A.S.L.E.& F., first Executive meeting was held on the 6th March 1881. Society registered 

under the Trade Union Acts with Head Office at the Commercial Inn Sweet Street, Holbeck, 

Leeds. First Rule Book issued, with provisions for the creation of strike and victimisation 

funds in addition to Friendly Benefits. 


U.K. Railway Temperance Union

Railway accidents on the 


Streatham Hill 11th April 1881

Lower Worple Road Crossing 31st May 1881

Lewes 23rd August 1881

Merton Abbey 27th September 1881

Battersea Park 24th December 1881


The Railway Mission 

Founded 1881

MISS/1/10/10 - Railway Mission Total Abstinence Association Member's Card.

The Railway Mission was founded in 1881 to improve the spiritual and physical well-being of railway workers. It soon joined in the national battle against alcohol, the temperance movement. 

The railway had a widespread of drunkenness amongst the railwaymen and the awful consequences of mixing drunkenness with the operation of heavy machinery. Imagine what could and did happen when drink was mixed with the work of railwaymen.

Drink was seen as a moral and social problem afflicting the working class, and drunkenness among railwaymen was of major concern. Stories of accidents, of fatal collisions and accidents caused by intoxicated railwaymen, added fuel to the movement. The Railway Mission adopted many novel ideas to combat the prevalence of drunkenness among railway workers, including the establishment of coffee houses near to railway stations in an effort to prevent railwaymen from going to public houses during their free time.

Next to these they built their Mission Halls where prayer meetings, bible classes, evening lectures, vocational training and entertainments were held. In its heyday the Railway Mission had about 250 Mission Halls in railway communities around the United Kingdom and missions were established around the world in countries as far away as South Africa, Australia and Japan.

While many members were supported in their abstinence through these meetings and lectures some were encouraged to sign Abstinence Pledge Books to demonstrate their commitment to the temperance movement to fellow workers and certificates of abstinence were also distributed.

MISS/1/8/1/3 Page from The Railway Signal Railway Signal Volume 3 (1885).



From the Industrial Revolution onwards the churches had generally failed to successfully 
evangelise the working classes, from whom the railways recruited most of its rapidly 
increasing work force, which was in the region of 350,000 at the time of the formation of the Railway Mission in 1881. There were however professing Christians among this work force including three, in particular, at Brighton station. These three, Messers Weller, Maple &Thynge (a ticket collector and two porters, respectively) met together on Sunday afternoons in the Porter's Room for 'a little Bible study and a sing'. The three railwaymen wanted to have a Gospel Service for the men on duty each Sunday and one of the porters invited a Miss Parkinson to lead this meeting. She agreed but then personal illness and the death of her brother intervened and she approached another lady, Mrs Elizabeth Gates, to substitute for her. Mrs Gates was already a well-known speaker at Christian meetings for women, who with her husband, George (a Brighton solicitor), and young family (there were eventually 11 children) had moved to Brighton from Steyning c.1861.

(It is interesting to note that the original invitation went to a woman, and had come from men. Was this a reflection of the unpopularity of local clergy, and did it reflect a different attitude of the working class males to middle class women, from middle class men?)

Mrs Gates considered and, it is understood, 'reluctantly' accepted the invitation. the first 
Sunday meeting, with a congregation of three, was on 19th March 1876 in the waiting Room 
at Brighton Central Railway terminus station, curtsey of Brighton Superintendent Mr 
Anscombe. However, the attendance soon began to increase and within six years the meeting had moved to a larger venue. This was found in the Reading Room/Library of the Brighton Locomotive Works which could accommodate up to four hundred people. This was thanks to Mr J P Knight, the then General Manager of the L.B. & S.C.R. The arrangement was to last for eleven years and Mrs Gates stated that the directors had treated them with every kindness and had placed the room at their disposal without charge.

In 1882 three meetings were held each week in the Reading Room/Library, on Sunday at 3.15pm for 'Men and Wives', on Wednesday at 8.0pm for men only and on alternate Thursdays at 3.30pm for wives. In addition conversational Bible Readings were held at the Coffee Palace, 67 Queens Road on the third and fourth Tuesdays at 8.00pm, with tea, for men, their wives and friends.

By 1893 the Reading Room/Library was required by the railway company for other purposes, and after a search for suitable premises, Mrs Gates apparently privately advanced some £2,500, whilst, in parallel, heading a public fund-raising effort, to secure the purchase and adaptation of the Primitive Methodist Church in Viaduct Road (opened on 16 September 1876) , which was being vacated for larger premises in London Road.

The equivalent of a stone laying ceremony was the first blow to take down an internal dividing wall between the Front (Main) and Back Halls, to enlarge the meeting area, on 15 May 1894. Present at this ceremony were Mrs J P Knight, widow of the former General Manager of the L.B. & S.C.R., Mr and Mrs Sykes, Dr Morgan and Mr George Gibbins, a Brighton architect who had donated his services. The official opening of the Brighton Railway Mission was held on 4 July 1894 with £2, 250 of the £2,500 purchase/adaptation cost being raised by public subscription by that date. The work continued to grow and in response to the need for a Sunday School work additional property was purchased behind the church in 1895; the new classrooms being opened on 16 February 1896. There were initially 15 children, but by 1901 the average Sunday attendance was 194 children and the West side passages from ?Viaduct Road and Stanley Road were pressed into service. The roof over the Back Hall was now removed and an Upper Hall with seating, library and offices, together with a connecting stairway to the ground floor, constructed and opened on 20 December 1902 at a cost of £1,100. The house next door to the church in Viaduct Road (No. 71) was purchased in June 1906 to accommodate the senior scholars. By 1909 the Sunday School work had grown to 50 workers looking after 364 children.

