In June 1886, A.S.L.E.& F. introduced a Password and Oath for use as necessary in safeguarding against intrusion at branch meetings, but this was never generally observed.

In 1887 the Executive Committee decided to replace the branch password and replace it with a Society Emblem and invited designs for a Society Emblem, and "that the first engineman and fireman be shown on this emblem, subject to their approval"






Fellow Workemen

In issuing this Circular, we are pleased to inform you that our Society has made great progress since its formation six years ago. It was formed to give greater security to our labour, and to prevent our employers from taking advantage of our disorganised condition. We believe, and experience has proved, that we could have our grievances redressed if we were a thoroughly organised body, and thereby raise ourselves to that position which the responsibility of our duties entitles us to. Knowing the great and arduous duties Enginemen and Firemen are called upon to perform, we think we are worthy of greater consideration than we at present receive from the officials of various railways, We know men have striven for years to improve their position by appealing to Superintendents and Directors, and we know the results; but how different those results might have been had we been bound together in unity! A man, to espouse the cause of Enginemen and Firemen, under the present disorganised state, must do so at great sacrifice to himself, as we have known men who have represented you that have lost their situation for so doing, to the disgrace of the man that had the power, and used it to the injury of those who had the courage to represent you, and ask for those concessions which we are entitled to as honest, hardworking, responsible men. We would ask you if you consider your conditions of labour satisfactory. Anticipating your answer, we think you would say they are not; then, will you review with us the aspect of affairs as they are, also as they ought to be, and what means we ought to take remedy the grievance we labour under?

1st. - The rules of the Railway Companies say that we must devote the whole of our time to the Company’s interest, reside where they require us and so on. There are exceptional cases where the men are guaranteed six days’ wages per week; but with many  Companies it is not so, yet they claim the same terms of service, viz., 144 hours per week you must hold yourself in readiness for their disposal, and yet the Company reserve to themselves the right of not paying for any more time than they actually employ you, which in some cases only amounts to one or two days per week. Now we think that as the Company require you to devote the whole of your time to their interests, they ought certainly to guarantee you fully six days’ wages per week.

We think that every day should stand by itself, and consist of a reasonable number of hours (not more than 10 per day), and any time made beyond that to be paid for as overtime, at the rate of 8 hours per day. Sundays should be exclusive of the week, between midnight on Saturday and midnight on Sunday, and be paid for at overtime rate (8 hours per day).

We think that Enginemen and Firemen hold the most responsible situations in the Railway service, and we ought to be paid for our responsibilities; and we think that Enginemen and Firemen, in many instances are not paid so good wages as they ought to be.

The course of promotion of Fireman to Enginemen, in most Companies, is far from satisfactory; the only chance of promotion being in favour in which a man is held by the foreman, which in some cases is gained by giving in some form or other. We think each man ought to take his turn for promotion by seniority, his abilities being tested by a qualified man to see if he is competent, without fear of favour to any individual. 

Another serious question is the long and continuous hours of labour Enginemen and Firemen are oft-times compelled to remain on duty. A few years ago, the Amalgamated Society of Engineers took up the question of regulating their of labour, and contended that nine hours per hours per day were sufficient; after a long and bitterly contested struggle the men were victorious, and now there is scarcely any class of men called upon to work more than nine hours per day. Yet how is it with many Enginemen and Firemen? In many instances we are called upon to remain on duty 14, 16, 18, and in some cases 24 hours, and over that at times, and are expected to carry out the responsibilities of our employment as long the Companies require us to remain on duty, and this, in most cases, in weather when nature feels the necessity of rest and refreshment the most urgent.

We think there requires a more uniform system of signalling on Railways, especially in foggy and stormy weather.

The provision of more brake power under the Enginemen’s control, for he is the first to see danger, and therefore ought to have the means in his hands of bringing his train to rest as quickly as possible.

Fellow Workmen, to permanently improve our position we think there should be a strong Society of Locomotive Enginemen and Firemen.

Our Society has been established six years, and we have so far made satisfactory progress; but still there not the numbers in that we can say that the great majority of Enginemen and Firemen are banned together in one compact body.

We have gained during the present, eight new branches; and have now Branches at the following Stations; Sheffield, Pontypool, Neath, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Carnforth, Gloucester, Llanelly, Sandhills, Swansea, Exeter, Nottingham, Bristol, Plymouth, York, Oxford, Cardiff, Paddington, Newport, Bow, Openshaw, Mexborough, Stockport, King’s Cross, London, Birmingham, Kentish Town.

We have put before you the objects we are striving for, and ask your co-operation in assisting us to obtain them.

There are benefits offered by the Society that are very necessary and beneficial to men in our position. We cordially invite members, and thereby entitled to these benefits, and also increase our strength by uniting with us to obtain our just rights and privileges from our employers.

In conclusion, we submit to you the following scale of wages which we think Enginemen and Firemen can justly claim, and we ask you to join us to try and obtain them.

1st. - A full week’s wages to be guaranteed to all Enginemen and Firemen, so long as they are fit and ready for work.
Full Wages for Enginemen, 7/6 per day; in London, 8/-
Full wages for Firemen,       4/6 per day; in London, 5/-

Time, 10 hours per day, after which 8 hours overtime.
Each day to stand by itself.
Sundays to be exclusive of week’s work, between midnight on Saturday and midnight on Sunday, and be paid for at overtime rate, viz., 8 hours per day.

Those men who do not wish to join for full benefits, may join for trade purposes only, at an entrance fee of 2/- at any age, with a contribution of 4d. per week, which entitles them to out of work allowance of 12/- per week, and 18/- per week while suspended, with legal assistance to any amount for any act not criminal in itself.

Fifteen men in any district desirous of opening a branch, may do so on application to the Secretary. Hoping this will meet with your approval, and thereby command your sympathy and support.

