The Portsmouth Branch of A.S.L.E.& F was formed in 1885, with members from both the L.B.&S.C. and L.& S.W. Railway Companies.

(Portsmouth Century Badge 1885 - 1985)




Mr. Langham, Southwark coroner, held a inquest on Monday, at Guy's Hospital, on the body of James Cullings, aged 40, a platelayer in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, and lately residing at Coldblow Lane, New Cross. Albert Kelly, an employe of the company, and early last Friday morning he had deceased were engaged in turning an engine on one of the turntables at New Cross station. When the work was completed the engine backed into an adjoining siding, to be coupled to some coal trucks, and deceased, who was standing at the rear of the engine, was crushed between the buffers, and fearfully injured. On arriving at the hospital he was found dead. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death," was expressed an opinion that the trucks ought not have been so close to the turntable.  


A settlement has at last been arrived at between the engine drivers and firemen of the London, Brighton, and South coast Railway and the officials. The late dispute has had reference to one district only, but the men throughout the line supported the claims of the Battersea men, contrary to the agreement of April, 1883, the officials only allowed a certain time for their drivers to get coal and put their engines by after arrival in the locomotive yards. It often took hours to do this, while the men were only paid the short time allowed. In future the men are to be allowed half an hour after leaving the coke stage to do this work, and this a regarded as satisfactory. What, however, strikes us is that such a long persistent agitation was necessary to secure this object. It is to be hoped that matters will now go on smoothly, and that there may be no more departures or evasions of the agreement entered into between Mr. Stroudley and the men.  




Our announcement last week that a settlement had been arrived at between the men in the locomotive department of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company and the directors was rather premature. It appears that secretary of the movement in the Battersea district had an interview with one of the officials, and material concessions were offered; but the men have not yet met to finally decide whether the concessions on the whole are satisfactory or not. It is stated with respect to superannuation fund that the superintendent promised to use his influence with the directors in favour of reduced age, namely 55, which the men desire to substituted for 60 to entitle them to claim the retiring allowance. If this concession is granted, much will be done towards a final settlement of the men's grievances.




The meeting at Battersea on January 24th was a very large one, the room in which it was held bring crowded. An engineman was unanimously voted to the chair. The chairman, in his opening address, gave the men fully to understand the position in which they stood and explained at some length why the meeting was called; and he hoped every one of them would speak their minds openly and freely, and whatever conclusions they came to that evening they would stand by. It was not necessary to read the minute of the last meeting, as the time was very precious; there was one thing he should ask the secretary to read, viz., the letter he was instructed at the last meeting to write to the district locomotive superintendent; he said he and the committee knew what it contained, but the body of the men did not.

The secretary said, Mr. Chairman and fellow workman you will remember at our last meeting I was enable to lay before you for your consideration my report of the interviews which had taken place between the district superintendent and myself, and a certain concession had been granted by the locomotive superintendent to the men. I was requested by the district superintendent to let him know the result of my interview with the men. I was instructed by age meeting to write a letter embodying certain things, and express your satisfaction on the one point only. The letter was then read, and an engineman said he considered it a very nice letter,  and conveyed the opinion of that meeting to the very letter: the meeting then expressed their satisfaction with the letter.

The secretary said the letter was handed in on the 13th inst., and that he had had two interviews, in company with one of their delegates, with the district superintendent since that date, and received from him by word of mouth the reply to the letter; and the meeting that evening called to enable him to give the men the reply in the same manner he had received it, and to see if it would give them satisfaction. He then gave the answer, and said it was not for him to give his opinion upon the subject, neither did he intend, but he hoped every one present would speak their minds upon the subject. They had heard the chairman's remarks, and he certainly must congratulate him upon them. He would give them the district superintendent 's opinion the same as he had received it. The district superintendent said, "Now that the locomotive superintendent had promised to use his influence with the directors to reduce the age for enginemen to claim the retiring allowances for the superannuation fund, and given them the half hour after leaving the coal stage, they ought to be satisfied.

The Chairman asked the delegate if he would give his report upon the interviews which had taken place between the district superintendent, the secretary and himself.

The delegate said he could not tell them anything more than they had heard; he could. say ditto repeat to every word the secretary had spoken upon the subject. He then made some useful remarks upon the movement, and said the remarks the chairman made met his views.

After a few remarks by the chairman, an engineer said they all know perfectly well what the "petition" contained, as they all had signed it, in fact, 181 out of 182 had. Was the concussion they had given them, and the one they were to hope to have, anything like what they asked for? (Cries of "NO.") Then how could the directors or the officials think they were going to be satisfied with such a little? He said the company was in a far better condition now than in 1867, and what they gave the men then was more than they had really asked for in the memorial they forwarded to the directors in 1884; so that what they were really asking for, could not by any means be considered unreasonable, in fact, all they now asked for was granted to them long ago, but it had been taken away from them by degrees by the officials. He said he for one should not say he was satisfied, for he certainly was not, by a long way. After a long discussion it was resolved that the movement be still carried on.

An engineman then spoke of the manner in which they were being worked; he said there was not the least consideration shown to wards the locomotive, it was shown towards the traffic department. He considered that enginemen held the most responsible position, attended with most danger to their own lives, of any class of workmen upon a railway.

A fireman said, in regard to the working of the engines, he did not think that whoever made the diagram of engine working out, knew much about the work that had to be done to the engine, such as gland packing and tube cleaning, for there was no time allowed for this kind of work; and if there was a chance of having an half an hour, time times out of ten the engine would not be allowed to stand still for more than five minute at one stretch. And then there was the cleaning that was required. It was impossible for a fireman to do this unless he did it while the engine was running, and he did not consider this ought to be allowed, as both men ought to be on the look out. He thought this ought to be brought specifically before the notice of the locomotive superintendent.

The secretary said, in regard to enginemen not having proper respect shown towards them, one class of men in the traffic department of this company really did make themselves very officious, and interfered a great deal more than they really had authority to do, for he had heard more than one of them tell enginemen they had no business on an engine and they knew more about the engine than what half the enginemen did; these were the train starters, or so called inspectors. He said this might be brought before the notice of the local superintendent, so that he might call the attention of the  traffic official to it, so that they might put a stop to it.

A long discussion took place respecting the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants; and one of the committee said it was one of the finest societies in the world, and although Battersea was a large branch, he wanted to see every engineman and fireman in the district join it.

Votes of thanks to the chairman, delegates, and secretary were given, and suitably replied to which brought a splendid meet to a close at 11.30 p.m. 


6TH MARCH 1885

We have had on occasion lately to refer to the whole of the correspondence which passed between the Directors and Managers of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company and their engine drivers and firemen, since 1867. It is very instructive reading, especially that portion dealing with the Superannuation Fund. On the 21st of March, 1867, the Deputy Chairman pointed out, as an evidence of the desire of the Board of Directors to deal liberally with their men, that they had established and maintained a Superannuation Fund without any contributions from the men. What changes have taken place since that time! This fund is now compulsory on the staff, and the men have to pay a portion of their well earned wage towards its support. An agitation is now going on with respect to this and other matters and by the time this is read the Locomotive Superintendent will be in possession of the men's views. We trust before he makes any recommendations he will carefully pursue the documents here alluded to.


27TH MARCH 1885

extracted from Brighton branch report 

The monthly meeting was held on Sunday last, the 22nd, when a good attendance of members, including the principal officers, resulted in the dispatch of a large amount of business. A member brought forward his case, respecting the accident that occurred at Hailsham, reported at the time in the Railway Review, and who has been reduced to Colman in consequence thereof, and after a discussion, the member agrees not to press the case until the negotiations between the branch secretary and the locomotive officials made it necessary to report to the General Secretary. 


10TH APRIL 1885


On Tuesday, March 31st, a meeting of railwaymen was held at New Cross (London, Brighton, and South Coast) men's mess room, kindly lent for the occasion. Mr. T. Rose, loco. foreman, presided. The object was to establish a co-operative stores. Mr. White and Mr. Jay, of the Guild of Co-Operators, spoke on the vast amount of business done by the working men uniting together in purchasing and distributing the necessaries of life. A member of the Bow branch also attended, and pointed out how places having started a stores, in a humble way at first, have grown n prosperity and usefulness. Provisional Officers and committee were elected, and contributions taken.


5TH JUNE 1885


Following our sketch of the N.E.R. Loco, in our issue of the 8th ult. it is proposed from time to time to give a short historical account of the various movements that have taken place, and the condition of the servants in the loco and traffic departments of the principal railways in this country. We now select the Brighton, because the strike on the North Eastern materially affected the men on that line in their struggled for a limitation of their hours of pay. Previous to 1867, most of the emginemen and firemen of the country were compelled to work almost as many hours as the officials pleased, or at least certain duties were allotted to them which they had to perform each day for the same wages, whether it was accomplished in reasonable time or not.

The Brighton system of management was no exception to the rule, and many complaints were made by the men, but all to no purpose, until the Society for the Locomotive Department sprang into existence. Early 1867 a memorial was drawn up asking that:- 

Ten hours should constitute a day's work, with overtime at the rate of 8 hours per day, each day to stand by itself. 

