The formation of

General Railway Workers' Union 

Railway accident on the 


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

Norwood Junction 1st January 1889 POSTED 

SEE SUB PAGE  DATED 31st December 1888

Drivers Turnbull and Butterfield depots unknown



The facts brought out at the inquiry into the causes of the Norwood Junction collision have given Major General Hutchinson an opportunity of directing public attention to the working of long hours on the Brighton line. Fifteen hours, it seems, is worked by Driver Turnbull one day every three weeks. That is not often, some would say, but the Inspector thinks different, and so do we, for it should be noted that though it may fall to the lot of one particular driver to work fifteen hours a dat once in three weeks, some other driver is working that shift on the remaining days, the whole link of them getting in their turn. It is, we venture to say, the system that is at fault, and that a re-arrangement of that particular day's work is required.

We are proud to find that Major General Hutchinson declines to place an  value on the intervals of rests at station which the companies have tried to force on the notice of the public as a set off against the long days worked. We presume the Major General will be too well acquainted by this railway work to believe that those rest, or that even if they were they would compensate for a long days' work.

Major General Hutchinson has, by declarations, shown himself a thorough advocate of short hours, for, not content with condemning the fifteen hours' spell, he denounces even the thirteen hours, and says that sixty five hours per week worked in six days is too long, whilst to the working of that number in five days he offers the strongest objection. We wonder how long the companies will withstand all the criticising they are now receiving on the question of hours. The press, the public, and the Board of Trade are all on their track. Surely they will eventually yield, and abolish the abominable practice of overwork which is being so universally condemned, and which they themselves cannot defend.


Tunbridge Wells new loco shed was opened in 1889 with a twin gable style slate roof was constructed on arches and located on the north side of Tunbridge Wells station.




The opening of a new branch of the A.S.R.S. took place at Tunbridge Wells, on Friday last; the chair was occupied by an engine driver, and the vice chair by a passenger guard. The chairman apologised for the absence of the General Secretary, who was detained by pressure of business in London; he had arranged for the Executive-man of No.13 District to attend in his place.

The E.C. representative then addressed the meeting, and said it gave him the greatest pleasure to fill the office. He was pleased see so many present, because it was only by paying close attention to the extensive work done by the society, that members and those who were outside could gain knowledge necessary to make them good society men. He swept on the benefits derived by membership, and pointed out how impossible it would be for any person to obtain satisfaction from railway companied if they had two fight them singlehanded. Ir was their duty, not only to themselves, but their fellow workmen and their wives and children, that they should become members of the society. They had adopted a policy which every day was gaining greater support throughout the country, and recommending itself more strongly to their fellow mates, proof of which was found in the increased membership, and the opening of new branches in places which, a few years ago membership was a secret. He had not forgotten when collection for the nine hours' movement. It was reported an official at Tunbridge stated he would not have a member of the society on the premises, if he knew it, but they might look at the change; he was there that night to present that official with a branch, and it gave hime the greatest pleasure to think they had adopted such a course, and he was under the impression the larger branch became, the greater would they be respected. he was pleased to see they would open the branch with 24 members, and some additional promises. A good member of the speaker's branch stated he should like to be transferred next meeting night to the new branch. The reply given was that "though a good member I shall be glad to get rid of you; at present you are only a sleeping member, and if you transfer you will, I know, become an active one." The member alluded to had five miles to walk that night. He had the greatest pleasure in presenting the dispensation and declaring the branch open.

All the necessary officers were then elected, and instructed in their several duties. The meeting nights will be the second Friday in each month. The proceedings terminated with a very hearty vote of thanks to the E.C. representative for his services.



extracted and adapted 

The monthly meeting was held on 20th inst., with an average attendance.The secretary read correspondence from General Office, Tunbridge Wells, etc., and spoke respecting members transferred to that branch.




