces of Brixham Life — A Selection of Short Stories By Howard Binham

The Museum has arranged to republish Howard Binham’s engaging ‘Pieces of Brixham Life’, short musings on Brixham life and landscape interspersed with delicious descriptions of local walks taken with his dog. It’s a fascinating set of writings, including rather nice poems, which captures Brixham exceedingly well. This gentle work has been too long out of print but can now be purchased from the Museum shop.

Our volunteer, Mrs Mona Stock, has produced the revised edition of the book of ‘Short Stories’ that Howard wrote in 2001 – a wonderful tour of the area — with a literary slant! She has aided Howard in the revision, converted the text to an electronic version, and paid for the first 20 copies to be printed. They are selling like hot cakes!

At Work on the GWR in the 1890s


Frank Hill cover picture


At Work on the GWR in the 1890s: Frank Hill, Reliefman at Newton Abbot is the latest work by Chris Potts for Brixham Heritage Museum. Chris has provided an excellent editorial of Mr Hill’s letters, copied from a meticulously kept correspondence book loaned to the Museum by his granddaughter, Mrs Margaret French. They provide an interesting insight into the life of a GWR worker, who spent many years at stations and signal boxes on the Teign Valley line and across South Devon before promotion to Stationmaster at Churston.

Throughout his working life, which encompassed personal tragedy and fierce disputes with GWR managers, the hours were long and the variable work poorly paid – Mr Hill wrote many letters on his own and colleagues’ behalf stating reasons for wage increases – although he was clearly skilled in many tasks that ‘oiled the wheels’ of a regional railway and Chris Potts’ expert commentary clearly illuminates the details. Launching at the annual Steam Fair, the book will be available through the Museum and is not to be missed!

The book is priced at £4.99 by the way!