We are, Fellow Workmen,

Yours respectfully



17, Mill Hill, Chambers, Leeds






11TH JUNE 1886


On Monday, June 7th, a fete was held at the Albert Palace, Battersea Park, under the auspices of the Battersea and Nine Elms branches of the A.S.R.S., in aid of the above fund.

The Albert Palace is admirably adapted for such fetes. The Palace consists of a vary large nave, which is beautifully decorated, and fairly filled with fancy stalls of various descriptions. A concert room, which is named the Connaught Hall, is a very large building, and contains the largest organ in this part of the country. The grounds are tastefully laid out, and have an open air stage of the Parisian style.

At 11 a.m. the Palace gates were thrown open to the public, and the day's proceedings commenced with an organ recital at noon by Mr. A. Forge. At 12.30 the New Cross band started from Clapham Junction and marched in procession along the principal streets headed by "Dog Help," and a portion of the fete committee, the band playing very lively airs along the whole route, especially opposite the tradesmen's establishments who had contributed or given prizes in aid of the Orphan Fund, and arrived in the grounds of the Palace shortly before 2 o'clock, and played the whole time the athletic sports were taking place.

At 1.30 the Albert Palace Brass Band played a selection in the nave, under the direction of Mr. Hiram Henson, to whom great praise is due for the very excellent manner in which the band performed their task. At 3 o'clock a variety of entertainment took place in the nave, concluding with Alcide Capitaine, the Daughter of the Air; this being her first appearance in this country. At 5 o'clock Katsnoshin Awata, assisted by Madile Awata, give his juggling entertainment, for which be is titled the Prince of Jugglers, and who on the 5th inst. had the honour of performing before the Prince of Wales.

In the Connaught Hall at 6.30 the prizes were kindly distributed to the successful competitors of the various races by Mrs. O.V. Morgan; the chair bing taken by Mr. E. Harford, the General Secretary of the A.S.R.S. At the conclusion of the distribution of prizes, Mr. Harford gave a brief account of dog "Help," and the Orphan Fund, and in a very appropriate speech proposed a hearty vote of thanks to Mrs. Morgan for having honoured the fete with her kind attendance and by distributing the prizes. Mr. Sampson very suitably seconded the proposition, which was carried by acclamation, Mrs. Morgan politely acknowledging the same.

At the seven o'clock a vocal and instrumental concert took place in the Connaught Hall, which was opened by the New Cross Loco. Department Brass Band playing a selection in the fine style, great credit redounding to Mr. Sinman, the bandmaster. They were followed by the Amalgamated Glee Party, which consisted of about forty members, who gave two glees for which they were encored. The next was the Black Snow Minstrels, which consisted of a bout thirty performers, who gave an entertainment lasting a little over half an hour, and received a good reception. Master McKew gave  the song "Dog Help" in a very creditable manner, accompanying himself on the piano. The concert lasted a little over two hours.

At eight o'clock the grand representation of "Paris in London," an outdoor entertainment, on the newly erected magnificent stage, commenced with a concert. In Part II. Katsnoshin Awata, the Japanese wonder, appeared again, in his grand juggling entertainment, while Part III consisted of a new and original grand spectacular ode, entitled "Our Empire," written expressly for the Albert Palace, by Mr. Clement Scott, music by Mr. W.C. Levy, conducted by Mr. Hiram Henson. Scene 1, England; 2, Scotland; 3, Wales; 4, Ireland. "Choral Ode," Miss Ada Hills and the chorus; which was followed by representations of India, Canada, and Australia. Flag dance by the entire company, "God Save the Queen." This entertainment was most magnificent, and with which all seemed highly delighted.

At ten o'clock a grand display of fireworks took place, the set pieces being "Ally Sloper," which was loudly cheered, and an imitation of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company's locomotive steam engine, "Brighton," the only error in this being the number which was sixty five instead of forty. The set piece was most enthusiastically cheered; and this brought the day's enjoyment to close.

Seldon, if ever, has such a programme been offered to the public in one day for the nominal sum of one shilling. The tradesmen in the neighbourhood are deserving of special mention for the liberal manner in which they gave prizes or donations towards the fund, and the committee are to be congratulated for the very excellent arrangements and for the manner in which they were carried out, for it certainly must have entailed a very large amount of responsibility and labour upon them. It is estimated that not less than fifteen thousand people witnessed the dispute;ay of fireworks.


2ND JULY 1886



A special meeting of the enginemen and firemen in the Battersea district of the of the L.B. and S.C.R. was held on Sunday, the 27th inst., at the Duke of Cornwall, Stewart's Road. An engineman was voted to the chair, and in opening the meeting, remarked that he had been taken rather unawares, but at the same time he was always willing to assist in any movement for the benefit of his fellow workmen. The minutes of a special meeting held on the 21st inst. were read and confirmed. The secretary read the letter he had written after their last meeting to the locomotive superintendent, and the reply he had received; this caused a long and heated discussion, in which a great number took part. After this had been carried on for some time, the general opinion was that the deputation should not go unless the locomotive superintendent would meet the secretary with the deputation. The secretary was asked if he would agree to the deputation meeting the locomotive superintendent without him, and in reply remarked that he fully appreciated the good feeling they had towards him, and as he had every confidence in the deputation they had chosen, he had not the least objection; it was the very in which the locomotive superintendent showed his opposition. He never allowed himself to get downhearted or troubled over a little opposition from the officials; in fact, a man that was not prepared to be opposed or who always took offence at opposition, such as some of the officials did, must be a very weak hearted.

It was unanimously resolved that deputation, with another driver added, should be allowed to the locomotive superintendent without the secretary, but the secretary was to make the necessary arrangements to enable him to be close at hand should he be required.

The programme which the delegates were to discuss was then drawn out, which consisted of five clauses and was as follows:-

First:- The general working of the district was not satisfactory, there being np regular system of working or promoting the enginenmen or firemen. the locomotive superintendent to be reminded of his guarantee that should work more than fourteen hours systematically in one day.