Main line men running 700 miles in five days to have a shed day, and if called upon to go out with a train on that day to be paid time and a half. 

Branch goods and pilot men to have a shed once in six days, and if running a train, &c., on such days, to be paid at the same rate as main line men.

The following scale of wages was also submitted to the directors as embedding the men's view on the question:-

Drivers, 1st six months' 6s 0d. per day
Firemen, 1st six months' 3s. 6d. per day
Drivers, 2nd six months' 6s. 6d. per day
Firemen, 2nd six months' 4s. 0d. per day
Drivers, after 12 months' service, 7s. 6d. per day
Firemen after 12 months' service 4s. 6d. per. day

A nine hours interval of rest to be guaranteed after finishing a day's work before being called on duty again, and 2s. 6d. per night lodging allowance when a way from home. 

For some time the directors refused to acknowledge receipt of the memorial, or take any notice whatever of the men's request for a deputation to meet them; and this conduct so irritated the men they nearly all sent in their resignations; the directors then asked for a week's grace, which was agreed to; and at the end of that period a reply was received from them, dated March 21st, 1867, to the effect that:-

Sixty hours per week would be granted, 

Overtime at the rate of eight hours per day,

and that out of 191 engine drivers employed, 74 were paid 7s. per day, and 35 7s. 6d., with a promise that eventually more should be put on the maximum pay. 

Nothing was definitely granted to the firemen: but the directors stated that a corresponding number would be maintained at a rate of pay and on terms generally at least as favourable as may prevail on any railway of the United Kingdom, and as a proof of their desire to deal liberally with the whole of their staff, informed them that they had established a superannuation fund without any contributions from the men, in which there was a balance of £22,853.  

The nine hours' interval of rest, lodging allowance, and time and a half for Sunday duty, would also be granted, and they offered to submit to a public board - say the Board of Trade - any question which they could not settle with the men.

Meetings of the men were held, when these terms were discussed and eventually rejected.The men's reply is a very lengthy document, and is date March 23rd, 1867; it expresses to a certain extent satisfaction with the concessions offered, but points out in forcible language that the proposal to fix the working on the basis of 60 hours per week is liable to many objections, the one being that drivers might have to work 15 or even 20 hours one day, and probably only five hours the next, and that one day's overwork cannot be compensated for by abstention from labour on the succeeding day. Other points respecting mileage and shed days are dealt with, and they finish their ultimatum by declaring that the concessions are not at all satisfactory, and they "cannot consent to work under them." This brought matters to a crisis, and a strike caused. Two days afterwards an appeal was issued to the men by the traffic manager to reconsider their position.

The next day, March 26th, the following resolution was passed by the directors:-

"That in accordance with the recommendation of Mr. Craven and Mr. Hawkins, the directors will with great pleasure give a gratuity of two guineas to each driver and one guinea to each fireman who has not deserted his post this day, while so many are endeavouring to force the directors to comply with demands which they consider unreasonable. That any such driver who was previously receiving a lesser sum shall at once be advanced to the first class and receive 7s. 6d. per day, and each fireman 4s. 6d. per day, with the assurance that come what may the directors will employ that at the above rates so long as they perform their duty. That believing a large majority of these who are still out will (upon reflection) regret having pushed matters to such an extremity, they are willing to receive back into the service any of the old hands who may rejoin it not later than Thursday next."

Notwithstanding these efforts to the part of the company, the men in the main were successful, though much hampered by the action of the men employed in the traffic department, for between those grades a great deal of antagonism existed at that time. The Times, in its annual summary for 1867, commenting on trade disputes states that after a short interruption of traffic the Brighton Company adjusted a serious dispute by concessions to the workmen. Their success, however, was of a short duration, for on the failure of the strike on the North Eastern Railway about two months afterwards, the directors very soon cancelled their previous agreement and put the men again on the twelve hours; or more properly speaking, as many hours as they could keep a man on duty. This system continued until 1870, when Mr. Stroudley definitely fixed the number of hours at twelve per day. Two years after this, namely January 27th, 1872, the engine drivers and firemen again sent in a memorial, asking that ten hours should constitute a day's work, each day to stand by itself, and eight hours for Sunday duty. At this Mr. Stroudley was highly indignant, and in a circular dated February 1st, 1872, tells the men plainly that he does not intend to ask the directors for any further increase. He states that the men are fairly well off, their terms of service being seventy two hours per week, overtime eight hours per day, and Sunday duty a day and a half. The seventy two hours include one and half hours each day to prepare the engine, and they are paid a full week if seventy two hours are not worked. Circumstances, however, were much in the men's favour. Trade was advancing by "leaps and bounds," the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (the first rules of which were registered in November 1871) had come into existence, and was enrolling all grades in its ranks in a most extraordinary manner on that line and in all parts of the country. The men determined to appeal to the directors, and on the 1st of July, 1872, new conditions of service were issued, to the effect that sixty hours was a constitute a week's work, overtime at the rate of ten per day. Sunday duty a day and a half, except where two sets of men were employed. This was a great concession, but left much to be accomplished. In the early part of 1878 another agitation was seton foot, the object being to abolish the sixty hours per week system, and make each day stand by itself, and to obtain a definition of Sunday duty; shed day to be counted a day's work, and a new scale of wages for drivers and firemen. The minor points were conceded, but the limitation of hours to ten per day was not obtained. Our readers will be familiar with the agitation of 1882, the result of which was the circular of April 6th, 1883, the principal point gained in that being a guarantee of a week's work exclusive of Sunday duty; no one to be called on duty for less than three quarters of a day's pay; overtime and Sunday duty to be paid at the rate of eight hours per day, and a nine hours' interval of rest before being again called upon after finishing a day's work; a new scale of wages, drivers to receive 7s. per day after five years, and firemen 4s. per day after three years' service, and long service passenger men, if character good,  7s. 6d. and 4s. 6d. respectively. On the whole the terms were very favourable, but the old  of ten hours per day pure and simple still remains unsettled.


In another column will be found a brief  account of the struggles of the men employed in the Locomotive Department of the Brighton Railway for an improvement of their position. It is not intended to be a full and complete history, but the main facts are clearly set forth. What strikes one as remarkable is the persistent manner the men have agitated for a limitation of their hours to ten per day, each day to stand by itself and apparent determination of the company not to concede that point. Faults have in the past been committed on both sides, and recently the relations of the company to their servants became much strained in consequence of the refusal of the superintendent to meet certain delegates whom he had some personal objection to. There is one slight omission in the reply of the men to the directors in 1867, with references to the superannuation fund. Those gentlemen stated there was a balance of £22,853 standing to the men's credit at that time, but the representatives of the men declared that was the first time they had ever heard of it, officialism must have been rampant when such matters could be kept secret. At the end of 1879 this fund had accumulated £54, 348 15s. 5d., and we hope some future time to deal minutely with that and the benevolent fund belonging to this company.


26TH JUNE 1885


The quarterly meeting of this branch was held at the Duke of Cornwall, on Friday, May 19th. Three new members were enrolled, making twenty new members for the half year. A discussion took place as to the report of the last monthly meeting not appearing in the Review, and it was resolved that the secretary be instructed to write to general office as to the reason of the omission. The case of a driver's suspension was thoroughly discussed, many members expressing their regret that it was not made a Board of Trade inquiry by the society, but as it was against the members wish, nothing further could be done with it. It was resolved that he be paid his three days' suspension pay. Another member made application for donative pay. He attended and stated his case to the satisfaction of the meeting, and it was resolved that he be paid as per rule. Three members made application for donative pay, they being all suspended for the same cause, and it was decided that their applications be taken in one resolution. Each of them stated their case in reference to running past a signal, all three being charge of the one train, and it was resolved that they be paid donative pay as per rule. "When," said one speaker "will it become a general thing for three railway servants working the same train, to be all members of our grand society, as in this case?" 


3RD JULY 1885


It very rarely occurs in railway companies for men - "especially in the locomotive department" - to assemble together in such large numbers as was witnessed on Friday 26th June ult., at East Grinstead, when the enginemen and firemen of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company had their second annual excursion. this year, in addition to the usual cricket match, there were athletic and other sports provided, including four of the funniest comicalities as clowns ever witnessed - " all locomotive men, employed at New Cross" - also a minstrel troupe, from Battersea locomotive department. Through the liberality of the donors and the energy displayed by the several committees, viz., Brighton, Battersea, and New Cross, some very handsome and costly prizes were competed for. The men assembled from New Cross, Brighton, /Battersea, Hastings, Portsmouth, Horsham, Eastbourne, Three Bridges, etc., numbering nearly 200.

The day's proceedings commenced with the cricket match, "Brighton and Districts versus New Cross and Battersea," and ended in a draw, greatly in favour of New Cross and Battersea team, through the splendid form shown by R. Brown, New Cross and W. Colburn, Battersea, the latter having compelled no less than 78 runs, in first class style, having completely mastered the Brightonians' bowling. The New Cross and Battersea team was captured by R. Brown, New Cross, and the Brighton and Districts by A. Lambourne, Brighton.

