1867



If I’m yon haughty lordling slave. By nature’s law design. 

Why was an independent wish. E’er planted in my mind?

If not, why am I subject to. His cruelty or scorn? 

Or why has man the will and power. To make his Fellow mourn?

Robert Burns


 The Strike of the

London, Brighton, & South-Coast Railway.

Engine Drivers

Tuesday 26 March 1867

 

On Monday 25th, March, 1867 a deputation of the Engine Drivers and Firemen awaited upon the Directors at London Bridge Terminus, on the understanding come to between them on Friday week, that an adjournment of the determination of the men to leave the service of the Company, should take place for a week, in order to afford the board time to consider the whole question.

The scale of wages proposed by the Directors to the Engine Drivers was an increasing one of 6d. per day, at intervals of twelve months to a maximum of 7s. 6d. per day at the end of two years’ service. The strong objection of the deputation was that the advance of wages proposed by the Directors was to take place every twelve months, at the option of the Locomotive Superintendent, and the feeling expressed by the men was that this arrangement would occasion be continuance of a grievance of which they professed to have complained, viz., that a system of favouritism would be pursued. We are informed that with the exception of the question of wages and the objection to power to be given to the Locomotive Superintendents, the other requisitions of the men were compiled with.

The interview between the men and the Board lasted above an hour. The Board declined to accede to the two disputed points, and the men refusing to withdraw them, they retired, stating that they should adhere to their notices for quitting the services of the company, and therefore would not work any of the trains of the Brighton line next day.

The Directors of the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway have addressed the following circular to the Engine Drivers in their employment:- 

“The Directors have carefully considered the memorial presented by the Enginemen and firemen with an anxious desire to arrive at a settlement of the question just and satisfactory to all parties, the proprietors, the men, and the public. From the verbal explanations which have taken place, the directors find that the men attach most importance to the number of hours constituting a day’s work or duty, and the Board are able to meet this request freely on the basis of 60 hours per week of six working days, all time beyond to be paid for at the rate of eight hours per week-day as proposed in the memorial. Arrangements will be made to obviate any ground of dissatisfaction as to the payment for extra time and the working out of detail. With reference to the scale of wages suggested by the memorial, the directors are glad to find that the main objection which they see to it is recognised by the older and more experienced of the drivers. It would be unjust and inexpedient that all should be placed on a footing of equality as regards pay, irrespective of experience and other qualifications which constitute a first-class driver as distinguished from an ordinary driver. Such, however, would be obviously be the effect of advancing all –even the least experienced and capable-to the maximum scale of pay at the end of a few months. Such a result would not be to the permanent interest of the men. At present, out of a staff of 191 enginemen, there are more than 100 whose minimum fixed pay is 7s per day and upwards, namely, 74 at 7s, and 35 at 7s 6d per day. The directors feel no difficulty in giving an assurance that the number of men receiving the maximum rate of wages will steadily increased. A corresponding number of firemen will be maintained at a rate of pay, and on terms generally at least as favourable as may prevail on any railway in the kingdom. As evidence of the desire manifested by the board to deal liberally with their men, this company has established and maintained without contributions from the men, a special fund to provide for the superannuation of incapacitated or old and faithful servants, at the credit of which fund there is now £22,853 available for that purpose. An overcoat will be supplied to the men each year, and they will be allowed to retain the old one, as requested in the memorial. On all occasions when men are sent on duty rendering it necessary for them to reside from their homes, they will be paid two shillings and six-pence per day for their expenses, as requested in the memorial. As a rule engine drivers and firemen are to have nine hours clear off duty before being called upon again, as requested in the memorial. Time and half will continue to be allowed for all Sunday duty as requested in the memorial. It is the desire of the Board that any arrangement made shall not be just and mutually satisfactory now, but that it may be such as to maintain, permanently, the good relations which have subsisted between the Board and their staff without interruption for upwards of twenty years. To ensure this the Directors will quite ready to see any man who may feel dissatisfied; and as the public have a vital interest in the question, the directors are willing to leave to the settlement of a public board - say the Board of Trade – any question which from time to time they may be unable to adjust.” 

Walter B. Bartellot, Deputy Chairman.

London Bridge Terminus, S.E. March 21

 


 Enginemen's Reply

The engine drivers and firemen have sent the following 

reply to the Directors.

The engine-driver and firemen employed on the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway respectfully acknowledge the receipt of proposals under to them by the Directors in answer to their memorial, and desire to tender them their hearty thanks for the consideration accorded to them.

They freely admit that proposals now offered would to some extent remove their present causes of compliant, and render their working more satisfactory to themselves, and s they believe, more beneficial to the Company.

They submit, however with all difference, that the proposals to fix the working on the basis of 60 hours a week of six working days, instead of ten hours of ten hours daily labour, is liable to many objections which, perhaps, did not occur to the directors. The engine-drivers and firemen look at the matter in this light: - Under the system of working by 60 hours a week, they may have to work 15 hours on one day and only five the next; or it might be possible to keep them on for 20 hours on one day, and allow them to be off the next. Now, they believe that the detriment to themselves and risk to the public is caused by that one day’s overwork, which cannot be compensated by shed restrictions from labour on the succeeding day. What they really desire is to work day by day, as nearly as possible, for ten hours, and, in cases where this must be expanded, that their over-time shall cause by this excess daily, and not by the excess over 60 hours weekly. It is not believed that there would any real difficulty in making such an arrangement, and as the Directors have an anxious desire to achieve at a just and satisfactory settlement of the question, their servants respectfully ask that the simple arrangement of ten hours a day should be adopted instead of 60 hours a week as proposed.