Second:- To ask the locomotive superintendent to appoint a locomotive inspector for the district.

Third:- Driver J. Dower's appeal against his pay sopped for allowing his engine to run hot.

Forth:- Fireman Stebbing's not being paid at the rate of a passed driver, according to the terms of service; and to apply for the difference in the amounts which he had been paid and what he ought to have received since he was passed as driver.

Fifth:- To remind the locomotive superintendent of his promise to use his influence with the directors to reduce the age at which enginemen my claim for the benefits to be derived from the superannuation fund.

The circular re the proposed alteration of the protection rules of the A.S.R.S. was then read, and the chairman and secretary addressed the meeting on the benefits to be derived from this society, at the conclusion of which five foremen and two drivers filled the necessary forms up to become members.

It was unanimously resolved that the next meeting be held at the same place on Sunday, 4th July, at 7.30 p.m., and the General Secretary be invite to attend.


9TH JULY 1886

There is considerable stir amongst the locomotive men of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway just now. At Battersea in particular, the men seem determined to have their grievances remedied. The main source of complaint is that the drivers and firemen are not being promoted in any systematic manner. Some cases have been reported to us of drivers who, after about four years' service are receiving the highest of wages, in preference to older servants; and of youths brought out of the shed to fire, and are promoted over the heads of old firemen. The Battersea men will deceive us if they allow such a state of affairs to continue. They are well united, and must take a firm stand and insist upon  the practices referred to being abandoned, and a better system of promotion introduced in its stead.




On Sunday evening, July 4th, a special meeting of the enginemen and firemen in the Battersea district of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway was held at the Duke of Cornwall, Stewart's Road, the General Secretary being present. An engineman occupied the chair and briefly opened the proceedings.

The minutes of the meeting held on Sunday 27th, were read and confirmed.

Mr. Dowes then gave his report, in the course of which he remarked that the delegates tried very hard to have the secretary admitted, but they were not able to succeed. Previous to them meeting Mr. Stroudley the delegates had a short meeting, and the secretary had the five clauses they were to discuss wrote down, and each delegate had a copy. He took each clause separately, and gave, as far as he could remember, an account of what's said upon each one.

Mr. Warren supported what Mr. Dowers had said, and remarked that there was not anything very definitely settled, except the case of fireman H. Stebbings. He explained that he was placed in a rather awkward position, as he (the speaker) was not admitted to the deputation until an hour and a half after the other two delegates. The locomotive superintendent gave for his reason for not meeting the secretary that he had received a printed circular from the directors that he was not to meet the secretary upon any deputation  - (cries of "Shame!") - owing to some letter he had written to the director some time ago. The secretary then remarked that he was exceedingly sorry Mr. Saunders, their other representatives, was not present, but they all knew the real cause, and he had made it his business the day previous to see Mr. Saunders and hear what he had to say respecting the interview they had with Mr. Stroudley on Friday last, previous to the delegates' meeting. Mr. Stroudley gave each delegate a copy of the points they were to speak upon; he had written them exactly as they were framed by the men at their last meeting; they were not drawn up or framed as a petition for presentation to the locomotive superintendent, they were plain and could be easily understood by any person who wanted to understand them, and previous to the delegates going into the office where the interview took place, he said they had come to the conclusion that it would be advisable to hand Mr. Stroudley one of their copies, and after Dowers had done with his case, Mr. Saunders handed the copy he had to Mr. Stroudley. The report Mr. Saunders had given was very similar to that which the other delegates gave, the only difference being that Mr. Saunders had taken more notice of a few of the sarcastic remarks the locomotive superintendent made. Of course this was only natural, as he considered Mr. Stroudley was particularly gifted to that way. (Laughter) One of these self pleasing remarks which the locomotive superintendent made, was that enginemen and firemen at Battersea ought to employ a clerk of their own outside the railway service, and pay him for his services. (Laughter)

It was unanimously resolved that the delegates report be accepted, and a hearty vote of thanks given them for the same.

The Secretary asked the delegates if they were perfectly with the manner in which the locomotive superintendent had met them, and if he had treated them in a proper manner, not as being enginemen, but as the representatives of the enginemen and firemen of this district. The reply was very satisfactory.  

It was then unanimously resolved that this meeting tenders its best thanks to the locomotive superintendent for the courteous manner in which he had met their three representatives.

Several question were asked the delegates respecting the wage question. This caused some laughter, as the delegates said Mr. Stroudley reckoned he was paying the percentage to the one - seventh - hundreth part of a man. A long mistook place on some of the remarks Mr. Stroudley had made respecting the firemen, which some of the old firemen expressed themselves greatly dissatisfied upon.

It was then unanimously received resolved "that this meeting express itself greatly dissatisfied at the locomotive superintendent not meeting our secretary with the deputation, as we consider it a great injustice not only to the secretary, but to us as a practical body of enginemen and firemen, and as the locomotive superintendent gave for his reason that the directors had given him the orders that the secretary was not to be admitted upon any deputation, we express our opinion that the directors cannot have that respect for us as a body of enginemen and firemen as they should have, otherwise they would never refuse to allow any enginemen or firemen we may choose to represent us to be admitted upon a deputation, and that we respectfully ask our General Secretary to take the case up.

The General Secretary, in a very instructive address, remarked he did not go in for Sunday work, but he certainly was very pleased to be present that evening, and he should very much like to attend meetings of that kind a little oftener, for by so doing, he could learn a thousand times more than say any letters could tell what were the real grievances of the men, and that the Society may be made much more useful and beneficial to its members. He promised that he should give every attention, and endeavour to carry out the wishes of that meeting in a proper manner. He had read the letters which had been written to the directors during the last movement of the Brighton line, and certainly did not remember anything like in any of them, and he was sure Mr. Elliss would not wilfully insult either the directors or the locomotive superintendent. He could not call plain, outspoken language insulting; however, he would carefully go through the whole of the correspondence again. having referred to other matters, a hearty vote of thanks was given to him for his very interesting and instructive address, and for his attendance there that evening. The General Secretary briefly replied. Votes of  thanks to the chairman and secretary brought the meeting to a close.