Mr. J. Ledbetter and Mr. J. White were umpires, the former for New Cross, and the latter Brighton. Three splendid silver plated cups were presented, two by Mr. H. Salmon, the Railway Tavern, New Cross, and one per Mr. Wm. Elliss, Battersea secretary, for the highest scores in each district, and were won as follows:- R. Brown, New Cross, W. Colburn Battersea, and A Lambourne, Brighton. During the progression of the cricket match the sports open for enginemen and firemen only were in activity; the first event on the card being a 120 yard race for each district, Viz., Brighton, Battersea and New Cross, and the following prizes were completed.

120 yards race (Battersea men only)
1st prize silver plated coffee pot, presented by Mr. Woodhead, District Loco Superintendent, Brighton; 
2nd prize, a beautiful penknife, per Wm. Elliss, Battersea secretary;
3rd prize, one bottle of old Irish whisky, presented by Mr. Sutton, Eastbourne.
1st Thos. Johnson; 
2nd C. Wright; 
3rd A. Pelling

120 yards race (New Cross men only)
1st prize silver plated cruet stand, six bottles, presented by Mr. Jas. Moore, The Rose Inn New Cross; 
2nd prize, Meerschaum pipe, presented by Mr. H. Salmon;
3rd prize, one bottle of  whisky, presented by Mr. Sutton, Eastbourne.
1st E. Bardon, scratch; 
2nd Thos. Kilby, scratch; 
3rd A. Blackman, 5 yards start. Won by 1 yard, 3/4 yard between 2nd and 3rd.

120 yards race (Brighton men only)
1st prize silver plated wine cruet, presented by Mr. Woodhead, District Loco Superintendent, Brighton; 
2nd prize, a silver plated butter cooler, per Wm. Elliss, Battersea secretary;
3rd prize, one bottle of whisky, presented by Mr. Sutton, Eastbourne.
1st A. Pelling; 
2nd A. Gill; 
3rd A. Lambourne

220 yards race (open)
1st prize gold scarf pin, presented by Mr. Grinsberg, Brighton; 
2nd prize, a splendid penknife, presented by Mr. H. Salmon 
3rd prize, 50 cigars, presented by a friend per R. Graham, New Cross.
1st J. Fowler, New Cross; 
2nd Thos. Kilby, New Cross; 
3rd E. Smart, New Cross

440 yards race (Open)
1st prize silver plated biscuit box, presented by Mr. Woodhead, District Loco Superintendent, Brighton; 
2nd prize, one box of cigars, presented Mr. Read;
3rd prize, silver plated toast rack, presented by Mr. Brigden, Brighton.
1st F. Snow Battersea; 
2nd E. Barden, New Crosst; 
3rd A. Pelling, Brighton.
Extra prize, a first class handbag, for the last man; won by Charles Anderson, New Cross
Sack Race 
1st prize splendid meerschaum pipe and cigar holder in case, presented by Mr. James Moore, New Cross; 
2nd prize, a 10-lb. Yorkshire ham, presented Mr. Page, Brighton;
3rd prize,25 cigars (part of a box of 100), presented by Mr. Scott, the Marquis of Grimsby Inn, New Cross.
1st Harry Gibson, New Cross; 
2nd James Cox Brighton; 
3rd S. Page, New Cross.

Sack race for Clowns
1st prize splendid penknife , per by W. Eliss, Battersea secretary; 
2nd prize, 25 cigar, 
1st H. Greentree, New Cross; 
2nd H. Osborne, New Cross; 

High Jump 
1st prize silver plated tea pot present by Mr. Woodhead, District Loco Superintendent, Brighton; 
2nd prize, 25 cigars;
1st A. Gill; 
2nd J. Towler, Battersea; 
Height, 4ft. 9in; won by two inches

Long Jump
1st prize s12-lb. Yorkshire ham, presented by Mr. Page, Brighton; 
2nd prize, 25cigars;
1st C. Wright Battersea, (17ft. 6in.); 
2nd William Thompson, Battersea (17ft 4in.); 

Consolation Stakes (for those not winning a prize)
1st 7s; 2nd 2s. 6.d Mr. Moore, the Rose Inn, New Cross.
1st H. Foskett 5 yards start; 
2nd Thomas Steel, 5 yards start; 

The Committee Race
1st prize silver plated tea pot, presented by Mr. H. Salmon, New Cross; 
2nd prize, silver plated tankard, presented by Mr. Grinsberg, Brighton;
3rd prize, silver plated coffee pot presented by Mr. W.H. Fox, locomotive superintendent, New Cross;
4th prize, a Morocco leather purse and a half sovereign, by Messrs. Pryer, senior and junior, the New Cross Inn. 
1st Charles Todman, (30 yards start) B'sea; 
2nd W.H. Spencer, scratch; 
3rd Robert Graham, New Cross, 35 yards start);
4th H. Harman, Brighton, 30 yards start.
Won by half a yard; 1 yard divided 2nd, and 3rd; 2 yards 3rd and 4th.

The committee was compose was composed as follows:- 
Mr. W.H. Spencer, starter and headicapper;
Messrs. R. Graham and H. Harman, referees;
Messrs. A. Gill and W. Elliss, clerks of the course;
Messrs G. Gere, Wm. Love, Thos. Hall, E. Braint, and Chas. Todman, stewards.

After the sports were concluded, a splendid dinner was partaken of by 150 men at Mr. Wm. Davies', the Crown Hotel. great praise is due to Mr. Davies for the able manner in which he catered on this occasion, and a vote of thanks was unanimously passed for his liberality of fare and courtesy, as he neither spared troubled nor expense in making the festival a decided success. Mr. Woodhead was chairman, and Mr. W.H. Fox vice. The company then again adjourned to the grounds to allow the cloth to be removed, when they were treated to a fine display of comic business by the New Quartett of clowns, Messrs. W. Thompson, H. Gruntree, H. Osbourne and W. Odell. Their business was really good, causing roars of laughter from all present. The New Cross Locomotive Band was in attendance under the able direction of Mr. B. Gilman, and played selections of dance and other music during the day, and also during dinner. The prizes were distributed to the successful competitors by Mr. Woodhead; afterwards the evening was spent in as convivial a manner as possible - merrily and soberly.

A vote of thanks was proposed to Mr. Woodhead and carried unanimously, for the able manner in which he filled the office chairman on this occasion. Mr. Woodhead responded briefly, and Mr. W.H. Fox proposed a vote of thanks to the Committee of Management of this year's festival. He stated that he was sure they had spared neither time, money, or inconvenience to themselves, in bringing about so successful an undertaking. The vote was passed unanimously, and the committee's health drunk with musical honours. Mr A. Gill Brighton Secretary, responded. Mr. W.H. Spencer, New Cross secretary, proposed the health of Mr. W.H. Fox, the New Cross loco. Superintendent. Mr. Fox responded briefly, assuring us of his co-operation another year. This brought the meeting to a close. A more sober and respectable gathering never assembled, and dispersed (the band playing "Auld Lang Syne") that at our last Grinstead Festival "All Merry and Wise." The Committee of Management were:- 
Brighton: Thos. Hall, W. Love, H. Harman, A. Gill, secretary; 
Battersea E. Braint, C. Todman W. Elliss, secretary;
New Cross: G. Gore, R. Graham, W.H. Spencer secretary. 


17TH JULY 1885


The readers of this journals must have been highly interested in reading the historical accounts of the movements of the North Eastern Railway locomotive and traffic department, and the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive department. It is upon the latter I intend to ramble, and give from time to time an account f all the incidents that come under my notice.

We have a very interesting and correct account of nearly all that transpires on the North Eastern Railway, written specially for this journal by "Canny Man," and I have often thought of later what a pity it is we have not such a member on every railway in the United Kingdom. however, it is no use grieving, that will not improve the state of things at all, but let us be up and doing and put our shoulder to the wheel. I have come to the conclusion to follow the example set us by "Canny Man," and I hope most sincerely others will follow in the same footsteps. This journal will then be rightly named "The Railway Review." Before proceeding further, I would like to say a word to those who may from time to time feel disposed to spend their leisure hours in writing to this journal; I hope they will never be tempted to publish anything from sheer spite, but always have for their motto "Defence and not defiance." Doubtless there are many who do not approve of publishing, but like to keep all that transpires quiet and confined to the district to which they belong, and I was once of the same opinion; but circumstances after cases, and so it is with me. The cause of such a change I need not mention at present, but I hope to do, so in some of my future ramblings. When I commenced there rambling it was my intention to commence with the article upon the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway loco. department, published on June 5th; but a case has just occurred which I consider it is  absolutely necessary to mention in order if possible to call others' particular attention to it, with a view of preventing anything very serious happening in future. 