Mrs Gates worked hard among the railway workers and their families, and as the ticket collector, once commented "She had some hard nuts to crack, I can tell you. But she was the means of converting hundreds and hundreds of men and women too". Mr Weller was still alive well enough to attend the 64th anniversary meetings of the Mission in 1940, at the age of 93 Mrs Gates died on 23rd July 1911, and the local newspapers were full of her praise for her faithful ministry. Pastor Charles Spurgeon, son of the famous Charles Haddon Spurgeon (of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London), conducted the service.

The National Railway Mission was founded in Brighton in 1881 (and in its early years had its headquarters in Brighton). In 1888 approximately 3,000 people attended each of the the two anniversary meeting at the Dome. By 1900 the Brighton Mission was one among 270 groups of converted railwaymen and their families throughout the country registered with the Railway Mission, many with their own premises. the Brighton mission still exists as ‘Calvery Evangelical Church, but along with other former Mission Halls no longer formers part of the Railway Mission, which has gradually shed its properties concerntrating on the provision of chaplains to the railway industry.

Extracted from an article

Written by Chris Fry

The Railway Mission is located at the bottom of viaduct road in Brighton. 


On the 18th May 1881 the Uckfield to Tunbridge Wells (West) lean was opened.

11th JULY 1881

The Chichester to Midhurst Railway authorised and work started in 1865 (1865 funds were exhausted  and partly completed earthworks abandoned. In 1876 the scheme was revised and the L.B.S.C.R. would operate the . It opened on 11th July 1881 with a new brick built station at Midhurst about half-a mile further east (facing towards Petworth). The old station closed and became part of the goods yard.   

1904 Derailment of D1 Class No. 259 Pacham on Friday 9th September 1904. It was returning from a Midhurst to Singleton freight working when it left the rails between Cocking and Midhurst (Cocking Causeway - 1 mile north of cocking, having just passed over Park Lane Underbridge). On Sunday 11th October 1904 it was re-railed by steam cranes from New Cross (No.17) and Brighton (No. 16).  

1935 Passenger Service was withdrawn between Chichester to Midhurst on Friday 6 July 1935 (No passenger service on Saturday and Sundays).  You have recorded Selsey (typo)

World War ll   Just before D-Day (6th June 1944) freight services were disrupted somewhat as Drove (Singleton) and Cocking Tunnels were used for storing ammunition wagons for the royal Navy and double steel doors were build across either ends of each tunnel with a 24hour armed guards at each.

1951 Through freight on the Chichester to Midhurst Branch was abrupted halted on 19th November 1951 when the daily goods train from Chichester after C2x No. 32522 fell into a stream after a culvert had been washed away about a mile south of Midhurst. 

1953 The Freight Services to Cocking and Singleton ceased after the closure of both stations on 28 August 1953. Lavant remained open.

1955 The Withdrawal of Passenger Services between Midhurst to Pulborough and Passenger and Freight Services between Petersfield and Midhurst (although the former LSWR yard remained open for the Midhurst Whites Brickworks). Closed on 5th February 1955 (no services on Saturdays and Sundays). The Midhurst Loco shed closed but freight workings continued covering all statins between Pulborough and Midhurst. There was The Hampshireman Rail tour on 5th February 1955 with the bunker to bunker E5x Classes Nos. 32570 & 32576 returning the next day. There were other Rail tours visiting Midhurst after passenger closure.   

1963 Freight Services ceased at Selham and Fittleworth in May 1963.

1964 Freight Services ceased at Midhurst on Friday 12th October 1964. However, there was the Midhurst Bell Rail Tour on Sunday 18th October 1964.

1966 Freight Service ceased at Petworth on 28th May 1966

1971 Lavant Station Closed

1972 Gravel extraction started south of Lavant at Snakes Lane Bridge (now Hunters Race) 

1981 Gravel extraction closed in June 1981

1983 Gravel extraction was reopened in September 1983

1991  Gravel extraction ceased in March 1991


The first all-Pullman train on the L.B.S.C.R. was introduced on the 14th October 1881, and consisted of four Pullman cars. Although described as a new train, the vehicles do not appear to have been new, but were probably refurbished and partly rebuilt for the service. 

The Pullman car Beatrice was used as an experimentally between Victoria and Brighton in October of that year as the first railway carriage to be lighted by electricity. This was eleven months before a similar experiment in the U.S.A. As a result, the new train was electrically lighted.

On Thursday 1st December, 1881, a special inaugural trip was made to Brighton via Dorking, Horsham & Shoreham and back by the direct route. The was hauled by a Stroudley “G” class 2-2-2 No.329, ’Stephenson’. 

On Monday 5th December, 1881, the “Pullman Limited Express” was placed in regular 
service. On weekdays it left Victoria at 10 a.m. and 3.50 p.m., returning from Brighton at 1.20p.m. and 5.45 p.m. 

The first Sunday train ran on the 11th December. It left Victoria at 12.30 p.m. and returned from Brighton at 9.30 p.m. and consisted only of Pullman cars. 

The all-Pullman train was poorly patronised, and in less than two months the Sunday service was withdrawn. The weekly service was continued, but, from Friday 1st December, 1882, ordinary first class coaches were attached and the train ceased to be all-Pullman, The name “Pullman Limited Express” remained in the timetable until 1887, when the words “Fast train” were substituted for “Express”. In 1882 a British company called the Pullman Co. Ltd. was formed, but under American control.

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