Second edition of Bradshaw’s Railway Companion published in 1845 plus accompanying letter offered at £275 by World’s End Books.

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Excellent news comes from the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association which reports that ticket sales to its fairs by October 2023 were 50% up on the same period in 2022.

These were probably boosted by attendance at PBFA’s three new fairs launched last year, on the back of which two new events have been announced for 2024 (see ATG No 2609).

These are in Tunbridge Wells in February and Bath in July with the first of these running in the Kent town at The Spa Hotel on Saturday, February 3.

Specialist book dealer Tim Harper is organising this fair which is sponsored by auction house C&T, based in Kenardington in the same county.

He says: “The town has a long history of both a general book fair and a specialist military, aviation and naval book fair but Covid led to their disappearance.

“However, a number of dealers and customers asked if a general book fair could be re-established and we were booked out very quickly with 28 exhibitors and now have a waiting list.”

Travel companion

George Bradshaw’s compendious railway guides first published in 1839 have become famous in recent years thanks to Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys on BBC2 when the presenter uses one for his modern-day trips

A second edition published in 1845 of Bradshaw’s Railway Companion is offered at £275 by World’s End Books in London, one of the exhibitors at the Tunbridge Wells fair.

It includes a letter written in 1946 from Bruce Lyttleton Richmond (1871-1964), editor of the Times Literary Supplement, to his nephew Martin Richmond enclosing the book and saying “early Bradshaws are worth something” and urging him to contact named “splendid railway booksellers” asking if they’d like one.