Horley is a station on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, and is situated about halfway between London and Brighton on the main line. The traffic on the main line has so increased of late that the directors considered it advisable to carry out certain alterations and improvements at this station, which until a very short time back, only had two sets of rails running through it. Now it has two through sets and a loop line both up and down. Here we have a case of a stopping train, having all signals off, a clear run into the station, but whilst the train is standing at the platform, the starting signal is placed at danger, and the signal lowered for a through train, without any notice whatever being given to the men in charge of the engine or train. As soon as the necessary work at the station was completed, the guard wave the usual signal, and the driver started, but he had not moved many yards before he noticed the signal was at danger, and stopped as quick as possible, but this was not till he had run foul of the main line; however he set back immediately, and fortunately no accident happened. The report from the stationmaster and the one sent by the driver did not agree, and the driver and guard were suspended during the inquiry by the railway officials, and this took no less a time Tham one month. The men in the district consider this is punishment with a vengeance, and the sooner such treatment is stopped the better. Whet strikes the is this; were the alterations when completed at this station sanctioned by a Government Inspector? If so, where was his judgement in allowing alterations to be brought into regular use which do not provide proper accommodation for the public safety?


24TH JULY 1885


It is really very amusing to notice how fast news of any kind travels over a railway. Although my first ramblings have only been in print a few days, I can hear everywhere I go "Rambler" has given us a little about Horley in the Review this week, and we wish he had given us as much again. Well, so he will; but have a little patience, my friends, and a thought for the Editor's space, which I am given to understand is becoming more valuable every week.

"Rambler" knows full well the case which he mentioned last week was well known all over the line, and a great deal of comments made upon it all over the entire system of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway. "A certain traffic official," who is well known for his "unpopularity" all over the line and in every department, has the credit of being the cause of the men being suspended so long, and by what I can learn this official is severely opposed on the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, and at times gives vent to his feelings and speaks of this society in anything but a gentlemanly manner; but it is only what any one who knows him would expect. He appears to have very little feeling, and speaks to men s though they were dogs. "Rambler" would like to inform this good gentlemen that in the ranks of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants are to be found better men, and men more qualified, and who, perhaps, have a greater right to the position which he holds.

The shareholders of the southern railways of England have a good friend in Mr. Abbott, of whom we have seen a great deal in the London daily papers of late, and I see he is opposed to having so many "officials" to manage these southern railways; no doubts his pains would effect a wonderful saving if carried out, but I advise hime to purchase the Railway Review every week, and recommend all the shareholders of every railway in the United Kingdom to do the same, and there is not the slightest doubt but what they will see something that will be beneficial rot them, and really worth reading, for there is no paper printed in this country which gives so much or yet so good "practical information respecting railway working" as the Railway Review.

The historical account to the London, Brighton, and South Coast Loco. Department, published in this journal on June 5th, is by far the most correct and interesting I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It is really a very curious coincidence that the North Eastern Railway and the London, Brighton, and South Coast Loco. Department were the two first selected by the Editor, and that these two have had almost the same amount of difficulties to contend with, and even at the present time their terms of service are nearly age same. If the circulars which are issued to the men defining the terms of service are not the same to read, the, manner in which they are carried out is the same as near as possible, and the enginemen and firemen in both companies' employe appear to be almost of the same stamp in regard to principle.

I have had the following extract brought to my notice. It is taken from "The Trades Unions of England," by M. Le Comte de Paris:- 

"Strikes of Engine-drivers on the Brighton Railway in 1867"

"These drivers wanted to force the company to give up a scale of graduated salaries, which enabled it to give, at will, a sort of premium for good conduct to a certain number of them. They chose  for their strike the day of the Epsom races, a time when thousands of passengers are crowding the stations, and fighting eagerly for the smallest corner."

This account of the Brighton strike is far from being correct; it is misleading, and the latter portion of it is absolutely false. I fancy I can hear Mr. Editor cry space, and as I have become a constant writer to this journal I suppose I must obey, and will conclude by saying only to be continued.  


31ST JULY 1885


It a may appear to many of the readers of the journal that my criticism of the extract taken from the works of "M. L.e Comte de Facto Paris" was rather severe, and that I had in all probability forgotten, at the time of writing, that punishment for libel was strictly enforced in this country. No, such was not the case, neither do I think I was any too severe. Had I not have kn own the exact truth respecting the Brighton strike I certainly should not have challenged the work of such a noted writer, one who has a world wide renown for being very correct and truthful.

I do not blame the writer for the incorrect and untruth account of the Brighton strike, for he is supposed to have taken most of his information from the "Government Bluebooks," and this goes to prove how railway companies will endeavour to cheat the whole nation in order to suit their own convenience; it also goes to prove that it is essential to the well being of the country that practical railwaymen should be employed in the "Governmental department" which has the charge of the trade of the country. If the truth respecting the Brighton strike is to be told, the directors were entirely to blame. No doubt they were to a certain extent guided by the "officials" employed under them, but at such times "railway directors" should do that which they are paid for, and therefore it is their duty "to meet the representatives of any body of their employees" which have a serious grievance, such as the enginemen and firemen had in 1867, and which they have had more than once since that year. The men acted honourably, and sent their petition stating their grievances to the directors, but it was treated with contempt, and the receipt of it was never acknowledged. The men sent several letters asking for the directors to meet their representatives, but these received the same treatment as the petition. At last the anger of the men was raised, not soon to be quieted down; they rendered their resignations to the directors, and in less than twenty four hours after the dispatch, of the resignations the directors desired to meet the representatives of the men. The chosen delegates met the directors, but they did not come to satisfactory terms; the directors then requested the delegates to give them a "week's grace" to allow them an opportunity of consulting the chairman of the board, who was then away. And why was he away at such a critical time as this? Where were the interests of the shareholders? Certainly not receiving the attention which they were justly entitled to from those who are paid enormous salaries to do nothing. else. However, the representatives of the men agreed to give them a week's grace, and this is how the first day of the Epsom spring meeting of 1867 was the first day of the "memorable Brighton strike." The documents relating to the strike are rather lengthy, otherwise I should have endeavoured to have them inserted in this journal, for they are really very interesting to any one who understands railway work; in fact, some of them are very amusing. For instance, you see the "traffic manager" -- who held almost the same position as the "general manager" of the present day -- addressing the "enginemen and firemen" as 
" 'Fellow workmen,' I address you thus because you are so in 'reality,' " whereas before the men's resignations were tendered there is very little doubt but what he was one that persuaded the directors to take the unwarrantable course which was the actual cause of the strike. In the movement that has recently taken place, and which has never been settled, the "directors" certainly had the good feeling to order all letters received by them to be acknowledged. For this great credit is due to them. Of the movement itself I shall have something to say in some of my future "Ramblings," for I believe in my own mind that the correspondence which took place ought certainly to be published, in order to give the shareholders a truthful account of the whole affair.

In some parts of the line I can hear that "Rambler" screened the "locomotive officials" in last week's "Ramblings," and they think he will do the same again if they do not jog his memory. However, my readers, you need not trouble bout that, for I can assure you there is something in store for the locomotive department, for things have not gone off very smoothly since a second locomotive superintendent was introduced. It is an old saying, and a true one, "Too many cooks spoil the broth," and so it is in this case. Although there has been a saving in the working of the locomotive department for the past half year, if I were asked for my opinion on the subject, I should say it is only a temporary saving. 

On the 10th August 1885 

the Woodside and South Croydon line on the  was opened.


14TH AUGUST 1885


Hear all round "What has become of  'Rambler' this week? we quite expected he would follow up his remarks on the Brighton strike, and that he would probably take each movement that has taken place since that time, as we should like to hear what he has to say respecting the movement is most fresh in the memory of those who watched or took part therein."

The past few weeks have been what I call the Brighton company's harvest, and of course "rambler" has been out and about, in fact he has been in some parts of the line where he was not expected to be, and happened to be where some guessing was taking place as to who "Rambler" could be some actually saying they "Rambler" very well, but it was very evident they did not recognise him when he was amongst them; but there need be no secret as to who "Rambler" is.

I may tell my readers that is my attention to take each movement that has place in connection with the L.B. & S.C. loc. department,  and deal briefly with it, and I hope those who have had anything to do with these movements will read my "Rambling" carefully and not forget to learn something from them, and endeavour in the future to improve upon the past; but I cannot promise that I shall be able to follow on each week regularly, so if I miss a week occasionally I hope my reader will not be disappointed.

This week I have something to complain about, which I hope I shall never have to speak about again, that is the unreasonable working of the employes. I can hear of men making eleven days in six, while others have barely worked their full complement of sixty hours; and it is a fact that "one pair of men worked thirty six hours and forty five minutes, and a mother pair worked over thirty five consecutive hours." When was the necessity of  such working as this, and where was the saving? If it was preached to me from now till next year, I would not believe that it could not have been altered, and ought to have been worked totally different. I should like to know what the result would have been had any accident happened to these men, for had they gone to sleep while standing, it is almost certain they would have fallen off their engine, as there is nothing to prevent them doing so, and I may say these men completed their long day's work in the busiest part of the Brighton line. Although I have quoted these two cases, they are by no means the only ones; but it is not necessary for me to quote any more nor yet speak plainer, for if those who have the superintendence of the locomotive department do their duty, and examine the bills or returns sent in by the drivers, they will find plenty of room for improvement in the future.