The engine-drivers would further say without reflecting at all on the management of the Brighton Railway, that there are other lines where the men have been induced to agree to a weekly basis of 72 hours in the belief that that would imply a daily labour of 12 hours, whereas some of them now running from 16 to 19 hours a day, and yet not exceeding the 72 hours a week. It is to prevent this very thing, and effect a permanent settlement of the question, that the men are so anxious to have their time defined by the day instead of week by week.

The Directors say that 'arrangements will be made to obviate any ground of dissatisfaction as to the payment extra time and the working out of detail.' If by this the directors mean that they will adhere, as much as possible, to ten hours a day, and that in rare case where it may be exceeded the excess shall be counted as overtime, let them say so in play words, and the difficulty is at an end.

The engine-drivers are disappointed that the Directors have taken no notice of the second and third points in memorial respecting mileage and shed days. The men attach great importance to the question of mileage, and they take the absence of any allusion to it by the Directors as an indication that they will be compelled to run as many miles as superintendents may think expedient.

In reference to the scale of wages the Directors say, 'It would be unjust and inexpedient that all should be placed ona footing of quality as regards pay, irrespective of experience and the other qualities which constitute a first class driver, as distinguished from an ordinary driver.'
In answer to this, the Engine Drivers would say, in the first place, they that no incompetent or inexperienced man should be employed to drive an engine. The safety of life and property, and the man's own safety, demand that he should not be trusted with such responsibility: but, having got a man thoroughly qualified, they think 7s 6d a day is not extravagant pay for him. If  there are men who have proved themselves of extra capacity, or higher attainments, the officials can always advance their position by committing to them the higher trusts, and by rendering their lot somewhat easier than others, or even some extra remuneration might in some way be awarded to such valuable servants. It is creditable to the 'older and more experienced' drivers of the Company that they were unanimous in agreeing to a memorial for a scale of wages which would not benefit themselves, expect by insuring that, while they were careful and attentive to their own duties on the road, they had drivers, both before and behind them, who were careful and competent.

The Engine Drivers are glad to hear that “The Company has established and maintained, without contributions from the men, a fund to provide for the superannuation of incapacitated or old faithful servants,” which now amounts to £22,853, but they must say that this is the first time they ever heard of it.

The Engine-Drivers and Firemen have to thank the Board respectfully for conceding so freely all the other points in the memorial, especially for the assurance that they will be quite ready to see any man who may feel dissatisfied, and they hope they will be equally generous in reconsidering the of the hours and the wages in which, perhaps the difference may be more apparent than real. They regret however, to say, that as the case at present stands, the omission of any allusion to the mileage and shed days, and the proposal of the directors on hours and wages are not at all satisfactory, and they cannot consent to work under them.

Signed on behalf of the Deputation, James Thompson

Tooley Steet March 23.

 

Negotiations between the engine drivers and the directors of the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway have not been successful. The men struck on Monday, and the Directors have issued notices that the timetables of the line must be held in abeyance, and that fewer trains will be run until men are secured. 

The Directors have issued the following account of the breaking off of the negotiations:-

“The Directors were not without hope that the reply which they had given to memorial presented by the enginemen and firemen would have solved the pending difficulty, but they must now inform the public that the majority of the enginemen and firemen constituting the staff of this railway have notified their intention of retiring from the service unless their demands are satisfied.

At a further interview to-day satisfactory explanations took place, and an agreement was come to as regards Shed Day, Sunday Work, the number of miles to be run as constituting a day’s work, amounting in the aggregate to not more than 750 miles per week – all beyond that number to be counted, and paid for as extra. The board also, though deeming the demand unreasonable, and not for the permanent interest of the men, conceded that each day should be counted as ten hours, instead of as a tenth of sixty hours; although, in practice, the day’s work is limited very frequently to less than five hours.

The rate of wages paid by this Company is so liberal that no permanent loss will result in conceding the scale asked. The directors were therefore willing that the minimum pay of drivers should be 6s., progressing towards to 7s. 6d per day; and the minimum pay of Firemen 3s. 6d,. advancing to 4s. 6d. per day. But the demand that all Engine –drivers and Firemen shall be advanced to the maximum scale of wages after a few months of service, without reference to their ability, is so wrong in principle that the board cannot reconcile it with sense of duty to consent to such demand.

Should the Engine-Drivers and Firemen act on their notices and retire, the directors will at once reduce the number of trains and the present speed, so as not to exceed in any case of a maximum of twenty miles per hour; and they will make available all the resource and means at their disposal for safely working as many trains as practicable and will not spare the exertion to replace staff at the earliest possible period.

By order

Allen Sarle Acting Secretary,

London Bridge Terminus, March 25, 1867. 

 

At Brighton during Monday night Mr. Craven, the locomotive superintendent; Mr. Molineaux, his assistant; Mr. M.G. Denvill, assistant traffic manager; Mr Webley, the station superintendent, with their chief clerks and subordinates, were either travelling, working, or telegraphing all over the system in order to provide against the contingency.
Notwithstanding the anxiety shown by the Directors of the Railway to meet the demands of their Enginemen and Firemen, the latter remained unsatisfied, and the following announcement was issued on Monday night :-

 

 LONDON, BRIGHTON, AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY

The public are respectfully informed that, in consequence of the strike of a large number of Engine Drivers and Firemen, with the time tables must considered as in abeyance. The utmost possible endevuors will be made to carry passengers to their respective destinations, but a large number of trains must be taken off, and the speed of those run materially diminished.

By order, A. Sarle, Acting Secretary.

