– A novel based on the Greenwich to Crystal Palace Railway. *
Manor House Library – The Baring Room 7.30 pm Thursday 7th June 2018
Veronica Thornton lived and taught art in south-east London for 30 years and is now based in Cambridge. Part of her inspiration to write her first novel was the long abandoned Greenwich to Crystal Palace Railway – the last local vestiges of which nearly disappeared just shortly before the time the novel itself is set – the 1970s – and a decade before the Café Rouge, the Hotel Ibis and theserious influx of tourists.
There are three main characters whose lives briefly overlap in the story: a dealer in antique prints and maps (!) on a mission to find the location of a Pissarro painting and in the course of his investigation visits all the stations, or what is left of them, along the Greenwich – Crystal Palace line. Meanwhile, a policeman is searching for a child missing from a school in the Crystal Palace area, and a young teacher starts her first job in the same school. The railway and a murder link all three characters.
As a crucial part of her research Veronica used old maps, various archive photos and magazine articles related to the subject. These are the images she will share in her talk, to show the railway as it was at different times in the 20th century. She will also explain how photos of the railway helped confirm the location of a Pissarro painting.
* ‘The Screaming Alice’ is cockney rhyming slang for the Crystal Palace.