On Thursday evening July 1st, a social gathering was held at the Duke of Cornwall, Battersea, and a presentation made to Mr. W. Elliss, Hon. Secretary to the Enignemen and Firemen of Battersea, London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway.

Mr. E. McKew, Jun., was voted to the chair, and Mr. S. Allison to the vice chair. The chairman remarked that he was proud to occupy such a position upon such a memorable occasion, nd spend the meeting by singing the first song, the vice chairman following him; the following gentlemen also sang during the evening:- Messrs. C. Todman, J. Every, G. Goldspring, J. Pullen, G. Manuel, W. Brown, R. Langridge, J. Bliss, T. King and E. Barden.

The Chairman, in calling upon Mr. Bliss to the old enginemen were unavoidable unable to be present to take part in the presentation, and as Mr. Bliss was the branch secretary of the L.S.E. and F.F.S., he should ask him to make the presentation on behalf of the enginemenand firemen.

Mr. Bliss remarked that he was exceedingly pleased to perform such a duty, and in a very appropriate speech spoke of the interest Mr. Elliss took in the enginemen and firemen, not only in Battersea but throughout the Kingdom; and only those who were brought into close connections with him through society business knew the amount of work he had done. He considers it was the duty of every one of them to encourage and assist him in every way they possibly could. He said he was brought into Mr. Elliss's company a great deal, owing to him being one of the branch officers of the Enginemen and Firemen's Society, and he knew that Mr. Elliss must, owing to the amount of work which he did, spend many hours by himself on their behalf, when he nought be enjoying the company of his own family and friends, and he was sure that Mrs. Elliss must feel it a great trial to be deprived of so much of his company. He asked Mr. Elliss to accept the presents, which consisted of a very handsome marble and ormolu timepiece under a glass shade, the emblems of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants and L.S.E. and F.F.S. beautifully mounted and framed in massive gilt frames, and a gold medallion splendidly designed with an engine in the centre, with coral round it, and in large letters round the edge. The Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, and on the back of it the following inscription, 

"President to William Elliss as a mark of esteem by the enginemen and firemen of the Battersea district, London Brighton, and South Coast Railway, June 1886."

The speaker said he was very sorry to think the presents were not better and more expensive, but he hoped Mr. Elliss would accept them as a small acknowledgment for the valuable services he had rendered to the enginemen and firemen. He hoped Mr. Elliss would be with them for many years to come.

The Chairman, Messrs, Todman, Every, and Warren briefly addressed the meeting and hoped Mr. Elliss would always carry out the wishes of the men in the future as he had done in the past, and as some future time they would be able to present him with something better than they had done that evening; they all briefly thanked Mr. Ellissfor the very honest and straight forward manner in which he had acted during the past three years he had been their secretary.

Mr. Elliss, who, on rising, was long and loudly cheered, remarked it had always been his practice during the time he had been amongst them to speak openly and plainly, as he was not one the attempted to flatter others or himself, neither did he intend to do so that evening. He was extremely sorry that the time which they would have close the meeting was getting near, and he was in hopes that he would be able for the first time to have given them what he called a speech. However, he would be as brief as possible. The first point was the condition on which he accepted the magnificent presents. If it were for their monetary value alone they were such as the highest in the land would be proud to accept, how much more would he prize them, one who held such a menial position; and coming from those who were his fellow workmen made them a thousand times more valuable. He had been aptly paid for anything he had done for them before that evening, for there was no official on the line that had the respect shown him from the enginemen and firemen throughout the entire system as he had, and he was sure there was no one that could appreciate it more than he did. He had never over-estimated it, and never intended to do so, as some people often, made a great mistake by taking it as worship. He then spoke of the general working of the district, and said it was curious coincidence that at this time they should actually be carrying on a movement for certain alterations which they considered was absolutely necessary. It had been said by certain officials that it was all his faults, and that he was the only dissatisfaction man in Battersea - (cries of "No") - and that he had been leading the enginemen and firemen by the nose. (Cries of "Shame") there was one thing certain, that if he had so much power over the enginemen and firemen as to be able to lead them so easily, they would not have put up with one half what they had done during the past few years, especially the last few months. He had always been very careful in anything he had done. He did not attempt to lead the men, nor yet persuade them to carry on any movement, neither did he intend. It was for the men to push forward those they had appointed as their representatives, and not representatives to have to pull the body of men behind them. (Cheers) It appeared to him that men, as soon as they got into an official position attempted to crush those employed under them. England always been renowned for the moral courage and independent spirit which her workmen possessed, and it was this that raised this kingdom to the position she holds at the present time. It would be a bad job for this country if ever this independent spirit was crushed out of the working classes. Ten thousand times over he would rather that the mighty seas washes over the land and England was no more, Than that the working classes should be ground down so that their very existence was a misery. (Loud Cheers) The speaker then briefly alluded to each of the presents, and the interest he took in societies. In concluding he said he was greatly indebted to the Grievance Committee for the assistance he had received from them, and he must say a few words on behalf of two whom they had on several occasions chosen to represent them, Messrs. Saunders and Cook. He spoke of the good advice they had always given him, and perhaps they had given him what he might call his railway schooling. He then, in a very feeling manner, thanked those present for the kindness they had shown towards his wife and friends, and hoped the good feeling which existed might yet increase, and that they would never regret or think they had misplaced their confidence in him. (Loud Cheers)

A vote of thanks for the instructive speech they had just heard was carried with musical honours, which was briefly acknowledged.

A hearty vote of thanks to the chairman and vice chairman brought the meeting to a close.


30TH JULY 1886


"Rambler" appears again, and I certainly must, before proceeding further, apologise my readers for not appearing earlier.