I have a few words to say respecting the traffic department, which is actually worked a great deal worse than the locomotive department. I mean, worse for the employes. I would like to know why were the "signalmen in the West Croydon north box" kept on duty twenty fours consecutively? This is an eight hour box, and one of the busiest in the London district, and I should say if the signalman belongs to the superannuation fund, it will not be long before he will be able to claim benefits to be derived from this fund. I must say such workings as this is a disgrace to humanity, and the sooner the "Railways Regulation Bill" becomes law, and practical railway servants sub-inspectors of railways, so much the better for all concerned.

It has been said the concluding paragraphs of my last "Ramblings" was hardly plain enough, and some say they never heard of a second locomotive superintendent on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railways, and would like to know if "Rambler" would give them his name; I have never up to the present, had the honour or yet thew pleasure of seeing the good gentleman's name in full, and there may be several reasons, but the greatest reason I can give, and, perhaps, the most correct, is that it would be impossible for him to sign his name in full, seeing he has man so many letters to sign in one day. But I have no objection to give the initials, and if ever it is my good fortune to see his name in full I shall have no objection to give it. The initials appear to be "J.M.;" and I will further say, although in the correspondence  that took place over the recent movement the locomotive superintendent has the credit of being the cause of the ill-feelings existing between himself and the enginemen and firemen employed under him, that had the deputation, which was chosen in the first place, had the pleasure of meeting the directors, the gentleman whose initials I have given would have had the most to answer for. No doubt there was some underhanded work going on in some quarters, but it will come out one of these fine days, for "It's a long lane that has no turning." Since the movement has cooled down there have been several instances of unjust punishment. No good can come out of officials trying to govern such a body of men as the enginemen and firemen in the employ of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway by "correction," for they are bound to put a stop to it sooner or later, and the opinion of the majority of the men is that were they to repeat the 1867 affair, only with a little better management, it would mean bankruptcy for the Brighton Company. 


28TH AUGUST 1885


It may appear to some who took the trouble to read my last "Ramblings," that I and the majority of the enginemen and firemen in the employ of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company are greatly in favour of strikes, but such is not the case, and I hope the day is far distant, if ever, when a strike will again take place, for it would be, to my idea, a national calamity. At the same time we are by no means in favour of the peace-at-any-price party; what we really want id to be treated with respect by those in authority over us, and to be a fair day's wage for a fair day's work. Up to the present I have only written about the grievances of the men, and some may think we are grumbling, disagreeable lot. This is not so, and, by way of a change, I am taking the opportunity of penning a few of the pleasures we have had of late.

From my last "Ramblings" the lesson may be learned that the enginemen and firemen on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway are not afraid of work, and that they have distant charged their duties in a very careful and practical manner, for on no line in this country which is nearly so large has there been such a few accidents of late years. This speaks well not only for the locomotive department but for every grade on the line, and I cannot help but feel that the directors, shareholders, and the travellers on this line are greatly indebted to the employes for the careful manner in which they have discharged their respective duties, and I hope we shall have even fewer mishaps in the future.

Of late four of the enginemen have retired, having been drivers for upwards of thirty years. A subscription was made to give them a small present, to show the esteem their fellow workmen had for them, and I may say they were all real good society men, and have received their superannuation from the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. On Thursday evening a meeting was held at the reading room adjoining Battersea Park Station, for the purpose of making the presentations. The chair was taken by A. Richardson Esq., the district locomotive superintendent, who also made the presentation. In his opening address he gave the men some very good advice, which I hope they will never forget. In making the presentations he said it was one of the pleasantest duties he had ever been called upon to perform, as all four had worked under him for upwards of thirty years. They had lived to a good age, and were now comfortably provided for. This speaks for itself, and I will say that my idea as to be the best cheapest way of managing a railway is for those authority to take an interest in those employed under them, to see the workmen go to work in a contended fashion, to take good care to keep their old experienced hands, not to be continually treating men harshly or unjustly, and not to continually changing those employed under them. The presents consisted of four very handsome gold scarf pins, purchased from Messrs. Grinberg and Co., of Brighton.

Friday last was a day long to be remembered; a cricket match took place at Brown's Ground, Nunhead. between eleven enginemen and firemen of New Cross, chosen by Mr. C.W.H. Spencer, the secretary of the district, and eleven of Battersea enginemen and firemen, chosen by Mr. W. Elliss, the secretary of the the district. Mr. R. Brownacted as captain for New Cross, and Mr Elliss for Battersea, the result being an easy victory for the Battersea team. The game commenced at 3 p.m. New Cross winning the toss, began the batting. The game closed at 7 p.m. At 7.30 the two teams, with their friends, sat down to an excellent dinner, provided by the host, Mr. Brown, of the Railway Tavern, Nunhead, and I need hardly say that after the afternoon's sport the men were quite ready and did ample justice to the dinner. The cloth being removed, and a vote of thanks given to the hosts, a vocal and instrumental concert took place, a string band being in attendance. The secretary of the district took the chair, while the Battersea secretary assisted in the vice chair. The concert opened with a selection from the band, which was loudly encored. Song "Far, Far Away," by Mr. J. Smith; "I will stand by my Friends," Mr. C.W.H. Spencer; "Dear Friends of old," Mr. Elliss; solo on the concertina, by Mr. Trowler. This was performed in a most excellent style. "Paddy and the Rope," Mr. J. German; "Strict Q.T.,"  Mr. Barden; "Long as the World goes round," Mr. J. Taylor. Selection by Mr. J. Taylor on the banjo and Mr. Trowler on the concertina. This was admirably rendered, and received its just reward. "Prop of the Land," Mr. H. Soper; "The Days when I was Young," Mr. Pointer; "The Belle of the Ball," Mr. Ginman; "See Saw," by the band; "Down by the River Side," Mr. Spencer; " Good Companion," Mr. Warren; "Oh, who will o'er the Downs so free," Mr. Elliss; "Joe Muggins," Mr. J. Smith - for this he was loudly encored, and gave for the last song, "Up a Tree." "God Save the Queen," by the band, brought one of the pleasant evenings ever spent in connection with the Brighton enginemen and firemen to a close, the Battersea men returning home by the 11.15 p.m. from Queen's Road. The necessary arrangements to enable the men to be present were made by the district officials.

The lesson to be learned from my previous "Ramblings" I have already given, and the lesson which I wish my readers to learn from these "Ramblings" is first, that we, the enginemen and firemen, of the Brighton Railway, know how to enjoy a day's recreation; second, that we know how to respect and show our esteem to those who have acted or do act honourably towards us; and last, but not least, we are learning more every day what the motto "Unity is Strength" really means. In conclusion I must sat that the example set by the enginemen and firemen is worthy for other grades on the line follow, for the good feeling which sprang up between the various districts over the movement in 1883 is ripening more and more every day, and my earnest desire is that it will continue to do so as long as the Brighton Railway existence.




Sir, - I would like to call the attention of your readers who are interested in the Brighton line to the way men in the loco. department of this company at Portsmouth are treated. quite recently one of the main line drivers died suddenly, and, as most of your readers would suppose, the vacant place should have been filled by a Portsmouth man, whose position it should have been, both by seniority and qualifications - and there are several drivers capable of filling the vacant post; but no, notwithstanding the promise of the district superintendent that he would bring no more men from Brighton to Portsmouth, a man has been sent there against his own inclination; and this makes the fourth one who wishes he had never seen the place. Do you not think with me, sir, that a man has been firing nine or ten years on running trains on the main line between Portsmouth and London, and driving on goods and other trains two or three years, that he is qualified to take charge of the class of engine he has been used to a large portion of the time? but the superintendent will not give these men, who have been looking forward anxiously for promotion, any chance whatever, either at Portsmouth or elsewhere, and things are at a standstill, as far as promotion is concerned.





A few weeks ago I promised to give a short account of each movement that had taken place in connection with the London, Brighton and South Coast loco. department. I have not been able to do so before, owing to so many other things happening recently. however, following on with my remarks respecting the Brighton strike, I will say, had the terms which were offered to the enginemen and firemen ben offered before they tender their resignation, no strike would have taken place. Some say it is a pity it happened, but those that look deep into the affair say it was the means of bringing to light a deal of underhand work which was going on at that time; and perhaps as it died , it would not serve a useful purpose to bring it up again. I will only say, when the delegates waited on the directors the second time, they were instructed to accept nothing less than what the men had petitioned for. When the chairman of the deputation told the directors the instructions he had received, Col. Bartelott, the deputy chairman, but at this time he was acting chairman, said, "You put me in mind of highwaymen, 'Money, or your life.' " But he had evidently forgotten that all the trouble they had might have been saved had the directors acted in a reasonable manner at the proper time, and not locked the gate after the horse was gone. There is no doubt but what the terms that were offered to the men were very reasonable, but the basis of my argument is, that they were offered when too late; and I hope it will be a lesson for others.

The effect the North Eastern strike had upon the Brighton enginemen and firemen was this, the Brighton strike was over and the men were working comfortably, but as soon as the North Eastern men failed, the men in the Battersea district of the Brighton line were called together by the district locomotive superintendent, and asked if they would accept twelve hours per day, instead of ten, which they were then receiving, and they did accept it, without fight against it. Some say that the do not believe the directors knew anything about it until the men had accepted it, and that it was the doings of the officials; but anyway, it shows that those who were the leaders of the men were not so firm as they ought to have been, and at the present time when this mentioned, it is looked upon as a matter for regret.

