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The Life of LTC Rolt (Hardback)

Where Engineering Met Literature

P&S History > Social History

By Victoria Owens
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 20 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399056618
Published: 13th May 2024
This Week's Best Sellers Rank: #18



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In 1926, Tom Rolt who was then sixteen years old, abandoned his public school education. Having taken a job with a small firm of agricultural engineers, he realised that he had found his life’s calling. But the way ahead was neither smooth nor easy. Having secured a premium apprenticeship, the firm which took him on foundered and although he eventually qualified as a mechanical engineer, the 1930s depression made it almost impossible to find regular employment.

Nothing daunted, with the encouragement of his mysterious companion ‘Cara’, he turned to writing. His literary career flourished alongside his association with the Vintage Sports Car Club, the Inland Waterways Association and the Talyllyn Railway. Between his Inland Waterways Association and Talyllyn phases, Angela, his first wife, left him to join Billy Smart’s Circus, and Sonia –an actress-turned-boatwoman – would become his second wife. Over the course of his life, he produced over thirty books, their subject matters ranging from canals and railways to engineering biography; company histories; a collection of accomplished ghost stories and a topographical survey of Worcestershire. He also wrote polemics about the plight of the craftsman in a world which relied increasingly upon mass production.

In this book, the first full-length biography of Tom Rolt and a complement to his auto-biographical Landscape trilogy, Victoria Owens draws upon his surviving letters and unpublished manuscripts to tell the story of the engineer-turned-writer who made Britain’s industrial past the stuff of enduring literature.

As featured in Waterways World Magazine - July 2024

Waterways World

About Victoria Owens

Winner of the inaugural 2009 Jane Austen short story competition, Victoria Owens is a published writer of fiction and non-fiction. Her novel 'Drawn to Perfection' was published by Hookline in 2013; Amberley Publishing brought out her study 'James Brindley and the Duke of Bridgewater - Canal Visionaries' in 2015; and her 'Aqueducts and Viaducts of Britain' appeared in March 2019.
Being interested in engineering history, Owens’s investigation of the industrial heritage of South Wales led her to encounter Lady Charlotte in her role as Iron Master of Dowlais, and she was determined to write about her.

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