The next duty I have to perform is certainly a very solemn one, and it is with deep sorrowI pen the sentence to inform the railway world of the death of J.P. Knight, Esq., general manager of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway. I cannot allow this to pass without a few words, for I think I shall be speaking the sentiments of every engineman and fireman in the employ of the Brighton Company when I say there was no official on  the Brighton line that respected an engineman more than the deceased gentleman; and although he held the position of general manager for a number of years, I know of no engineman or fireman who, whenever he was brought before him a mishap of any kind, but that he always spoke to him in the kindest possible manner, and never in my recollection has he punished a man unjustly nor yet harshly. I remember one of the latest mishaps we had on the Brighton line. The enginemen and fireman had to appear before the general manager, and some few weeks after I spoke to these two men, and they informed me that Mr. Knight had acted like a father to them, and instead of unbraiding them as some officials do, he only gave them some very good and useful advice. The proprietors of the of the Brighton line will find, through the death of Mr. Knight, they have sustained a great loss, for a more able general manager of a railway company was not to be found, and I am sure the directors of the company will for some time to come greatly miss his presence and the assistance which I feel sure he was always willing to give them. I am exceedingly sorry that space will not permit me to say so much as I should have liked to, but I cannot close the subject with a few more words, and although some may think that I am attempting to give more learned and experienced men than myself advice, I must sat that during the short time I have taken so much notice of public men, and men who hold high positions in life. I have always found that men of the highest and most practical business habits are always possessed of another very good quality, that is they are the most feeling towards their fellow creatures, and never attempt to keep a man down, nor yet trample upon a man after others have pushed him down; on the contrary, they are always willing to lend a helping hand, and I hope most sincerely that other officials, not only upon railways, but in every trades or business in life, will try and follow this example.

My reader will have read in the columns of this journal the various reports of the meeting that have been held by the men in the locomotive department at Battersea, and upon this no doubt I shall be expected to say a few words. I have carefully inquired into the grievances of the men in this district by speaking to some of the enginemen concerned, and certainly I must say I cannot for the life of melee why the locomotive superintendent should have any difficulty in settling the dispute or giving the men what they are really asking for, seeing it is only that every man shall have justice equally the same, and not for men to be promoted over the heads of others. I mean to say, what the Battersea men are asking will not cost the company a single copper more than it does at the presenttiem. but there appears to me to be something between the official which will have to come out one of these fine days. As things stand at present it appears that after the last meeting, held on July 4th, the secretary wrote the locomotive superintendent a letter of a business nature and the locomotive superintendent instead of taking it in that light, took offence at it, and the reply he has sent is, in my opinion, one which the secretary will in all probability take offence at. I have had a short conversation with the secretary, and although he certainly did not say what he thought of the reply, it was evident he was not pleased, and I have since learnt that the locomotive superintendent has posted a copy of the two letters in a frame in the Battersea sheds for the edification of the enginemen, as is stated on the top of the letters.

I hear the committee have discussed the letters, and a meeting is to be held during the present week, in order that some definite steps may be taken, so I hope I may be allowed to save what I have to say until that meeting is over, for I do not want to try and teach the Battersea men their business, for I feel sure there is no district in the country that knows what is the right course to adopt more than they do.

There is one other very sad incident I would like to mention, which occurred at Battersea. A fireman named Frederick Frost was killed whilst oiling the crank shaft. It appears the rule or custom in Battersea that if an engine does not stand right so that the shaft can be oiled whilst she is under the funnel in the shed, the men must take her outside the shed, and a pit is provided just outside the doors for this purpose. it was here that Frost was oiling his engine, when another engine coming into the shed ran into this one Frost was oiling, and killed poor Frost on the spot. The funeral took place about five day after, and I was very pleased to learn nearly two hundred officials and railway servants attended and marched in procession, the bearers being six enginemen and firemen dressed in serge suits and wearing the cap which the company provides for the enginemen and firemen. I have also learnt that the driver of the engine which caused the death has been discharges for allowing the fireman to move the engine without him being on it, at the time this engine ran into the one Frost was oiling the was walking towards the shed, having just held the points that turned his engine into the shed road. This appears very hard. I think after the corner holding an inquest and not really bringing the verdict against this man for manslaughter, to discharge him at a week's notice, is a very extreme punishment. 


We regret having to record the death of Mr. J.P. Knight, the courteous and energetic general manager of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, which event took place at half past one on Friday morning last, at Epping, Essex, where he was on a visit to some friends. The deceased had been ill recently, but had apparently covered, and was present at the half yearly meeting of the company on the Wednesday. He was fifty eight years of age, and universally respected alike by the workmen and other whose business brought them in contact with him. He held the position of manager to the company referred to for some seventeen years.


Universal regret is expressed over the lamented death of Mr. J.P. Knight, the esteemed general manager of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway. He was one who was fortunate in gaining respect of all with whom he came in contact, and we could wish that every manager was so kind and courteous as he was. Coupling his manner with his ability, it may be truly said that his life was one which could be held up as example for other to follow. It is difficult to say whether the Brighton Company or the workmen will feel his loss most.




I feel, sure my readers will expect me to inform them that the funeral of the late J.P. Knight, Esq., took place on Wednesday, July 28th, at Brompton Cemetery. I am exceedingly sorry that it should have happened at such a busy time, for as I told my readers leaders year, the Goodwood races week is what I term the Brighton company's harvest. Every official and every employe throughout the entire find plenty to do, and it is almost impossible for any employe to be allowed leave of absence even for one day; hence I think this is one of the principal causes why the funeral was not a public one.