Secretary’s Office, London Bridge, March 25, 1867.

In March the engine-men on the Brighton Railway struck, choosing the first day of the Epsom Spring Races as a favourable occasion. Only two drivers remained at work, but by supplementing these by locomotive foremen and shed-men, together with a few station-masters and inspectors who had had locomotive experience, eighteen engines were kept in service the first day and a considerable proportion of the traffic dealt with, although some of the less important branches had to be worked by horses. 

The threatened Strike of the Engine-drivers on the Brighton Railway began on the morning of Tuesday 26th March, and never since the famous cab strike in 1853 has such great sudden inconvenience been inflicted on the public. The Brighton line is above all others a line for the accommodation of London people. Brighton itself - London - Super - Mare, as it has been called-is maintained chiefly by the people who are connected by business with London, and who come up daily, or several times a week. The stoppage of the traffic on a week-day morning throws out of order the arrangements of a large and important body of London men. 

All along the line, too, as far at least as Reigate, the holders of season’s tickets take the train for London every morning, and return to their homes at a fixed hour in the evening. All these found yesterday that their conveyance failed them and though the Company did its best to supply the place of the absent drivers, the traffic was almost suspended, not only with Brighton, but with places which depend for their communication with London on the Brighton line, as far as Hastings on the one side, and Portsmouth on the other side.

On being made acquainted with the determination of the Enginemen the Directors made application for assistance in their difficulty, to the managers of other lines; but as might be expected, very few could be subtracted from their own staff of drivers, who must be skilled in their business and possessed of considerable intelligence and power of observation. Under these circumstances it was resolved to make a reduction in the number of trains, and the limit their speed to twenty miles per hour. The trains were driven by travelling railway inspectors and by foremen of works, accompanied by competent men on the engines who thoroughly understood the signals. In some cases on the main line two or three ordinary trains were made into one, but not exceeding 18 or 20 carriages in the whole on an average; and "short service" trains so called, were worked between Victoria and West Croydon on the one hand, and between the Crystal Palace and London Bridge on the other. In this way the directors adapted themselves to the inconvenience to which they had been thus suddenly subjected, with all the attendant loss. in the meantime all the ordinary time-tables were in abeyance, and the season ticket holders, on the principal lines especially, were being seriously incommoded. the six o'clock train from London got away in good time considering all the circumstances which impeded any approach to regularity, but the train which should have started from London at 8 did not move from the Terminus till after 10. On the South London line only one engine employed, and the traffic to and from Crystal Palace was almost entirely suspended. The hundreds of city gentlemen residing in the suburbs, and who ordinary avail themselves of this railway to come up to town, were of course put to inconvience, and altogether the event was attended by an immense, amount of excitement and loss of tile and business. All the available  foremen were put in charge of the trains, and every exertion was made by the Directors and managers to obviate the almost insurmountable difficulties in which they found themselves entangled.

The majority of the Drivers and Firemen remained firm to their notices, for it was found that only two drivers out of the whole number had accepted the terms of the directors. One old man, Driver of No. 73, who had been with the company from it's opening day, refused to strike, and was called upon to run some of the most important trains, for which purpose one of the more modem and powerful engines was prepared; but he would not abandon his own locomotive, and kept No. 73 throughout, although she was comparatively old and second-rate. 

The 4 o'clock express to Brighton was only eight minutes late on March 26th, which pleased the passengers so much that they shook hands with and tipped the driver. A fund for the men running the trains was started at Croydon, from which many of them drew £6 to £7.

On the South London line (then opened only from London Bridge to Brixton), a. turner and a cleaner from New Cross Sheds, manned engine, No. 51, and were working the whole duty of the branch line. 

The traffic on the branches was more disorganised than the main line. In some case horses were employed to draw the trains, in others omnibuses and coaches bring passengers to the junctions. The number of trains run throughout the day was much less than usual, and these proceeded at very slow rate. On several of the branches the service was wholly discontinued, causing much inconvenience to the public. The public feeling has so far, been unanimously against the step so suddenly taken by the Engine men, and delay and inconveniences have been borne in the best possible spirit. 

On Tuesday morning great confusion and considerable excitement prevailed on Tuesday at London Bridge, Victoria and the other stations of the Company, and as the public generally were not aware of that fact, many disappointments to passengers were experienced, particular to the disappointment of hundreds of “lovers of the turf” who were anxious to be present at the first day Epsom Spring Meeting, who intended to go down from London Bridge or Victoria by train, was expressed with such freedom and vigour as sorely to test the patience of the officials who remained at their posts.

Only two drivers remained at work, but by supplementing these by locomotive foremen and shed-men, together with a few station-masters and inspectors who had had locomotive experience, eighteen engines were kept in service the first day and a considerable proportion of the traffic dealt with, and addition to those two, there were some six to eight trains being driven by the under firemen and the locomotive superintendentsThe Enginemen who are in work say that the same feeling is experienced at the London end, particularly in the case of the Croydon trains. The men who are now working the trains are old and experience drivers, who had been promoted from driving to act as “Foremen” at junctions and other important posts. In ordinary work they supervise the general body of drivers, but as their occupation is gone in this report for the present, they are put to their old calling till the emergency passes over.

The Directors met on the Tuesday afternoon and passed resolutions, embodied in the following notice, which was promptly issued.




The circular above is from the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in which shows the railway employers’ hard-line attitude clear: 

“The directors are in principle opposed to combination for any description for the purpose of interfering with the natural course of trade. They think that masters and men [note the view of railway workers as servants - in those days, “men” could mean “servants”] should be left in every establishment to settle their own terms, and arrange their own differences without foreign [a word implying that trade unions are un-British] interference or dictation.” 