Mr. T. Watson, Organising Secretary A.S.R.S., writes:- The revival that set in in the latter part of the old year has continued. On Friday, 18th ins., a meeting was held at Croydon, and a branch duly opened with 21 members; several who had promised to join were not able to attend, but will be admitted at the next meeting. This place is a large centre for railway men, principally engaged in the traffic departments, and the officers who were elected, firmly believe the branch will soon be a large one .





On Friday evening last the members of the Portsmouth Branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants met in the Golden Fleece Hotel, Landport, the occasion being the annual dinner. The Mayor (George Ellis, Esq.), who came late from another dinner, presided, and there were also present: Messrs. J. H. Corke, T.C., W. P. Winter, T.C., Sam P. Knight, Charles Groom, T. Watson organising secretary of the society, Hawkins (Locomotive superintendent), H. S. Maclauchlan, R.G. Harris (branch secretary), J. Halsted (branch chairman), J. Caldwell (branch treasurer), Cockerell, etc.

Mr. Sam. P. Knight, as an old railway servant, who had been through nearly all grades, gave "Prosperity to the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants."

Mr. T. Watson, organising secretary, replied, and stated that there had never been a more prosperous year for the society throughout the kingdom, and the railway servants of Ireland would soon be as bound with them in sympathy were Scotland and Wales. (Applause.)

Their association suffered the loss of 5,000 members in 1880, when they had to increase the contributions and reduce the benefits, but they had now 18,000 members, and they had a balance of £70,000 at the banker's. (Applause.) Having alluded at some length to the benefits of the society, he said the spirit they wished to create was an amicable one between all branches of the service, and in this they were largely successful.

Mr. Hawkins (locomotive superintendent London, Brighton, and South Coast), said they were in hopes of having better accommodation here, and thought that after that was secured the men would be brought more together.

Mr. R. G. Harris gave the " Healths of the Mayor and Corporation," to which his Worship replied. He alluded to the great kindness with which he had always been met by the railway servants. When he became mayor he had resolved to endeavour as far as he could to mix with every interest in the borough, and he heartily approved of the objects of their society. He then referred at length to local affairs, and said he considered the station a disgrace to Portsmouth, and it was very unpleasant on a Monday morning to come into the railway station when the fish was there. (Laughter.)

The healths of the president and officers having been duly honoured, other toasts followed. Songs were given at intervals by Messts. Reypert, Latter, Trowell, Hestor, Wright, Methvin, Lambert, Lane, Lee, and others.


The annual dinner of the South-Eastern and New Cross branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants was held at the Railway Tavern, New Cross, on Friday evening last, when about sixty members and a few friends sit down to an excellent repast. After the

removal of the cloth, a letter was read from Mr. Harford, the general secretary, explaining the cause of his absence; he having had to go to a distant part of the country, to inquire into the cause of an accident, with a view to legal proceedings on behalf of the widow and family of a deceased member. Mr. W. Foreman being present, he was voted to the chair, and was supported by Mr. T. Watson, general treasurer of the society, Mr. Graham and Mr. Copperthwaite, chairman and secretary, respectively, of the branch, Mr. Murrell (the host) and others. Several toasts were honoured during the evening, and songs were sung by Messrs. H. Skinner, Mulcox, Povey, Westlake, Elliss, of Battersea, occupied the chair. H. Smith, A. Blackman, W. Head, W. Thompson, W. Jenner, J. Gatling, J. Etherington, E. Chapman, the Chairman his old " German Clock" song) and others. The toast of " The South-Eastern and New Cross Branch " having been given and received with enthusiasm, Mr. Copperthwaite responded, and referred briefly to the growth of the branch. Mr. Watson proposed " Success to the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants," and in the course of his remarks contrasted the position of railwaymen prior to the formation of the society, and now. He also referred to its growth and sound financial position. The toast having been heartily received.