I have noticed on the Brighton line, and have heard and read of the same happening on other lines when the men have tried to obtain any concessions or appeal against any unjust treatment, the minor officials have nearly in all instances taken offence at it, and as soon as the movement has quieted down, worked against the men as much as lay in their power, and have even tried to evade the agreements which the men have made with the proper parties, and in some instances, have tried to intimidate those that were elected as the representatives of the men. As proof of this statement I will quote case which I know is based upon facts, and cannot be truthfully denied. It happened on a certain day shortly after the movement of 1883, that one of the firemen who happened to be on the deputation which waited upon the locomotive superintendent, had occasion to complain to one of the loco. Inspectors at London Bridge Station. Note the reply.

 "I have heard of you before; you are one of the clever ones; you have not been promoted through your cleverness; and I can tell you that the loco. Superintendent said he will take good care you do not. mind or I shall have you one of those fine days; in fact, if you only give me half a chance, I shall make it hot for you."

This was said to the wrong party; it might have done with some, but this fireman was not to be intimated by such language as I have stated; and I can give you the fireman's opinion upon the subject, for I have heard it more than once, He said,

"I do not care a jot for all he has said to me; the only matter I have for regret is to think that such a creature should ever have any authority over a body of British workmen."

I shall in all probability have something more to say respecting the manner these loco. Inspectors at the terminal stations discharge the duty for which they are paid by the locomotive department. I see in the Answers to Correspondence in the same issue that last Ramblings appeared, in a reply addressed to "J.M." I take from the reply that this party has been writing to this journal, and that the editor did not consider it advisable to publish it. I am sorry for this, as a controversy between an official and a humble servant of the same company would not only be interesting and amusing, but I feel confident that it would be very edifying, for I am quite prepared to take any official for an argument in this journal upon any subject I have written upon. I have no desire to take or attempt to take a mean advantage of any one. I hope I may always be guided by a far higher principle. I mean to criticise the management of the Brighton line as fares lies in my power, and if any officials when pursuing my Ramblings finds a cap to fit him, all I have to say is that he had better wear it, for a guilty conscience requires no accusing; and those that are acting honourably and doing their duty will have nothing to fear, either from "Rambler," or any other writer to the Railway Review.

(The writer referred to did not controvert any of "Rambler's" statements Editor)

Railway accidents on the 


from http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk

Thames Tunnel 21st September 1885 

Involving ex New Cross Driver Frank Osborne Fireman James Green 

& New Cross Driver John Quickenden 





I am sorry if I have disappointed any of my readers by not writing a before this. To others I must say I am a long way from being tired of rambling. I am tired of one thing, that is, knowing my time is so much taken up that I cannot find sufficient time for this duty. I shall not get tired of rambling so long as I can find anything worth penning for this journal, and I am very happy to say that most of the men employed in the same class of work as myself are going the A.S.R.S., and "Rambler" is beginning to feel proud of the branch to which he belongs, for they are unionists not by name only but also by deed. As for being intimidated, "Rambler" is not so easily frightened, for I consider I have as much right to obtain. for myself and those around me the best terms it is possible to be obtained, just as much a the directors. or officials have to try and pay the shareholders the highest possible dividend; and I will say that if any official did try to intimidate me I would publish every word spoken or written to me. I can say that the loco. inspector I mentioned in my last "Ramblings" knows by this time what trying to intimidate men comes to, and I have no doubt it will be very long time before he attempts to do it again; and I hope he will give those who are his assistants a little bit of good advice, for I can hear complaints, that they are not any too civil, and this appears to be the case nearly all over the line.

I am very sorry to say that things have not been quite smooth as they ought to have been during the past week, and are at present anything but pleasant for a few. "Rambler" has been busy, and no doubt will be as busy for some time to come as those that are paid for being busy. This may appear a curious remark, but there are plenty that will fully understand the meaning without saying anything plainer, for society men must be protected.

Several accidents have occurred of late. A goods shunter run over in Battersea goods yard. A fireman whilst walking round the engine to attend to the head lights, fell off, and was very seriously injured, and was not missed by the driver until he had travelled some distance; and two plate layers, belonging to the same gang, knocked down and killed; all these happened within a few days. it is dreadful to think of such things happening, but it is more sad when a poor woman asks for a pass to go to the place where husband is lying, and she is abruptly told to go and pay her fare. If men put up with abuse or incivility, I hope we shall not stand by and see our wives or friends treated in this manner. I consider if the official that she asked had not the power to grant her a pass, the least he could have done was to instruct her as to whom she could apply. I hope the locomotive superintendent will inquire into this case, for the rumours that are going about are anything but pleasing to me.

No doubt most of the readers of the journal have read the account of he fete held on September 14th at the Albert Palace, Battersea Park, in aid of the Orphan Fund, and perhaps they would like to know what it so happened that "Rambler" was able to be present, and took stock of everything that transpired, and endeavoured to find out everything worth noticing I was informed the committee consisted of employes of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, London South Western, and London, Chatham and Dover Railways. This looked remarkably well, and I can assure my readers that it was one of the finest sights I ever had the pleasure of seeing, and I was pleased to learn that a good feeling existed between the employes of the three companies, especially with the locomotive men, and I hope it will ripen more and more every day, and that we shall soon hear of the South Eastern employes taking an active part in everything that may spring up; then we shall be able to say. The southern railwaymen are thoroughly united.                              




On Saturday evening, shortly after seven o'clock, a South Eastern Railway Company's goods train ran off the metals at Caterham Junction, and the dismounted trucks completely blocked the up and down Brighton main lines. At the time of telegraphing  all traffic was suspended, and there was no prospect of this lines being cleared for many hours. A powerful break down crane gang arrived on the scene at half past nine. The nigh boat express to Newhaven was sent via Oxted and East Grinstead. Telegraphic communication with statins below Caterham was cut off owing to the wires being broken. The accident was due to the breaking away of part of the train and subsequent collision. Several wagons toppled down the embankment, some being smashed to pieces. They carried telegraph poles with them in their descent. The up line could not be cleared for some time; no one was injured.



adapted from the meeting

A joint special meeting of the New Cross and South Eastern branches was held at the Railway Tavern, on Saturday, October 24th, it having been decided at the last meeting of the former branch to call a special meeting for the purpose of hiring the delegate's report of the Annual General Meeting held at Leicester, as time would not permit of its being gone through with on the former occasion, but the secretary regrets to state there was but a moderate attendance considering it was a joining meeting of two branches. Nevertheless the delegate was listened to attentively, and great interest was taken by the members that were present.

He explained the different resolution that were passed, and all went well until he arrived at the Enginemen's Certificate Bill, which caused a deal of discussion. While admitting the necessity of every enginemen holding a qualified certificate, it is the opinion of enginemen and firemen in general here that if the Bill were passed as the resolution reads it would be doing a great injustice to the younger hands, and they think that two words should be struck out of the resolution, viz., "the same," and to read as follows:-

"A duly qualified certificate, as is provided in the case of men in charge of steam at engines at sea."




Those who have watched an express engine rushing across the country at speed of sixty miles per hour, pulling behind it a well filled train of business men, tourist, and the people, can imagine how proud the driver feels when he knows he cab so regulate his train as to bring it to its destination at the proper time and carry the living freight with safety. On. the other hand, the observer has doubtless often indulged in a hope that he might some day be placed in the same situation, and pictures in his mind's eye the varied scenery of the country, the narrow escapes from accidents and collisions which have often been experienced by men of this grade, and thinks what a pleasant life it must be. Many people desire and long for adventure; it bring one into notoriety, and, with a little pardonable exaggeration, amuses and states friends at the fireside on a long winter's evening. This is the bright side of the picture, but what years of toil among the black and greasy engines in the shed is necessary before this position is reached, and only a few, comparatively, can ever hope to attain to it. Even then all is not so pleasant as it appears. We must go behind the scenes to ascertain the real life led by these men, A fault finding fireman; bad coal and oil; fines and reprimands over supposed offences for which they often are not responsible, but apparently inseparable from centralised corporations, are occurrences which put the best men to a test. It is the small affairs in life which most of us are unable to bear with patience and forbearance. There are, however, a much larger class, this who have charge of goods and mineral trains, whose duties are much more laborious; in fact, it needs men of the very strongest constitution to withstand the constant strain imposed upon them. Take, for example, those employed on the Metropolitan Railway, whose work is nearly all underground, similar in some respects to the miners of the country. Such a life will soon affect not only the constitution of the men, but their character. The men required as engine drivers should have strong nerves, persons who never lose their self control in the midst of danger; men who can decide in a moment, and act in cases of emergency with confidence in their ability to overcome all difficulties; men who never fear danger, and are prepared if necessary to lay down their lives in the performance of their duty. These qualifications exists to a great extent among the staff employed on the lines, and for this reason the public has began to recognise and appreciate them as a class of public servants whose welfare al have an interest in. considering the important nature of their duties, it may, however, fairly be questioned whether the standard of proficiency could not be raised with good results to both employers and employed. Too little value has in the past been attached to education as a nears of raising the character of men. To all intents and purposes they are practically recognised outside the service as belonging to a distinctive trade, yet no certificate to competency or other document is given certifying that the owner is capable of fulfilling these duties. This question has of late been much discussed, and an impression has got abroad that if such a plan was adopted, it would be great injustice both to the old and younger hands in service. No one disputes the desirability of such a system, but numbers cannot see their way clear to advocate the plan recommended by the last Annual Meeting of the Amalgamated Society. A theoretical examination is conjured up which numbers could not pass, and it is argued that it would confine the work to superior mechanics and others who have had the advantage of a special technical education. This was not the intention of the Congress, and in urging that certificates should be granted, as in the case of the marine enginemen, it was with a view to insure that the best practical men should be selected for this work. Such a system enforced would immensely raise the status of the whole grade of the Service, and increase the value of their labour on proportion. What the test of efficiency should be has not yet been determined, but this is a matter which is well worthy the consideration of all the branches of the Society. The companies would probably open technical schools for the instruction of their men, and there is but little doubt that in a few years and system would work well. In our opinion the examination should be mainly of a practical nature, and answers should be required which would prove that the individual had a thorough knowledge of all the parts of the machine he was in future to take charge of, and was familiar with the principles of its construction. it would also be advisable to formulate a series of questions on the subjects of accidents to the engine while on the road, and the best way of rectifying them. These are matters of details which could easily be arranged in a satisfactory manner, and we venture to believe that if adopted it would prevent, to a very great extent, the favouritism which exists on most lines. The superintendents or foremen would not be able to ignore the claims of the men as they occasionally do now, but the magic piece of paper would act as a talisman, and secure promotion to all who were most worthy of the honour. 