The pamphlet explains the strict discipline that existed on the railways, with dismissal, blacklisting, eviction from railway cottages and “ultimate resort to the dreaded workhouse” in store for anyone who attempted to form a union.

by Liam Physick 

on the Edgehill station website

 


The Times

Wednesday 27th March 1867 

Yesterday the engine drivers on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway put into effect their predetermined resolution to strike in case of demands which recently made were not granted by the directors. Up to a late hour on Monday night (25th March) a large number of the men remained about the Company’s offices, discussing the various phases of the movement in which they were themselves participators. 

Ultimately a council was held, in which it appears it was determined that the answer of the Board to their petition was not satisfactory, and that, therefore, the men would refuse to resume work yesterday morning (Tuesday 26th March). At Brighton, where some of the engine drivers reside, a similar decision was arrived at, so that in all about 350 men resolved on leaving temporarily, at least, the company’s service. The directors, we understand, conceded all that was demanded concerning shed days, Sundays, and the distance to be traversed per week - 750 miles being the maximum of regular duty, and all beyond that to be charged as extra work. The crucial point, however, they refused to grant - namely, that in which the men demanded that increase of wages should be regulated at the rate of 6d. per day additional for every six months’ service until the maximum of 7s. 6d. per day was reached. The Board, however, consented to comply on the condition that the six months should not be considered the standard time upon which to erect a claim for advance of pay. They allege that such a claim is not reasonable, and it certainly does not appear just that all the men should be prompted with equal rapidity irrespective of their skill, ability, or good conduct. The pay of the drivers, according to the directors’ scheme, is begin at 6s., and be capable of increase to 7s.6d. a day; that of the Firemen to vary from 3s. 6d. to 4s. 6d., according to service and merit.

As may be anticipated, great confusion and considerable excitement prevailed yesterday at the Company’s terminus. Virtually all traffic was stopped between London Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, St. Leonards, and Chichester. The Epsom Spring Meeting opened yesterday, and the disappointment of hundreds of sportsmen, who had intended to go down by train, was expressed with such freedom and vigour as sorely to test the patience of the officials who remained at their posts. On being made acquainted with the determination of the men the directors made application for assistance in their difficulty to the managers other lines; but, as might be expected, very few could be subtracted from their own staff of drivers, who must be skilled in their business and possessed of considerable intelligence and power of observation. Under these circumstances it was resolved to make a reduction in the number of trains, and to limit their speed to 20 miles per hour. The trains were driven by travelling railway inspectors and by foremen of works, accompanied by competent men on the engines who thoroughly understand the signals. In some cases on the main line two and three ordinary trans were made into one, but not exceeding 18 or 20 carriages in the whole on an average; and “ short service” trains, so-called, were worked between Victoria and West Croydon on the one hand, and between the Crystal Palace and London Bridge on the other.

In this way the directors are adapting themselves to the inconvenience to which they have been thus suddenly subjected, with all the attendant loss. In the meantime all the ordinary time tables are in the abeyance, and the season ticket holders, on the principal line especially, are being seriously incommoded. The 6 o’clock train got away in good time, considering all the circumstances which impeded any approach to regularity, but the train which should have started at 8 did not move from the terminus till after 10. On the South London only one engine was employed and the traffic to and from Crystal Palace was almost entirely suspended. The hundreds of city gentlemen residing in the suburbs, and who ordinarily avail themselves of this railway to come up to town, were of course put to inconvenience, and altogether the event was attended by an immense amount of excitement and loss of time and business. All the available foremen have been put in charge of the trains, and every exertion is being made by the directors and manager to obviate the almost insurmountable difficulties in which they find themselves entangled. The men on their part are still holding out strongly, and delegates from the ENGINE-DRIVERS AND FIREMEN’S UNION yesterday sat in council deliberating on the question at issue. Among other prominent objections to the plan recommended by the Board there is one which has been made a special topic of deprecation - namely, that the power of promotion should rest with the local superintendents.

The men say that such a system would materially diminish incentive to exertion, inasmuch as advancement would be regulated not by merit but by favouritism.

Last evening the directors circulated a hand-bill stating that experienced and competent drivers and firemen with satisfactory testimonials, may meet immediately with permanent engagements, at full and liberal pay, by applying to Mr. J.C. Craven, locomotive superintendent, London Bridge terminus.

The subjoined communication, partly in the nature of a remonstrance and partly of appeal, has been addressed to the men on strike by Mr. Hawkins, the traffic manager:-

LONDON, BRIGHTON, AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY

Traffic Manger’s office, London Bridge S.E. March 25,

To the Engine-Drivers and Firemen, - Fellow Workmen, - I address you thus because we are so in fact. Have not some of us worked together during the last quarter of a century? And I say it fearlessly, that on no other line in the Kingdom has so much consideration been shown, or so much done for the servants as on our own, and yet, to my utter astonishment, this railway is picked out to suffer from a combination as unreasonable in its demands as any combination of the kinder was.

We have already suffered largely from the determined opposition of our neighbours; our property has been reduced, our shareholders damaged to a very large extent, and now, notwithstanding the treatment you have ever received at the hands of your employers, you are about to perpetrate a still greater damage upon them an upon us all.

These is hardly one point in the demands you have made upon the directors they have not cheerfully conceded; but you ask them to give beyond what it is possible for any gentlemen to do who have the interested of their shareholders and the rights of the public fairly to consider.

The have conceded to you the time you ask for, the additional pay for Sunday work, the shed day, and the rate of wages; surely this should be enough.

