The East Anglian Railways Company: a study in railway and financial history

Gordon, Donald Ian (1964) The East Anglian Railways Company: a study in railway and financial history. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This work covers the period from 1844 to 1862, and is set, against a national background, in the King's Lynn area, then suffering a time of severe economic transition as distant railways undermined the town's commercial monopoly, and low corn prices the agricultural economy. The companies, authorised in 1845 and amalgamating as the East Anglian Railways in 1847, were founded in a complex of personal greed, parochial ambition and commercial fears. In the following years they had to learn that they could not be the arbiters of the local economy. Misguided directors, faulty estimates, defective accounts, the inadequacies of Parliament, the duplicity of the Eastern Counties Railway and other factors led to bankruptcy. Slow recovery and appreciation of the company's proper place in the economy were complicated by the key role which the East Anglian assumed in the conflict between the Eastern Counties and Great Northern railways, the effects of which proved most serious to the local economy.

Despite local need for the railways the bulk of the capital came from London and the north, and this, when considered with the state of the general economy and other factors influencing public attitudes towards railway investment, led to grossly inflated capital commitments. The company had also to learn through experience of the close relationship between social conditions and revenue returns, and of the many problems of actual operation.

But for a variety of personal, economic, geographical and financial reasons, and by more successful participation in railway politics, the company survived, reaching stability by 1862. Its impact was seen to best advantage only in the long run, but its value to 1862 had been, in conjunction with other factors, to ensure for Lynn and local agriculture that the period was one of successful transition leading to prosperity rather than one of decay.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Keywords: East Anglian Railways Company.
Subjects: H Social sciences > HE Transportation and communications
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
Item ID: 42430
Depositing User: Airey, Ms Valerie
Date Deposited: 02 May 2017 07:44
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:58
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/42430

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