Charles Phillips

Left is an extract from the third and last edition Murray’s Handbook for the Eastern Counties which was first published in 1892.
Murray’s handbooks were British rivals to the more famous German Baedeker’s handbooks and are reckoned to be superior. Compared to Baedeker they tended to be more detailed. Baedeker used two guides for the whole of Great Britain. One for London and the other for the rest of the country with a brief summary of London. Murray, whilst it did have a guide covering the whole of Great Britain tended to go for individual areas or counties. Whilst this policy did increase their usefulness it also meant that if you decided to do a tour round Britain you needed an awful lot more Murray’s than Baedeker’s  Of course both covered countries outside of Great Britain as indeed with Baedeker was natural. The first edition of Murray’s Handbook for the Eastern Counties was produced in 1870 and the last in 1892. Sadly no more were produced.  Indeed Murray’s seem to have retreated somewhat after 1900.  The last one being for India in the 1930s, by which time the Blue Guide had come along. Baedeker continued into the mid 1940s in Germany and the late 1930s in Britain.  Sadly Stock never appeared in Baedeker.
The guide book itself is very much a book of the railway age. Indeed the motor car had only just been invented
and other than the railway the only forms of transport were horse and carriages, bicycles and in coastal areas steam boats.
As you can see Stock’s main attraction indeed only attraction is the church. That is somewhat better than guide books today, which do not even mention the village.
The pages herewith are reproduced courtesy of Archive CD Books Ltd of 5 Commercial Street, Cinderford, Gloucestershire GL14 2RP – who do a number of old books on cd including all of Kelly’s Post Office Directories for Essex.
Old House Books of The Old Police Station, Pound Street, Moretonhampstead, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 8PA – have produced facsimile editions of Baedeker’s Great Britain for 1890 and London for 1900.
Charles Phillips
52 Brookmans Road, Stock, Ingatestone, Essex CM4 9DB
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