It appears to me that the fact of your having so far obtained all you require has led you to triumph in your successes, and indeed you to ask for what it is impossible anybody of gentlemen can grant.

The only question between yourselves and the directors now is that of conceding to you the right of fixing your own payments after you had been employed a certain period of time. It is in fact, asking the directors to hand over the entire management of the line to one section of their workmen. You have, many of you, known me for many years. You have known that although not immediately connected with you in the department in which you serve, I have never been unfriendly to your interests; I have felt proud and pleased to work with a body of men I had reason to praise for your attention, their industry, and their zeal; but whatever may be the result of this contest (and it must prove disastrous to the company as well as to yourselves), feeling that you have no real cause of complaint against the directors, I have felt it advisable to make this one strong appeal to each of you individually, in the hope that you will not allow the dictation of any committee to away you so completely as to make you entirely antagonistic to your employers.

Men withdrawing now should clearly understand what they are withdrawing from - permanent employment, not only at remunerative wages, but at a higher scale than is now paid by any other company, and from the privileges of a superannuation fund which, as far as I am aware, no other railway company has yet established, and from which, notwithstanding the denial that such fund existed, every man must know there are now five of your body receiving permeant pensions.

It is, perhaps, as well to say that in thus addressing you I am by no means acting in accordance with the wishes of the Board, not one of whom knows anything of the address. I am acting solely on personal grounds, in the hope that an earnest appeal from one who has worked so long and so satisfactorily with you may not be without some effect in inducing you to pause before you adopt the ruinous course you seem now determined on.

YOURS TRULY

GEORGE HAWKINS  

The Enginemen and Firemen wanted improvements or changes in a number of ways, most of which were accepted by the company, but two of which formed the main stumbling blocks and were the cause of the strike.

The first of these concerns hours of work, the men wanting to have a 10 hour day for 6 days, whereas the company wanted them to have a minimum 60 hour week.

The second point at issue was that the L.B. & S.C.R. wished to continue with the principle of advancing wages with seniority and experience in the separate grades of Enginemen and Firemen whereas the men wanted to have uniformed system not dependent on seniority or experience. 

 


The Times

Thursday 28th March 1867 

The directors of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway and the engine-drivers and firemen employe on their various lines came yesterday (Wednesday 27th) to an amicable arrangement with respect to the points of dispute between them, or rather as to the only one which remained a subject of controversy up to Tuesday evening, the directors having previously conceded all the rest, and, therefore, the strike is at an end, both parties having yielded. Yesterday morning all the drivers usually employed south of Three Bridges, or between Brighton, Portsmouth, and Hastings, about 100 in number, out of the 196 who had struck, with an equal number of firemen, resumed work, and throughout the day the trains on the main line from London to Brighton or Portsmouth, and from London to Hastings, were running accordingly to the time tables, and at the ordinary speed, and today, when the rest of the locomotive staff shall have returned to their duty, the main line and the different branches will again be in full working order. Up to Tuesday evening the only remaining difference had reference to the demand by the men that the increase of wages shocks be regulated at the rate of 6s. a day additional for every six months’ service until the maximum of 7s. 6d. a day was reached; and yesterday, the men having received an assurance from the directors and superintendents to the effect that every man shall have an opportunity of proving his claim to the promised advances in the scale of wages, they consented to resume work, depending on that arrangement being carried out to the letter. The graduated scale of wages agreed to was - for drivers, 6s., 6s. 6d., 7s., and 7s. 6d., a day; and for firemen, 3s. 6d., 3s. 9d., 4s., and 4s. 6d.;and arrangements will be made by age directors and superintendents for having the pay-sheet reconsidered at the end of each year, with the view of advancing such of the men as are competent, and whose general conduct is good. It is creditable to men that in adjusting the matter in dispute in that way they expressed a hope that for the future things would go on more comfortably between them and their employers, and that the company would be saved the expense of such a struggle. With those mutual concessions and a spirit of forbearance manifested on both sides, the contest has been happily brought to a conclusion with only a day’s inconvenience and loss to themselves and the public. The men, while in the best temper at the result, are not duly elated, and the probability is that their employers and they will pull all the better together in future for this brief interruption in their relations. In London and at New Cross, the men held out in the morning, and the delegates sat in council as on the day preceding, at the Green Man, Tooley Street.

It may not be generally known that the engine-drivers and firemen in England and Scotland belong to what promises to be a very formidable trade union. It was established about 10 months ago, has some 15,000 subscribing members, a capital estimated at about £50,000, and 64 branches, their head quarters being in London. To this society, which supports a newspaper of its own, appropriately called The Train, the drivers and firemen on the London, Brighton, and south Coast Railway belong, and had the strike continued they would have been maintained at full pay by a general contribution among the subscribing members. It is a noteworthy circumstance that the prime movers in the recent strike were all men receiving the highest rate of remuneration paid by the company, and working nominally 10 hours a day, but practically not so much, and who did not expect to be benefited to the extent of a single shilling by the success of the agitation they had begun. Their sole object, they say, in originating it was the interest of their less fortunate or less skill fellow workmen, many of whom have for years been paid on the lowest scale, though daily discharging duties hardly less, if at all less, responsible and important than their own.