The Chairman responded. He felt proud responded. He felt proud in having the privilege for responding to the toast, as he was proud of the society, and he trusted they all were. A society which in one year distributed over £2,000 among 731 out of work and suspended members, which spent over £1,000 in securing justice and compensation for its members and their relatives, which had paid nearly £8,000 in one year to members discharged for standing up for their rights, which distributed over £1,000 a year superannuation, and which, at the present time, was supporting by weekly allowances between 500 and 600 children of deceased members, was a society well worth feeling proud of. (Cheers.) There was no restriction placed upon the society in its work on behalf of railwaymen, and whatever was best calculated to improve their condition, it was ever ready and able to advocate. It was, he was pleased to say, becoming immensely popular, and was spreading itself rapidly over all parts of the kingdom. New branches and members were being added every week, and he firmly believed that the time was coming, much quicker than many imagined, when the railwaymen of the country would be formed into a strong bond of brotherhood. Their numbers now could not be much below 18,000, but that number would soon be outstripped. (Cheers.) The one thing to make the society prosper was for its members to take an interest in its work. If every member felt, as he did, proud of the society, they would work for it, and when non-members saw them so enthusiastic over it they would become convinced that it was of some good and worth joining. (Cheers.)

The toast of "The Host" Mr. Murrell), who, it was announced, had just subscribed a guinea to the Orphan Fund, was received with musical honours, to which he briefly replied. The chairman was similarly honoured, and he having to leave before the company broke up, Mr. Graham presided during the remainder of the evening, which was spent in an enjoyable manner.


On Friday evening last the members of the Battersea Branch and a number of friends met in their club room, the Mason's Arms, for the purpose of bidding farewell to Bro. C. Delworth, who is leaving for America. Among those present were representatives of Birmingham, Bow,

Altrincham, King's Cross, Paddington, West Brompton, Clapham Junction, and Nine Elms branches. Mr. William Elliss, of Battersea, occupied the chair. The following ladies and gentlemen contributed to the harmony of the evening:—Mrs. Nash, Mrs. Longridge; Messrs. Kitchingman, Elliss, Braint, Durtnall, Howard, Delworth, Goddard, Winch, Lawther, Duval, Bowles, Kirk, and Clarke. During the evening Mr. Elliss made a few remarks as to the object of the meeting, expressing the regret of Battersea branch at losing the services of so earnest a worker in the cause of the A.S.R.S Bro. Delworth returned thanks to those present and absent for the help that had been rendered him. votes of thanks to the visitors for their attendance were passed, Mr Mady, of King's Cross, responding. The same also to the ladies and the chairman, brought the evening to a pleasant termination.




In the Queen's Bench Division of the High Courts of Justice, the case of Ward versus Richardson came on for hearing on Friday last, before Mr. Justice Grantham and a jury. Mr Mattinson was for the plaintiff, and Mr. C.C. Macrae and Mr. R.K. Lopes represented the defendant. This was an action for slander, and the damages were laid at £1,200.

Mr. Mattinson, in opening the case, said that although it was not what might be called a serious one, it was serious to the plaintiff as affecting his character - an important matter to a man in his condition  - and it would be for the jury to say, if they were satisfied that he had made out his case, to what damages he was entitled. The plaintiff was for many years employed by the L.B.&S.C.Ry Co. as a fireman, and the defendant, Mr. Richardson, was one of his superior officers at the time he left the service. Before that there had been several disputes between the plaintiff and another, with whom he had on once occasion fought, and the defendant had said when he left that he would do him all the harm he could. In March 1888, the plaintiff applied for employment to Mr. Perritt, the refreshment contractor at Victoria station, who wanted a. man to look after the stationary engine, and he was to be employed at a salary of 22s. a week; but on the 29th of that month he was told that he could not be employed as his character was not satisfactory, and it could not have been that he was incompetent or he would not have been so many years in the service of the company.

