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Book Awards

RCHS Transport History Book of the Year 2015

The presentation of the prizes for the Railway & Canal Historical Society’s annual book awards has become an important part of the AGM weekend each year. For 2015 the presentations took place on the evening of 1 May in the Urban Hotel, Grantham.

The 2015 Railway Book of the Year and the overall winner of the Transport History Book of the Year is Philip Grosse’s The Railways of Carnforth the Town and its Ironworks, published by Barrai Books.

Philip Grosse is presented with the David St John Thomas silver cup by our President Graham Wild for the 2015 Transport History Book of the Year award (Photo: Tim Edmonds)
Richard Clammer is presented with his certificate by Graham Wild for the 2015 Waterways Book of the Year award (Photo: Tim Edmonds)

The David St John Thomas silver cup and cheque for £300 was presented to the author by the Society’s President, Graham Wild. Philip also received the society’s framed certificate and a further cheque for £300 as winner of the 2015 Railway Book of the Year.

The Waterways Book of the Year was awarded to Richard Clammer’s Passenger Steamers of the River Conwy serving the famous Trefriw Spa, published by The History Press. Richard was present to receive his framed certificate and cheque for £300.

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. 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 (

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 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 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 2015 and March 2016 are eligible for the 2016 awards; please contact the Book Review Editor ( for more information. If you would like to know more about the Book Awards scheme, please contact the Administrator (

Information about winners and finalists in previous years is on the winners’ page. Presentation of the 2016 awards will take place on the evening of Friday 29 April on the occasion of the Society’s AGM weekend which will be based at Croydon.