Justice has hardly been done to the efforts made by the authorities of the line to meet the emergency of Tuesday, on the commencement of the strike. With the aid of some of the old hands who had refused to join the movement, and of travelling inspectors and foremen of works on the line, they were enabled to start 18 engined from the London terminus in the course of the day, and so to run the principal Brighton trains and the corresponding trains thence to Hastings and Portsmouth; but the trains on the smaller branches to Bognor, Littlehampton, Eastbourne, and Hailsham were entirely suspended. On the suburban lines around London, instead of trains being run according to the time tables, they were run as frequently as possible, stopping at all the stations, taking up passengers as they went. By that arrangement all the suburban passengers were accommodated, though not with the same punctuality as ordinary. Many of the season tick holders and other passengers residing in the neighbourhood of Sydenham, Forest Hill, and Croydon availed themselves of the trains of the London, Chatham, and Dover and of the South-Eastern Companies, though at more or less inconvenience. Though Tuesday was the first day of the Epsom Spring Meeting, the London and Brighton Company did not attempt, under the circumstances, to run trains on their line to the Downs, and the consequence was a considerable loss to them, and again yesterday, when the branch line to Epsom was still closed. Mr. Scott, the manager of the London and South-Western Railway had been given orders that the season ticket of the London and Brighton Company should be recognised by their servants in train to or from Waterloo and Clapham Junction, Wimbledon, Ewell, Epsom, and Leatherhead, and on the West London line to Kensington. Mr. Eborall, again, on the part of the South Eastern Company, offered facilities with respect to East Croydon, Redhill, and Hastings passengers. To guard against accidents, through the engine drivers improvised for the occasion not being used to the signals. Mr. Hawkins, the traffic manager to the London and Brighton, placed on the engines a number of old guards familiar with the signals to point them out to the drivers as they approached them. He had also platelayers stationed all along the main line, throughout the whole of Tuesday, just as in a dense fog, for the purpose of repeating the signals, and so of preventing mistakes with respect to them. The result was not a single accident occurred. Various offers of assistance by strangers were made in the emergency to Mr. Hawkins, the traffic manager of the line - some of them peculiar. One was a person of gentlemanly appearance, who said he had been for some years a driver of first-class marine engines on board Government steamers, and he he would gladly undertake the responsibility on this occasion. On being told there was a great difference between a marine engine and a locomotive, and that he could hardly be trusted to drive one of the latter class, he begged to be allowed to act as a stoker, so desirous was he of rendering assistance at such time. Another said, though not a mechanic nor an engine driver, he had studied mechanics and the theory of engines during a great part of his life, and he believed he was capable of driving one. He added, in reply to a question, that he had been brought up to the law, but was so thoroughly disgusted with it that he would prefer to drive an engine if they would accept his services.

The share in the London, Brighton, and South Coast receded 3 per cent. in the course of Tuesday, and a continuance of the strike would, doubtless, have induced a much more considerable decline. We regret to hear that the drivers and firemen on the Midland Railway intend sending in their “ notices “ on the 2nd of April, and the men similarly employed on the Newcastle, Leeds, York and Maldon sections of the North-Eastern Railway - nearly one thousand in number - have expressed their intention to stop work on the 20th proximo, unless in the meantime their demands are complied with by the directors. 

On Monday, it was resolved at a crowded meeting of the drivers of the London, Brighton, and South Coast, that in the event of the Board acceding to their petition they would require the dismissal of five or six men who remained on duty on Monday, but we have reason to believe no result will follow this determination, made as it was in a time, as regarded those interested, of almost unprecedented excitement.

The following notices were issued yesterday:-

LONDON, BRIGHTON, AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY.

All the trains to and rom London and Brighton, as well as those on all the coast lines and branches between Portsmouth and Hastings, Horsham, Guildford and Tunbridge Wells, have been running today as usual; and tomorrow morning (Thursday 28th) it is intended to resume the ordinary service as per time tables over the whole suburban system between London Bridge, Victoria, the Crystal Palace, Croydon, Epsom, Leatherhead, Dorking and the South London Line.

GEO HAWKINS

TRAFFIC MANAGER

MARCH 27



THE ENGINE DRIVERS’ AND 

FIREMEN’S UNITED SOCIETY

31, BRYDGES STREET, STRAND MARCH 27

Dear Sir, - The strike on the Brighton Railway is virtually at end. The only point at issue between the men and the directors - namely, the conditions on which the men should receive their promotion - has been arranged by the authorities agreeing that, if any men are passed over, they will have the right to appeal to the Board of Directors, and their claims will be duly considered. The men ask no more than this, and, the Brighton directors having conceded every other point, they have resolved to trust themselves to the upright dealing of gentlemen with whom they have no especial quarrel, and hope that their future relations may be both amicable and satisfactory.

YOURS TRULY

J.O. PUTLEY 

    The Brighton Gazette

Thursday 28th March 1867

Era thus comments on the ‘Situation’

RAILWAY COMPANIES AND THEIR ENGINE DRIVERS.

