Jack Simmons

A reflection of the life and work of the leading historian of British railways, who died in September 2000

Jack Simmons, who died peacefully in September aged eighty-five, was a leading historian of British railways, for which he was belatedly honoured with the OBE in 1999. His railway publications capture the railways’ historical importance, showing how their development reflected and affected Victorian Britain; and they are written with rare vitality. These qualities arose partly from a fascination which began in childhood and retained its hold throughout life.

Simmons published his first articles as a schoolboy in the early 1930s, and wrote numerous books in later life, including The Railways of Britain: An Historical Introduction (1961), St Pancras Station (1968), The Railway in Town and Country (1986), and The Victorian Railway (1991). In 1997, aged eighty-two, he crowned his endeavours with The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, which he planned and edited with Gordon Biddle The Companion, which displays his broad, imaginative approach, has won high praise and large sales.

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