Mr. Perritt, refreshment contractor, Victoria station, stated that at the time mentioned he was in want of a man to take charge of an engine and boiler in connection with his electric light, and accordingly advertised for such a man. The plaintiff came to him about 27th of March, when witness told him that he should employ him subject to his character being satisfactory. He applied to either Mr. Stroudley or Mr. Richardson. He afterwards saw Mr. Richardson at Victoria station, when the latter told him that plaintiff had been discharged in consequence of his having fought with another driver at the Crystal Palace, and such character, witness considered, unsatisfactory. Replying to counsel, witness could not say if that was all that was said; it was so long ago. Replying to the Judge, witness said he did not remember asking as to plaintiffs' capacity. Replying to Mr. Mattinson, witness could not remember if this was shortly after he knew that action had been brought by Ward, and he did not remember whether anything was said as to Ward's capacity. He told Ward that his character was not satisfactory, but he did not remember saying that he was no engineman.

Frederick Ward, the plaintiff, stated that he was employed for many years by the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company to assist in the work of the locomotive department. On 27th of March last, after he left the company's service, he was engaged by Mr. Perritt, and on the 29th he went to take on his duties, when that gentleman spoke to him about his character, with the result that he was not taken on. On explanation, plaintiff first addressed a letter to Mr. Stroudley, and made an application to Mr. Richardson, but with no satisfactory result. The latter came to plaintiff's home on April 7th, and witness saw Mr. Richardson in his office on the 8th, when he said there had been some mistake between his name and one Bayliss; when witness replied that there could not have been such mistake, as Bayliss had only worked a short time as a cleaner, and he told Mr. Richardson what he had said as to witness being no engineman. Replying to counsel, witness said that when Mr. Richardson was afterwards spoken to, he said he could not have used the words imputed to him, as witness was as good a man as ever he had. he taxed the defendant with having given him a bad character, and asked to have the character given in writing, but this the defendant declined to do. It was on March 29th that he was told that he was no engineman, but Mr. Perritt would not say who had made that statement. Letters were here handed to the Judge, who, having pursuedthem, said he could find no word about the plaintiff being no engineman, and witness said he only know that Mr. Richardson gave him a bad character, and said he was no engineman. Pressed further by counsel as to the words used, witness said he did not understand the questions put to him, and he did not know that he complained of having a bad character, when counsel commented strongly on his not keeping to the point. Witness, continuing, said that when asked on the 6th or 9th if he seen Mr. Perritt he said "No." He was not told that it was not the rule to give written characters, except in the case of men going abroad. He would not go to Mr. Perritt again until he got a written character. Counsel hereupon said he was unable to carry the case any further, and the Judge briefly summed up. Then by the direction of his lordship a juror was withdrawn, and so the matter ended 


extracted from the R.C.T.S. book of L.B.S.C.R. Locomotive


The escape of engine No.133 Picardy on the evening of 11th February, 1889, when it was being stabled until the morning on Newhaven shed after having worked in with a train of horse boxes. The shed doors were partly closed and not noticing this in the darkness driver Benson drove through them and in the subsequent confusion crashed into a wagon of loaded with ashes. Apart from odd scratches and dents, and a lost chimney damage was so slight that hurried repairs permitted the return working to be taken with little delay. Nevertheless driver Benson was fined £2. 2s. 0d. and a shed labourer dismissed for moving the shed doors without permission and not placing a red light on the wagon which he was loading. 

Life could be hard on the Brighton!




We understand that the efforts which are being made to form a branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants at Eastbourne are meeting with success, and that a branch is being established there on Tuesday next. It is strange that such an important railway centre as it is should have been so long without a branch of the society to look after the interests of the men employed there. We are glad, however, to find them waking up at last, - indeed, there is a general wakening on the Brighton line.  




A large meeting of railwaymen was held on Tuesday night at the Gildridge Hotel, Eastbourne. The attention was principally composed of men belonging the passenger department, nearly all the loco men being on duty. The proceedings were very enthusiastic, and, at the conclusion of an address by Mr. T. Watson, the Organising Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, a branch of the society was duly opened with ten men and twelve transfer members, and more promised for the next meeting, which will be held on the evening of the 26th February at the same place.  