Among the quibbles and quarrels, the deputations and strikes, which take place between master and man, there is not one that so intimately and immediately affects the public as the present dispute between the engine drivers on the various Railways and the Companies which employ them. Affecting, as it would do, the whole social traffic of the kingdom, should a strike take place among the engine drivers and their subordinates, the firemen, the question of their grievances is, as we have just said, one of public interest, and more than that, one of public sympathy. What traveller who had a heart or a fellow feeling ever reached his terminus on a bitter cold night, after hours passed in the face of cutting wind or sleet, but has felt how much he owed to the man who, in the face of such discomfort, had brought him safely to his destination, and how gladly, if the regulations admitted of it, he would show that feeling by a gratuity. With sentiments like these, shared in by thousands of the public, the appeal of the engine drivers is sure to receive from us our warmest sympathy and support, for all working men who consider the locomotive engine drivers as the men who should be paid the highest wages, and their hours of labour confined to the lowest number consistent with physical endurance, and honesty to their employers. It ought to have been a point to the credit and honour of every Railway in the kingdom to keep their engine drivers so well paid that the public should be never startled by the knowledge that some of the oldest hands on the line had seceded for want of higher pay. It is a frightful thing only to imagine that many of the accidents which have occurred on railways have resulted from the substitution of an ignorant for an experienced engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may have been eventuated in a collision, and the death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear that this temporary feud between the various Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought to an amicable conclusion without that resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, Brighton, and south-coast, who employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal manner, to the demands of their servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country,an experienced engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may have been eventuated in a collision, and the death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear that this temporary feud between the various Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought to an amicable conclusion without that resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, Brighton, and south-coast, who employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal manner, to the demands of their servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country, if peace and harmony is restored, an experienced engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may have been eventuated in a collision, and the death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear that this temporary feud between the various Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought to an amicable conclusion without that resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, Brighton, and south-coast, who employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal manner, to the demands of their servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country, if peace and harmony is restored, we may surely hope that other Companies will follow suit, and end this vexed question in peace.

 

 Tuesday evening a handbill was circulated offering permanent situations and liberal pay to 

the experience men. The directors issued a notice stating: 

“That, believing a large majority of those who are still out will (upon reflection) regret having pushed matters to such an extremity; they are willing to receive back into service any of the old hands who may re-join it not later than Thursday next.”

 

 RESUMPTION OF WORK

END OF THE STRIKE AT BRIGHTON

All Brighton trains were regularly despatched during day, except four the eight a.m., the ten a.m. the four p.m. and the seven p.m. it said that plenty of men are ready to come in, that some have already come up from Liverpool and other places and that the men on strike will not hold out long.

Late on Tuesday some of the Brighton enginemen showed signs of giving way, and some had misgivings as to the policy of the course they had adopted. Verbal communications were opened with some of the Company's officials, and it was suggested a mediation should be effected. It was, however, pointed out to the men that extreme step they had taken and the granting of all their demands, save the condition pointed out rendered any course but one out of the question.  The London men were not, however, disposed to give in so easily and an equal vote was the result. Under these circumstances the Brighton men came to the determination of acting for themselves. At a late hour on Tuesday night they forwarded a request that Mr. Craven the Locomotive superintendent, would meet them at their Brighton Committee room. The meeting between the Brighton Delegates and Mr. Craven  with a view to resolve for themselves and Mr. Craven consented, and he was accompanied by Mr. Pickering, (who has for many years been connected with railway affairs).

All the men's demands about pay and hours and overtime, which indeed would be reckoned moderate enough nowadays, were granted by the directors; but they would not consent to all men, clever or stupid, diligent or lazy, being put on an equality as regards pay; nor would they yield to another demand-that the men who remained loyal should be dismissed.

It was exclusively the Brighton men who resumed work Wednesday morning. Provision had been made for bringing down the first London train (6 a.m.) from London by a Brighton driver and fireman; it arrived to time; and but little locomotive was felt throughout the day, all the main trains being in to time within a few minutes, and the requirements of the traffic were admirally met. It seems that the main line is worked principally by whose home is Brighton, out of eleven main lines trains per day, the Brighton men work eight. Every train was sent off from Brighton yesterday, punctual to time.

On Wednesday 27th, saw many applications to take the strikers’ places were received from 
Wales and the North; some 400 to 500 Belgium, French and German enginemen were 
reported to be on their way to London, and Belgium driver actually started work. This was 
more than the revolters had bargained for, and those south of Three Bridges accepted the 
proffered terms 

By noon on Wednesday 27th March, the verdict was “All right” all Brighton, Hastings, Portsmouth and all branch lines as far as Three Bridges. We heard from London at 2 p.m.; at that time some of the old drivers had resumed work but all was going on well with the men that had been put on.

The Directors having granted all they could grant, the men were shown that it was left for them to waive the one point they were asked to concede. The subject was to canvassed in all its bearings, the advance of wages being regulated in the manner proposed by the Board, the deputation seemed impressed with this view, and on Wednesday morning the strike was at an end so far as the Brighton drivers were concerned, this decision being forthwith telegraphed to the London committee. 

 LONDON BRIDGE TERMINUS


On Wednesday morning at London Bridge Terminus of the London and Brighton Railway, relative to the strike of the engine-drivers and firemen, it was ascertained from Mr. Hawkins, the traffic manager, that the strike might be considered virtually at an end, inasmuch as all the Brighton men and those employed south of “Three Bridges,” had come in to work and all the main line trains were running the same as usual, as well as the Epsom ordinary trains, but not the extra race trains. 

Mr. Hawkins expresses great confidence in an application either to France or Belgium, where 400 or 500 experienced drivers might be had (he thinks) in the course of a fortnight. The vacancies are now all filled up, and the Locomotive Superintendent as under the necessity of declining the applications of number of good men who are now applying for situations. The number of applications from men employed on the Welsh lines have been unexpectedly large. This was more than the striking enginemen had bargained for, and this then made it hopeless  for the London men to persist with the strike.

On the other hand, the Secretary of the Engine Drivers Committee states that only trains worked at present where those from Brighton; but those men had gone to work under a misapprehension and would to-day apply for an explanation from the directors, which, if not satisfactory, would induce the whole of them together with the others south of Three Bridges, to again leave. He states that none of the men from Epsom, Battersea, or New Cross had gone to work; and that no trains had started this morning from Epsom, and also that should the old hand not be taken on at the scale of wages advertised by the company this morning, that all those now employed would again send in notices.