I informed my readers last week that a meeting was to be held at Battersea during the week, and reserved what I had to say until this meeting was over. Well, it is over, and I have a very good report of it forwarded to me, and I am pleased to learn that it was a very instructive and business like meeting. I know full well the spirit of the enginemen and firemen at Battersea, and I also know that a better set of men for officials to work with - providing the officials act honestly towards them - is not to be found in this country. It was not my intention to have said very much about this district and what id going on at the present time, but as I learn from the enginemen themselves that the officials have acted in anything but a proper manner, I have come to the conclusion - as I am a member of the A.S.R.S., and Battersea is really a stronghold or this society, it is my duty to assist the men by exposing anything that is improper or unjust, and for this reason I am just going to say a few words as to how the district officials are acting at the present time. I aam sure my readers will agree with me when I say there are always a few black sheep in every flock, and Battersea is not without its black sheep; and officials have no difficulty in making lackeys or cat's paws of this class of men, and how they do it in Battersea is in this manner; the officials not only obtain their information as to what takes place at the meetings, and also what is the feeling of the men, from these chicken hearted men, but they make up tales and tell them to their fellows, to set them amongst the men with the view of getting the men at loggerheads with one another. Now I hope my Battersea friends and brothers will not be let into a trap, but treat all these tales with contempt, and the men that carry them about also. If any man wants information respecting the movement that is going at the present time, let him attend the meetings, and learn in a proper manner; or if he cannot attend the meetings, ask any of the committeemen in the district, I am sure they will give every information to those that ask it in. a straightforward manner. I am very pleased to learn that the men who carry the tales have been watched, and most of them are now known. I also hear that these lackeys meet at the locomotive office occasionally on a Sunday mornings - that is, those that are not on duty. I suppose it is all these meetings they get their instructions, and are told what turn there well be each day in the week, and arrange as to how much time they will be able to make; to say the least of such things, they are a disgrace. I say, treat every man alike, and have no favourites. Men who are always running to their foreman with every little tale they hear or make up I should discharge, and so get a straightforward body of men around me, then things would no doubt be much more comfortable.

I also hear that the officials in the district have been attacking the men individually, taking them by the arm up to the frame whereto two letters, which appear to be a thorn in the official's sides, are hing, and asking the men if they are not ashamed of them, and what complaint have they to make? In some instances, I hear it is two officials on to one man. If these officials had treated these letters with indifference and not taken notice of any of the men, one could could have imagined that the officials were not so black as they are painted, but by showing themselves off in the manner they have done of late only tends, to give proof to the many rumours that are flying about. In fact, I think if I were placed in this position, it would not have taken one half of what they have had to put up with to tempt me to take my departure far, far away. No doubt some will think "Rambler" is rather severe on the Battersea officials. Well, it is all their own fault. I certainly have been silent long enough, and now that I have been awakened I am going to let my readers known it.

It has been said by a certain well know writer on locomotive engines that there is no royal road to the lever and regulator. One would imagine by this that every engineman had to work his way up honestly, but this is not so. By what I can learn - and my information comes from a very reliable source - one of the principal grievance at Battersea is that some men have not worked their way up as they should do, but have gone up with leaps and bounds, while others are kept at a standstill. My advice to those that have found their way to the regulator and lever so quickly, is to take care they do not fall even quicker than they ran up, and to bear in mind that foreman are not infallible, neither do they reign for ever.  And to you men at Battersea that have got a grievance and are fighting to have remedied, and to those that have really got no grievance, but are willing to assist those that have, my advice to you is to stand your ground as men; show the world you are worthy the ground upon which you stand, and though you may have some rather hot work, bear in mind that which is not worth fighting for is barely worth having, and a man that will not stand out for his own rights, or join his fellow workmen in fighting for that which is just, is only an encumberer of the ground, and a standing block in the way of progress. In fact "Rambler" says they are men only for one reason, and that is simply because they are not women. And now, ye honourable men of Battersea, my closing words this week to you are. Stand shoulder to shoulder, and not only will you be able to say that you have "right" on your side, but you have "might" also.




A special meeting of the enginemen and firemen was held on Wednesday evening, the 28th inst., at the Duke of Cornwall. An engineman was voted to the chair, and in opening the meeting remarked that he supposed they all knew why the meeting had been called. It was to take into consideration the letters which were posted up in a glass frame in the shed. He, for one, was rather pleased they had been posted up, so that every one could read them for themselves, and learn them off  by heart; it would do them good.

The minutes having been read, the secretary was then called upon to read a copy of the letter he had written to the locomotive superintendent on the 13th inst., and the reply he had received thereto. The reply brought forth some very strong comments.

The letter written to the locomotive superintendent on the 13th inst. was then closely compared with the minutes of the meeting held on Sunday, July 4th, and after a very instructive discussion the following resolution was unanimously adopted;-

"That this meeting, having compared a copy of the letter addressed by the secretary to the locomotive superintendent on the 13th inst. with the minutes of the meeting held on Sunday, July 4th, are perfectly satisfied that the secretary has strictly carried out the instruction given him at that meeting, and we fall to see what portion of the letter is not written in a proper and courteous manner."

After this resolution was passed one sentence of the letter addressed to the locomotive superintendent was pointed out as being rather severe on that gentleman. this caused a lengthy discussion, and resulted in the secretary being instructed to give an explanation of this sentence, as the enginemen and firemen had no intention of attaching any blame to the locomotive superintendent for the state the district was in at the present time. Instructions were then given for a letter to be written to the locomotive superintendent, embodying the resolution that had been previously adopted, and asking him to grant what was asked in the letter of the 13th inst.

A letter was then read which had been sent to a driver, stating he was to be fined 35s. for allowing one of his eccentric rods to break, owing to, as the letter stated, the strap singeing for want of oil. this caused a very heated discussion. Several enginemen were present who had examined the strap within a short time after the rod had broken. All of them stated that strap was perfectly cold and worked beautifully, and no blame ought to be attached to the driver, as the driver was not present. The case was allowed to stand over. The meeting was then informed that a letter had been received from the secretary to the enginemen and firemen of the New Cross district inviting the Battersea enginemen and firemen to take part in the annual excursion. This was readily compiled with, and a committee of three was elected to assist the secretary in making the arrangements with the other two district committees. The usual votes of thanks brought a very useful meeting to a close.