On Thursday evening, November 19th, a dinner took place at the General Havelock, Battersea Park Road, to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of th Battersea branch of the above society. Mrs. Banister, the hostess, had evidently used her best endeavours to make the evening an enjoyable one. The room was very tastefully decorated with evergreens and chrysanthemums, and over the seats of the chairman and vice chairman were two large cards, with the motto, "A welcome to all," very beautifully painted. Mr. J. Richardson, deputy locomotive superintendent of the Battersea district of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, occupied the chair, and was supported by Mr. Anwell, of the Nine Elms district of the London and South Western Railway; Mr. James; Mr. Watkins, locomotive inspector London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. Mr. Wilkinson, superintendent of the Battersea district of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, through ill health was unable to be present; and Mr. T.B. Holland, of the same company, was unavoidable absent. There were also present Messrs. J. Burrage, G. Preston, P. Bolster, and several more old members of the society. At eight o'clock the chairman accompanied by the visitors, entered the room, and were loudly cheered as they took their seats. The dinner was an excellent one, and great credit is due to the hostess for the admirable manner in which it was served. After the cloth had been removed, the chairman gave the usual loyal toasts.

Song: Mr. Watkins, "Solider's Dream."

The Chairman then said:- "Gentlemen, the next toast I have to propose is one I am sure will be mostly heartily received. I may say it is the toast of the evening, it is 'Success to the Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen's Friendly Society, and the health of the general secretary, Mr. Brooks.' (loud cheers.) I may also say that this society is one of the oldest, and has proved itself to be one of the best societies of its kind in the kingdom. (Cheers.) I have carefully examined the balance sheets, which your branch secretary kindly gave me a few days ago, and I find that after paying all just dues and claims, you have a very handsome balance in hand. Theis speaks well for the manner in which your society is managed. (Hear, hear.) I can further say that the best thing any young man can do is to join this society as early as possible. (Hear, hear.) I find we have rather a long programme to go through this evening, so I will not, therefore, detain you with any lengthy remarks, but will ask you to drink, with a good heart, 'Success to the Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen's Friendly Society, and the health of Mr. Brooks, the general secretary.' I have also to couple to this toast the names of Messrs. W. Elliss and T.B. Holland." (This was received with three time three.)

Song; Mr. G. Preston, "Ben Bolt."

"I am exceedingly pleased to have the opportunity this evening to respond to the toast which has been so ably proposed, and mot heartily recieved, vi., that of 'Success of the Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen's Friendly Society, and the health of our general secretary.' There are three reasons why it gives me so much pleasure to respond to this toast. First, most of you are aware I am a member and an officer of this branch, and it is only natural I should be pleased to hear the society spoken of in such a praiseworthy manner, as our worthy chairman's done this evening. (Hear, hear.) Secondly, this the first time we have ever had such a gathering as this in Battersea in connection with this society, and I feel confident the result will be very satisfactory, and before this day twelve months we shall have a large increase of members in the Battersea branch (Loud cheers.) Thirdly, because the toast was proposed by an official, and more especially as it is by the one under whom I myself am employed. most of us know that locomotive officials, as a rule, are very good at taking hints, providing they are given in the right way, and as we have a few here this evening, I have thought to myself since we started to go through our programme, it would be a very good opportunity to give them a polite one - (laughter) - by our chairman speaking of the society in the manner he has done this evening, and no doubt it will go forth amongst the enginemen and firemen throughout the line that he encourages them to join this society, and in so doing he is encouraging them to provide against the numerous emergencies incidental to railway work. (Cheers.) He is encouraging them to do that which is really  the duty of every working man, to provide for a rainy day - (Hear, hear); he is also doing that which is the duty of every official, encouraging 'thrift' amongst those employed under them. (Hear, hear) I have given a hint, and I think it is only right that I should give a little information respecting the society (Hear, hear) The society was established in 1839, and on the 31st December, 1884. I find we had 9,502 members, and a total balance of £87,596 12s. 2 1/2d. This you will find averages about £9 4s. 4 1/2d. per member - (loud cheers) - and as far as I can ascertain we are, in proportion to our members, the richest sick benefit and friendly society in the kingdom. (Hear, hear) We are the most independent, for I know of no society nearly so large that has had support from the general public, although there is ni class of men the general public are so much indebted to or ought to pay more respect to than locomotive enginemen and firemen. (loud cheers)" I hope before this time next year the Enginmen's Certificate Bill will have been passed. It will, in my idea, raise the standard of enginemen fifty per cent., and I hope they will command even more respect in the future that they have ever done in the past. (Hear, hear) This society, like most others, has had its numerous difficulties to contend with, but having an excellent general secretary and general committee (who so doubt have had the assistance the branch secretaries and committees), we have up to the present time successfully overcome them. (Cheers) It has been the desire of those who have had the management of this society to strictly carryout the rules, and at the same time firmly adhere to the objects for which the society was originally intended. It is a friendly society in reality, and it is the duty of every member to see that those they place at the head of affairs strictly adhere to this principle. I like trades unions to be trade unions, and friendly or sick benefit societies to remain as such. I do not like to see them mixed, for I don't think they work very well together. I hope that no gentleman will go away this evening with the idea that I am opposed to trades unions; on the contrary, I am wrapped up in them, and I would like to see every working man the same. I feel confident the condition of the working men of this country would be greatly improved. (Cheers) I regret Mr. Holland is unable to be present this evening, for I have never had the pleasure of seeing our general secretary, and he and Mr. Holland are very old friends, and I am sure he could tell you a great deal more about the society than I can. However, I than you most sincerely for the hearty manner you have received the toast, ' Success to the Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen's Friendly Society, and the health of the general secretary,' and if there are any gentlemen present who are eligible to join, and are not yet members. I hope the few remarks I have made, in addition to those made by the chairman, will be sufficient to induce them to join at the earliest opportunity." (Cheers) 

Song: Mr. F. Snow, "Simple Benjamin." 

Mr. Anwell, on rising, was loudly cheered, and at some length proposed "Success to the Battersea Branch of the Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen's Friendly Society." He said he had been connected with the London and South Western Railway for about twenty eight years. There had been great changes of late; what with some dying and some retiring, there seemed to be quite a new set of men. He had always taken an interest in this society, and it was necessary that they should have a branch in Battersea. The Battersea branch in Battersea. The Battersea branch greatly owed its formation to Mr. Bliss, the secretary, and he certainly must congratulate the members on the success that had attended it. He referred very feelingly to the accident which had occurred on the London and South Western Railway the previous day, but he was pleased to say that both the engineman and fireman were members of this society.

Song: Mr. Frost, "Walked by the Sea."
This was received with three times three.

Mr. J.M. Bliss, in responding to the toast, read a letter he had that day received from Mr. Brooks, the general secretary, in which he expressed his regret at not being able to be present. He hoped they would have a very pleasant evening, and before long he hoped to see the Battersea branch one of the largest in the kingdom. (Cheers.) The speaker gave an account of the progress of the branch, remaking that on the 19th of November, 1884, they opened the branch with 19 members, and they had that day 51 member - (Cheers) - and he hoped before that day twelve months they would have reached the three figures. (Hear, hear) The branch had paid into the society the sum of £71 5s. 11d. during the year, and out of this they had paid £45 8s. 1d. to the general office, and £8 1s. 8d. to sick members, which would leave them a balance of £17 16s. 2d. (Hear, hear) He expressed his regret at having to say they had at the present time two on the sick list, owing to having fallen off their engines, but he hoped before long they would be able to follow their usual employment. (Hear, hear)

Song: Mr. J. Smith, "Far, Far Away."