On Wednesday afternoon a deputation from the Committee of the engine–drivers on strike arrived at London Bridge, and were waiting upon a meeting with the Directors, with a view to the settlement of the question in dispute. There was also approximately thirty striking Enginemen, who also gathered at the station to show support to their Committee. After some discussion the men received assurance that they would have full opportunities of proving their claims to the highest rate of wages allowed by the company. On this promise the men have placed reliance, and consented to resume work. It was then hopeless for the London men to persist, and the whole of the London men have now gone back to work and the strike is really at an end.  

It was then hopeless for the London men to persist, and the strike fizzled out. During the strike there had been any accidents occurred, nor had there been any breakdown

It was fought with much forbearance and good temper, although attempts were made to stop two of the working locomotives by placing soft soap in their water tanks. The effect of which was to cause priming or bubbles in the gauge glass, and prevent the driver seeing the quality of water in the boiler of his engine, and one of the engines was stoned from a bridge near Brockley. 

On the morning of Thursday 28th March, 1867, The main lines between London, Brighton, Portsmouth and Hastings were running as normal and a full Suburban service  resumed (London, Croydon, & Epsom).

 

 The Daily Telegraph

28th March 1867

The public will hear with satisfaction that the strike on the London and Brighton Railway is at an end. The circular inserted elsewhere shows that all the engine-drivers and firemen have returned to their duty, and the traffic will now resume it wonted course. We announce this happy close of a painful dispute with special gratification, inasmuch as the resolution taken by the men is nearly in accordance with the suggestions we threw out yesterday. To a certain extent, the drivers and firemen have conceded that the point on which the directors stood firm. They have met the directors half-way, by leaving the right of promotion in the hands of the authorities, on the conditions that there shall be a right of appeal to the board. Their good sense has shown them that, since the directors exercise a public trust, and are responsible to the whole community, they must have a large and wide discretion in the appointment of servant

 

  THE BRIGHTON GAZETTE 

THURSDAY 28 March 1867

THE ENGINE DRIVERS STRIKE

We have in other columns, given all the particulars it has been possible for us to gather, concerning the unfortunate collision between the railway company and the directors. This being so, we have but little space for comment. Nor. At present amount, do we deem it desirable that we should discuss the matter, and its bearings. Strife and ill-will have been evoked, and much hot blood remains to be cooled down, and our own feelings as to the injury likely to be inflicted on the town generally by the ill-advised action of these imprudent men are such that we prefer deferring discussion. At the moment we write dark clouds are again arising, and our fears are rife that the directors have but “scotched the snake; not kicked it.” However, the worst is past: there are some good men and true still found faithful to their old employers, aid is being furnished by other Companies, volunteers are offering themselves, and if these “wrong hand” persevere in their conduct, they will find it to their cost, when too late, their post occupied by some of the 400 or 500 men whom we hear Mr. Hawkins can in less than a fortnight procure from Belgium.

No more liberal management exist that the of the Brighton line; and the spirit of liberality has animated the directors in the present unfortunate controversy. They freely conceded nearly all the points put forward by the men, but the rock on which the disputants split was that of “equality” of wages, and this on a somewhat high scale. The men reject the directors’ proposition of distinction according to ability, alleging that thereby “favouritism” would be fostered. And it is on this essence of “unionism,” this “levelling” principle, that the “strike” has taken place. They contend that all men are equal ergo all engine drivers are equally skilful, there are no degrees of merit in engine driving, and all should be paid alike. Here we have Chartism rampant with a vengeance; and in the scene now enacting we have a foretaste of that Millennium which Messrs. Beales, Dickson, Bright, White, Fawcett and Co. are doing their best to hasten on, of that “people’s” rule tyranny the most intolerable shall bear away, the tyranny exercised by the lower orders by that Frankenstein which mob orators have created, reckless of the power it would processed and the injury it would perpetrate.


THE SCOTSMAN

(Thursday 28th March)

THE ENGINE DRIVERS ON THE CALEDONIAN RAILWAY

The engine drivers employed on the Caledonian Railway have received notice of an advance on their wages to the amount of 3s. per week, and the labourers and plate layers have also been advanced 1s.             

 

Battersea, Bognor, Bramley Brighton, Chichester, Dorking, Eastbourne, East Grinstead Epsom, Hailsham, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Lewes, Littlehampton, Midhurst, New Cross Newhaven, Polegate, St Leonards three Bridges, Tunbridge Wells, Uckfield & West Croydon.

THE ENGINE SHEDS THAT WERE OPEN IN 1867

Battersea, Bognor, Bramley Brighton, Chichester, Dorking, Eastbourne, East Grinstead Epsom, Hailsham, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Lewes, Littlehampton, Midhurst, New Cross Newhaven, Polegate, Portsmouth, St Leonards three Bridges, Tunbridge Wells, Uckfield & West Croydon.

Story has it, that a striking Engineman and his Fireman, sat at Balcombe station with their engine for the 24 hour stopage,it is also believed that the Enginemen had thrown their fire out. A record of the 1867 was recorded by the Enginemen carving the date of the strike into the sandstone rocks at Balcombe.

Reading through various newspaper reports, there seems to be no mention of an engine being stuck at Balcombe for the duration of the strike. Therefore was this carving done a Enginemen, whilst on a ballast train at Balcombe? 

It is alleged that the Engineman & Fireman where suspended for this shameful acted.
It's hoped that one day we will find out more about the enginemen who done this engraving and the initials W.F.C.


In April the engine-men on the North-Eastern Railway indulged in a similar campaign, with no better success.

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