8TH MARCH 1889


A well attended meeting of the L. B. & S. C. R. employees was held the Railway Tavern, New Cross, on Sunday evening, March 3rd, to discuss certain grievances in connection with the insurance fund. A chairman  and secretary having been elected, a driver gave evidence of having received an injury to his leg, and having been ordered to attend the company's doctor at London Bridge, he was told to resume duty, but the doctor of his benefit society said he was not fit, and acting up to his own doctor's instructions, lost two weeks insurance money. A fireman also gave evidence of having been laid up thirteen weeks, and then being certified by the company's doctor as able to resume duty. He started according to instructions, but was able to stop a few days only. He then went on the fund again, and was off duty six weeks, but only received two weeks money, the doctor certifying him as being to resume in a fortnight. Unfortunately several members who had grievances to bring forward were on duty. One, a cleaner who was certified as able to work, started, but could only stop on a few hours, when he had to go home and again declare on the fund, but only received part of the money he was entitled to. 

Clause 9 and 10 of the insurance fund reeds as follows:-

Clause 9. Medical certificates will, in all cases be necessary to entitle the insured to the benefits of the insurance. These certificates, as a general rule, should be given by the company's local medical officers, but medical certificates will be accepted from the medical officers to any hospital or well known benefit society, subject to the right of the company at any time to require the approval of such certificates by either the company's local or principal medical officers, but not for other certificate.

Clause 10. If the insured wishes to withdraw from this insurance, he may do so by giving a month's notice in writing and paying up his premiums to the end of the month; in which case he forfeits all claim to the benefit of this insurance, and reverts to his legal position in respect of any injury sustained by him after such withdrawal, just as if he had never effected this insurance. The directors have no objection to the men insured electing a committee of their own number, who may confer with the heads of the departments, and, if necessary, with the board in regard to any doubtful cases which may arise, or generally as to the working of the scheme of insurance.

It was then decided to elect a committee of members of each department, which was done with the exception of the permanent way, no members of that department being present.

It was resolved that Battersea and Brighton be communicated with, and the above mentioned cases Brough under their notice, requesting their co-operating in protecting their rights, and also that the line be divided into districts, with a committee in each to raise a fund to take any action that may be necessary.

The meeting then adjourned to see what action Battersea and Brighton would take. Another meeting will be held at an early date at the same place. 

Railway accident on the 


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

Redhill Junction 19th March 1889 

no mention of Enginemen 



As a Brighton company's express was passing through Redhill station on Tuesday, a carriage examiner named Tyler, who was travelling on a Pullman car, put his head out from the landing, for the purpose of making an examination of the axle box, which gave evidences of heating, when his head was caught by one of the columns supporting the station roof. He received such a dreadful injuries that he died soon afterwards at the Cottage Hospital.

Railway Review 22nd March 1889 


22ND MARCH 1889


This branch held its first ordinary meeting on Friday last, with a capital attendance, all members off duty being present, and taking great interest in the business. The branch promises to be a strong one. six more members were proposed, and more have promised for next meeting. The advisability of forming a Benevolent Fund was discussed, and held over till next meeting, as also was the E.C.'s report. Altogether a most enjoyable evening was spent. 


12TH APRIL 1889


The meeting was held last Friday, with a good attendance, and all contributions, with two or three exceptions, paid up. Four more members were accepted, making 23 since the opening of the branch, and more have been promised for next meeting. The starting of a Benevolent Fund was discussed at some length, and the secretary instructed to get the opinion of all members that are likely to be unable to attend next meeting, which will be a month from last, owing to date of next being Good Friday.  


In April 1889, the A.S.L.E.& F. General Secretary, Thomas G. Sunter became the first General Secretary to visit the Battersea & Longhedge branch of A.S.L.E. & F., which was the only branch that existed on the L.B.S.C.R. / L.D. & C.R. / L. & S.W.R. (Southern Railway / Region).