Mr. Elliss suitably proposed "The Health A. Richardson, Esq.," which was received with three times three.

Selection on the banjo and concertina by Messrs. J.H. Taylor and J. Towler.

Mr. C. Watkins, in responding on behalf of A. Richardson, Esq., remarked that he should have liked to see the gentleman present to speak for himself. During the time he had worked under him he had always found him a very straightforward gentleman. He thanked them on behalf of Mr. Richardson for the hearty manner they had drunk his health. He then spoke at some length on the benefits of the society, of which he had been a member since 1842. (Cheers.)

Song: Mr. J. Ever, "Hunt the Boar."

Mr. Bliss, in the absence of Mr. Holland, proposed "The Health of the Chairman," and spoke of the assistance he had given to the branch, and said he was a friend to them all, and a friend in need was a friend indeed. This was received with three times three.

Song: Mr. S. Allison, "Man in Distress."

The Chairman, in rising to respond, was heartily cheered, and in a very feeling speech remarked that he had never spent a more enjoyable evening, and that it was always a pleasure for him to assist, whenever it was in his power, and that he should be only too pleased to assist any of them at any time, not only in Battersea, but any part of the line. He concluded by thanking  them for the hearty manner in which they had drunk his health.

Song: Mr. Robbins, "Silver Bells."

Mr. Elliss, in a very able speech next proposed the health of the visitors, which was received with loud and long cheering.

Selection on the banjo and concertina by Messrs. J.H. Taylor and J. Towler.

Mr. Anwell suitably responded to the toast of the visitors, and said he quite agreed with the remarks Mr. Elliss had made, especially when he said he hoped it would be the means of a better feeling existing between the three companies's officials and employes, and hoped they would be able to have a large gathering of this kind at some future time. (Cheers)

Mr. James briefly thanked them for the manner in which they had received the toast of the visitors.

Song: Mr. F. Taylor, "Jimmy Murphy."

Mr. Bliss proposed the health of the hostess in a very able manner, which was received in the usual style of giving three times three.

Mr. A. Hall, in responding on behalf of the hostess, said he was sure she was only too pleased to assist them at any time she possibly could, and what she had done for them she had done with a good heat and free will, and he was sure she would be very pleased when he told her the manner in which they had received the toast. (Cheers)

Song: Mr. Elliss, "Welcome Friends."

The Chairman proposed the health of the committee. This was received with three times three.

Song: Mr. F. Snow, "John Malone."

Mr. W. Cooper, in responding on behalf of the committee, said he was sure they would be only too pleased to do the same next year as they had done this, and he hoped it would be on a larger scale. He thanked them on behalf of the committee and himself for the manner in which they had received the toast.

Song: Mr. J.H. Taylor, "Studying Economy." 

This concluded the programme, and at this time the chairman gave up the chair to Mr. J. Smith, the branch chairman, and in company with several of the visitors left the room amidst ringing cheers. The harmony was kept up till 1.45 a.m., when the gathering was brought to a close by the singing of the National Anthem.


A rather serious accident happened on Sunday night (22nd Nov.) at East Croydon Railway Station. It seems that a train which had arrived from Brighton had separated in the ordinary way, and the front portion sent on to Victoria. An engine then left siding for the purpose of taking the other part to London Bridge, and owing to the driver miscalculating his distance, ran with considerable force into the stationary carriages. The result was that the first vehicle was very much damaged, and five passengers sustained injuries of a more or less serious nature, besides being much alarmed. Having left their names and addresses with the station master, Mr. Ruxton, they resumed their journey. The driver of the down train noticed that the engine was travelling towards the carriages at much too fast a pace, and he sounded his whistle, but it was too late.



extracted and amended

"Rambler" is still in the land of the living, and again appears in these columns though I fear there are a few who would much rather he had taken his departure, "far far away." although I have not written my "Ramblings" for this journal for some weeks, I hope my readers will not think I have in the least degree relaxed the interest I have hitherto taken in this journal, or the society in general or that everything is in such a flourishing condition on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, that even "Rambler" cannot find sufficient facts wherewith to write even a few lines of criticism. I dearly wish such was the case, for I should only be too pleased to admit it, and reveal such a state of affairs in these columns, but such is not the case; on the contrary, everything looks black and gloomy at present, though we are given to understand that Christmas generally brings "glad tidings." I can positively and truthfully say I find it almost impossible to walk many yards without meeting some one who has some complaint to make. It is very evident that matters cannot of on in such a state for very long, for I can plainly see there is something brewing, which before long must have a vent; I certainly believe that unless matters mend very soon there will be such a determination evinced amongst the men to have them mended, that the oldest officials on the Brighton line never saw the like before. It appears that the terms of service that were issued in 1883, the same the locomotive superintendent told the deputation that waited upon him on September the 2nd, 1884, that he intended should be worked up to, is being worked just how the district officials think proper. The nine hours off duty after the conclusion of one day's work before the commencement of the next is lost sight of entirely, for I find in a communication I have to hand, a pair of passenger men are booked on the goods for one night to make their hours up. They booked on duty at 4.45 p.m., and booked off the following day at 10.15 a.m., and booked on again at 2 p.m. the same day for passenger work. Why such a thing as this should take place at this time of the year, I cannot understand. It is evidently a Brighton mystery. I don't want my readers to think this is the only case, but I quote this one because it is one that has come to hand whilst I am writing these "Rambling."

There is one thing I can perfectly understand - that is, the remarks I made in my "Ramblings" which appeared in these columns only a few months ago have proved to be only too true. I spoke of the saving there had been in the locomotive department for the first half of the present year, and closed my "Ramblings" by saying that if I were asked for my opinion on the subject, I should say it was only a temporary saving. I know full well the "officials  of the locomotive department" have found this out to their heart's content, but no doubt it can be easily smothered, provided the officials in the locomotive department pull the same way. But it can be exposed in the columns of this journal, thoughI myself have no desire to publish everything that transpires simply for the sake of exposure, but I like to see justice administered, and to see those that are in fault admit it, and not tory and blame, or frighten the workmen to admit that every failure that takes place is entirely their fault, as it appears to me, by what I can learn, is the case at present.

Railway accidents on the 


from http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk

East Croydon 22nd November 1885 

Involving Driver John Smith & Fireman Edward Marlow, 

Depot unknown. 




William Stroudley decided to allocated each of his engines (even thou they belonged to the 
company) their own Engine Drivers who would then come responsible for their own 
locomotive. This was Stroudley’s way of getting his Engine Drivers interested in their work 
and by stimulating their pride, the condition and performance of their engine would be 
maintained to a high standard.These engines would have the name of the Engine Drivers 
painted inside the cab on the weatherboard in gold paint. For example (see below photo) 
Brighton Driver William Love was allocated B1 class locomotive No.214 "Gladstone" and his name was painted in the cab. Stroudley also introduced a bonus scheme for coal saving, 
whereby Engine Drivers would receive payment for burning less coal.

During the palmy days of steam, an engineman's cab was his castle.William Stroudley himself said:

"I consider it a great advantage to keep seperate engines for drivers. I have always believed 
that if an engine is made as carefully as possible, it will respond to the attention that it gets 
afterwards; that the driver will be proud of its appearance, and of the duty he can get out of 
it: and doubly proud to be able to perform a great duty with a small amount of expense. It 
has been found that the same will not take the same care of another engine as he does his 
own; and those engines which have unfortunately to be entrusted to several drivers 
deteriorate in quality, consume more coal, and get dirty and out of repair much more rapidly 
than those which are appropriated to a particular men. I am of the opinion that it is better for 
the railway company to spend more capital, and have more engines, so that one locomotive 
can be retained for each driver, as the cost of stores and maintenance will in that case be 

As a result of this policy, and because the cab fittings constituted the tools of his trade, each 
driver took special pride in the appearance of his footplate. The footplate crews would come 
to work in accordance of the booked work allocated for their locomotive, this practice last up until 1919


The view of the inside of the cab of "B1" class 214 Gladstone now preserved at the National 

Railway Museum

In 1919 enginemen saw he introduction of the 8 hour day and the L.B.S.C.R. was obliged to
abandon its time honoured tradition of 'one driver, one engine' - quite simply it ceased to be 
an economic proposition. Thereafter the best compromise (circumstances permitting) was to 
introduce 'double manning' with each engine allotted to a pair of drivers on opposite turns 
(one early, one late). under this system the locomotive was, in effect, available for about 16 
hours in every 24 hours. 

The working of the locomotive would then be done by these drivers with the exception of 
leave, rest days, sickness etc. when the engine would have been worked by other designated 
Enginemen. The practice of painting the drivers name onto the weatherboard then ceased.
But double manning didn’t suit everybody and there was many an old stalwart who in 1919, 
would gladly have stuck to the 10 hour day in order to keep his own engine to himself.

Railway accidents on the 


from http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk

East Croydon 22nd November 1885 

Involving Driver John Smith & Fireman Edward Marlow, 

Depot unknown. 




Portsmouth 1885 (L.B.S.CR., & L.S.W.R)

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