What the book awards are about
The society is keen to encourage the writing of well-researched, interesting and readable books in the field of transport history, and the annual Book of the Year awards were started in 2004 to help achieve this. Each year the society presents special framed certificates and cash awards to the authors of leading books in one or more categories: Railway, Canal, and Other Transport. There is also a Popular category for books which, while not based on original research of primary sources, nevertheless in the opinion of the judges add something worthwhile to the body of transport history. The overall winner receives a further cash award and the David St John Thomas silver cup to be held by the winner for a year. The awards are made possible by a generous legacy from our late member David St John Thomas – author of numerous books himself and well-known as a founder of the David & Charles publishing house. For details of the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust see (http://www.dstjthomascharitabletrust.co.uk/).
How the winners are decided
The society’s Journal carries a substantial book review section and eligible books are those on transport subjects that receive the best reviews in this. Currently there are some further qualifications. For example, books in categories other than Popular must be serious historical works based on original research, with subject matter primarily from the British Isles. Although quality of writing is important, reference works are also eligible and subject to appropriate assessment. The shortlisted books are considered by a panel of judges drawn from the membership of the society and the winners are announced at a ceremony at the society’s AGM in April/May each year.
How to enter books for the awards
If you are an author or publisher of books on transport subjects that you wish to be considered for an award, then please submit copies to the Journal for review. Books reviewed in the society’s Journal in 2017 and March 2018 are eligible for the 2018 awards; please contact the Book Review Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. If you would like to know more about the Book Awards scheme, please contact the Administrator (email@example.com).
Information about the winning books in previous years is on the winners’ page.
RCHS Transport History Book of the Year 2016
Announcement of the winners at the Railway & Canal Historical Society’s annual book awards evening has become an important and keenly anticipated part of the AGM weekend. For 2016 the presentations took place on the evening of 29 April at the Aerodrome Hotel, Croydon.
The 2016 Railway Book of the Year and the overall winner of the Transport History Book of the Year is the late Andrew Dow’s The Railway: British track since 1804, published by Pen & Sword Books.
The David St John Thomas silver cup and cheque for £300 were presented to the author’s widow, Stephanie Dow, by Graham Wild, the Society’s President. Stephanie also received the Society’s framed certificate and a further cheque for £300 as winner of the 2016 Railway Book of the Year.
The Canal Book of the Year was awarded to Tom Foxon’s Trent and Mersey Canal: trade & transport 1770-1970, published by Black Dwarf Lightmoor. Tom was present to receive his framed certificate and cheque for £300.
The Road Transport Book of the Year was awarded to the Roads & Road Transport History Association’s Companion to Road Passenger Transport History. Martin Higginson and Ken Swallow of the editorial team received the framed certificate and cheque for £300 on behalf of the Association.
The final award of the evening, for Popular Transport Book of the Year, was for Shropshire Union Fly-Boats: the Jack Roberts Story, published by the Canal Bookshop, Audlem Mill. This was written in the 1960s but only recently published. Jack’s daughter, Freda Weyman, attended to receive the certificate and cheque for £300 on behalf of Jack’s family