This department being the one which provides the motion on railways, and the mainspring of the great railway system, to which other departments are but subsidiaries, it may be considered as the most important section of the whole. It is a department, too, the maintenance of which absorbs a much larger outlay than that of any other. A glance at the extensive works of any of our large companies, where locomotives are built and repaired, together with an estimate of the cost of that most valuable piece of machinery the locomotive engine, will the sufficient to convince any one of that fact. It must also be remembered that those engines are a continual source of expenditure. As long as steam is required, coal is burning. In order to keep the parts in order oil, tallow, etc., is required to be freely used; and in many other  ways is the locomotive engine an expensive consumer. It is but policy on the part of railway companies to place such valuable property under the care of experienced and practical workmen, as to do otherwise would be to risk their being neglected and damaged, and incur an expenditure in repairs that would be ruinous. There are, however, other reasons why the post of the engine driver should be filled by competent and steady men, and one is owing to the responsibility which rests upon them as to the safety of the train and its freight. A mistake on the part of a driver in distinguishing the signals, in miscalculating his speed, or the slightest degree of carelessness on his part, might result in the most serious consequences to himself and others. It would indeed be difficult to over estimate the important and responsible position of the engine driver. Considering this, then, it will at once be conceded that they are a body of men who should be exceedingly well remunerated for their services, They certainly are in receipt of better wages than any other grade of service, but that they are overpaid none, we should think, will venture to suggest. It is also a question of doubt as to whether their rate of pay as drivers is sufficient to recoup them for the many years they served as firemen at what may be termed miserable pittances. The condition of firmer on most lines is truly wretched, and for the greater part of the time they serve as such their wages are of a very low standard while their work is of a laborious nature. Were is not for the prospect of ultimately becoming drivers it would be difficult to keep up a sufficient staff of firemen to meet requirements; and it appears very much as though the railway companies took advantage of this prospect of promotion which enables them to keep up their staff of firemen at low wages. It may also be mentioned that although the engine driver in. the highest class may be in receipt of a tolerably fair wage, he does not become entitled to it immediately on his promotion from the position of a fireman, but must gradually work his way up the scale, commencing at a figure not much higher than that of a first class fireman. Apart from the question of wages, there are many other improvements needed in the position of locomotive men. With them, as with all other grades, their hours of duty are not satisfactory. It will be found that those men, notwithstanding the grave responsibility attached to their calling, the danger they daily encounter, being invariably in the forefront of any accident that may occur, are subjects in many cases to a system of overwork, and that in the hours by which their pay is regulated they are far below the ordinary mechanic or labourer whose time is calculated at the rate of nine hours per day, with overtime, when worked, at an increased rate. Much, however, has from time to time been done by the men of this department to improve their position, and in some cases a no inconsiderable amount of success has been achieved. There is, nevertheless, much more yet to be accomplished, a fact which they all seem to be pretty well conversant with, if the complaints which are continually being made by men from various quarters, can be taken for aught. They must, however, have learnt by this time that whatever improvements they may be desirous of obtaining can only be secured by a unity of action. The lessons of their past movements must have taught them so. Where they have not been united they have been simply met with indifference. Where they have exhibited a slight degree of unity they have fared a proportionate degree better, but they have have never yet yet, on any line, succeeded to the extent they desired, simply because that thorough unity which is essential to success has never been displayed. Efforts have, at times, been made in which they have formed a strong organisation amongst themselves; but there, too, have they failed. Now only failed, for we can call to remembrance efforts made in that manner which have been ruinous to them. Amongst such instance none better that the great strike of North Eastern men in 1867, where the places of the strikers were filled for the most part by men of other grades of the service who had not been reckoned with in time to save a calamity. The moral to be drawn from such occurrences as these is, that not only is unity required amongst the particular class who may feel they have a grievance to remedy, but that the whole of the grades, especially those concerned in the manipulation of the traffic, must combine in one solid organisation where a mutual protection exists. Effort in any other direction than this is a pure waste of resources, and in the face of past events is absolute perversity for which there can be no excuse. Men who blind themselves to the teaching which history presents are unworthy of sympathy; they are unreasonable, and bigots. Has not, as we have shown, the history of all past movements among locomotive men proved to them that their weakness lay in the want of unity with other grades with whom they came in contact daily? Has it not been clearly shown that by a skilful generalship on the part of the officials - by utilising guards, shunters, signalmen, porters, and others, and rearranging their various duties - they can defeat the strongest combination of any single grade that may present itself, not even excepting the locomotive men? The connection that exists between the driver and guard, between the guard and the shunter, between the shunter and the porter , between the porter and platelayer, and so on, is such that a knowledge, although it my not be efficient, of each other's duties is possessed to such an extent that, with the aid of inspectors, foremen, and other officials, it could - as it has previously been - by, in case of a crisis, turned to account against any single section of the men. No grade should be deceive in this matter, but they ought all to be able to see that a general unity of the whole body is essential if they wish to advance their interests.

We have dedicated this article more particularly to locomotive men, but it nevertheless can be applied to every grade of the railway service.



The enginemen and firemen employed at Battersea by the London and Brighton Railway company had their annual outing on Friday last at Horsham. They travelled from London by an early train, and proceeded to the Hurst Arms, which was made the rendezvous for the day. Having partaken of refreshments, they indulged in cricket, and other ams. Some of the party - there being about 45 visited prominent spots in the neighbourhood. Dinner was provided during the afternoon. The pleasant gathering was presided over by Mr. W. Elliss, who also had the arrangements in hand, his vis-a-vis being Mr. McKew, Jun. Amongst  those who supported these gentlemen were Messts. Bowers, J. Smith, W. Cooper, Steele, Goldspring, and Taylor. After dinner another move was made for the outside, while from six o'clock till the time for departure singing and instrumental music were indulged in.




Te usual monthly meeting was held at the club house on Monday night last. The attendance of members was small, the absentees nearly the whole of the officers. The usual business was transacted. A member was granted two weeks' donation allowance. Several other claims were settled, and by resolution of the branch the matter referring to the reduction of a fireman to a cleaner (which the members consider harsh treatment) was referred to the general office. A statement was made by a member who is making praiseworthy efforts to form a No.2 branch at Brighton. It caused a deal of discussion, and a resolution was moved that the matter be left over until next meeting, when it is hoped all members will make an effort to attend. Four new members were accepted.



On Monday last the remains of H. Kemp, better known as "Sydenham," formerly a fireman of the L.B. and S.C.R. Co., and late of the District Ry. Co., was interred at Lewisham Cemetery. The deceased was 29 years old, and was employed under the L. and B. considerable number of years, and was much respected by all classes, but latterly he was induces to transfer his service to that of the District Railway, when that company took part in working over the East London Railway Co.'s line, through their new extension, under the impression that he would be promoted as driver in a very short space of time. Unfortunately, however, the poor fellow succumbed to consumption previous to reaching his goal of his ambition.

The funeral cortege left West Brompton, where the deceased lately resided, and arrived at Lewisham Cemetery shortly before four o'clock, when about thirty enginemen and firemen of the New Cross, L.B. and S.C., and a few enginemen and firemen of the District Railway took part in the proceedings. The coffin was carried to the graveside from the church by enginemen and firemen of the L. and B. and District Railway Companies. After reading the burial service, the officiating clergyman asked those assembled to join him in singing a hymn, with he stated was sung over his mother, who was buried in the same grave ten years ago. The hymn was entitled "Who will be the next to follow Jesus?" and after a few remarks the company dispersed homewards.

Deceased was an old member of the New Cross Branch of the A.S.R.S previous to the amalgamation of that branch and the S.E. Branch. He unfortunately, through sickness, was unable to pay the contributions, and consequently ran out of benefit. He, however, rejoined the Society last March, but unfortunately has not been a member long enough to entitle his children to participate in the benefits of the Orphan Fund. He leaves a wife and three young children, the eldest only about five years old and the youngest ten months. The widow, we understand, is a cripple in one hand and has very little use in the other; caused by either paralysis or rheumatics.

A subscription has been opened to assist her and orphans at the New Cross and S.E. Branch. Mr. Spencer, whose address is below, will be pleased to acknowledge receipt of any donation on their behalf through the Railway Review. This is evident a deserving case, and if those who are charitably disposed will forward their mite, no matter how small ("Many can help one, when one cannot help many"), to C.H.W. Spencer, Locomotive Department, New Cross, L.B.and S.C. London, S.E., it will be thankfully received. 




Mr. C.W.H. Spencer writes:-  "In response to my appeal on behalf of the widow and children of the above I beg respectfully to acknowledge receipt with thanks of the following sums, which I have transferred to the secretary of the S.E. and New Cross branch A.S.R.S., of which the deceased was a member, but, unfortunately for his widow and children, was not entitled to the benefit to the Orphan Fund. To add to the subscription list opened for their benefit:- C.W.H.S., 2s. 1d.; F.W., L.B. and S.C. fireman Battersea, 2s.; G.B. L.B. and S.C. guard 1s.; M.H., 2s.; M.H., 2s.; W.R., L.B. and S.C. driver, 1s. I am exceedingly sorry that my appeal on their behalf has not met with a more generous response from members especially of the A.S.R.S. The deceased was one who tried to help himself and family by being a member, and therefore deserved in this case sympathy for those he left behind."




Mr. C.W.H. Spencer begs respectfully to acknowledge the receipt of postal orders for 1s., from J.P. Clapham Junction, and Taunton, in response to his Appel on behalf of the widow and children of the above, which has been transmitted to Mrs. Kemp. The total amount received from the readers of the Railway Review has been added to the subscription list opened at the New Cross and S.E. Branch of the A.S.R.S., of which the deceased was a member. Mrs. Kemp desires him to convey to those that have kindly contributed, her sincere and heartfelt thanks on behalf of herself and children. In acknowledging receipt of the previous amount, there was an error. C.W.H.S.'s contribution was stated as 2s.1d., and should read 2.s 6d.




The usual monthly meeting was held at the club house on Monday night last. The attendance of members was small, the absenteed including nearly the whole of the officers. The usual business was transacted. A member was granted two weeks' donations allowance. Several other claims were settled, and by resolution of the branch referring to the reduction of a fireman to a cleaner (which the members consider harsh treatment) was referred to the general office. A statement was made by a member who is making praiseworthy efforts to form a No.2 branch at Brighton. It caused a deal of discussion, and a resolution was moved that the matter be left over until next meeting, when it is hoped all members will make an effort to attend. Four new members were accepted.




Battersea railway is the widest railway bridge in the world. I has four spans 175 feet in the clear, and two land spans 65 feet and 70 feet. It is 132 feet wide and 900 long. There are 10 separate means of access from it to Victoria Station




The usual monthly meeting was held on Monday last, at the New England Inn, with a very fair attendance, owing no doubt to the important business on hand, viz., the opening of a No.2 Branch here. Correspondence, claims, and other business was settled. The advisability of opening a No.2 Branch was considered, and a general discussion ensued. A vote was taken, resulting in favour of a second Branch. The secretary was instructed to make the necessary arrangements to open a No.2 Branch on the first Monday in the new year. The best week night meeting known to have been held was brought to a close at eleven p.m. Two new members were accepted.




A "Saturday night late train" from Victoria to Brighton will be run as an experiment for three months, commencing on January 1st. To make the train popular, it will consist of a Pullman car and ordinary first, second, and third class carriages as well. It is timed to do the journey in one hour and ten minutes, leaving Victoria at 11.55 and arriving at Brighton a 1.5 a.m. This will make it one of the fastest trains of the company's popular service. 

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