*Battersea & Longhedge 1887 (Brighton, South Eastern & South Western)


extracted from RTCS book on locomotives of the LBSCR


The L.B.S.C.R. company was extremely fortunate on the 14th April, 1889, when no. 139 Lombardy ran amok from New Cross to South Croydon following a collision with engine No. 224 Crowhurst. The latter was heading the 9.20 a.m. London Bridge-Victoria into New Cross station, when Lombardy was seen passing from the down main line, across the local line to the goods sidings. Seeing collision could not be averted, the crew jumped clear after reversing the engine, which somehow remained on the track despite the severity of the blow dealt by Crowhurst, and ran on its own down the main line. By a combination of skill and luck the 8 ½ miles to south Croydon were covered without mishap, where signal man Philpott partly opened a pair of facing points and brought Lombardy to a stand on the ballast. At the subsequent inquiry no blame was placed on the men concerned for on inspection the signalling equipment was found to have suffered at the hands of a local scrap merchant who had removed wiring, chains and other parts vital to its efficient working.


17TH MAY 1889


The monthly meeting was held on 12th inst., with a good attendance. Three  new menbers were accepted. Correspondence from General Office and several branches was approved. The case of an engine driver, who had been discharges, was again considered, and the secretary read a letter received from the locomotive superintendent on the subject, and also stated that the reply forwarded had not been acknowledged. The members considered sufficient time had elapse, and a resolution was unanimously carried, instructing the secretary to ask for a reply. The remainder of the evening was occupied by the adjourned discussion, re postponement of tea and concert, and the charges made against the committee and secretary. Several friends from No.2 attended, and stoutly denied the charges and deprecated the action of the member who made them. Ultimately, the discussion was again adjourned, and every member of both branched is requested to attend.


The London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway was fifty years old 12th inst. The first bit of the line opened was a fragment of the South Coast portion of the system, that between Brighton and Shoreham. The first train ran on Monday 11th, 1840, and actual business was begun the following day. There was a big celebration on the starting of the first train, a military band playing it out of the station. A thousand people were dead headed for the first day, and on the second when the free list was cut off once and for all, no less than 1,750 people took the trip to Shoreham.


24TH MAY 1889


The fortnightly meeting was held on Friday last, with a moderate attendance, many members being on duty. It was, however, encouraging to find that nearly all who could attend were there. The progress the branch has made since opening in February has fully realised expectations, 35 new members having joined, embracing nearly all grades, including six at this meeting. The silver medallion promised to the brother who brings in most new members, looks at present like being a run away victory for one. There is, however, time and room for others to compete with him, and it is hoped the contest will be a close one.



A somewhat analogous case occurred, near about the same time as the above accident, at croydon, where a goods train, which had been left standing on an incline secured by the van brake, ran back to a junction where t collied with another train which was crossing. There seems to be no reason to doubt that the brake was properly put on, but seeing that any person could have access to the van, dependence on it can hardly to considered to have been sufficient for the purpose.


7TH JUNE 1889





Below are extracts from the Return of Servants of Railway Companies of the United Kingdom who during the months of September 1887, and March 1888, for more than twelve hours at time, or who, after being on duty more than twelve hours, were allowed to resume work with less than less eight hours rest, as moved by Earl de la Warr, in the House of Lords. 

Between September 1887 to March 1888

Number of Engine drivers and firemen employed in September 1887 - 668


Number of servants on duty more than

twelve hours at a time = 638 (95.52%)

Number of servants so resuming duty

17 (19.31%)

Number of instances of such duty exceeding twelve hours by 

1 hours 1327

2 hours 1553

3 hours 1429

4 hours 1010

5 hours 813

6 hours upwards 421

Number of cases where enginemen, after being on duty more than 12 hours, resumed duty with less than one 8 hour's rest.

Number of instances of duty having been so resumed after

1 hour's 

2 hour's 1

3 hour's 15

4 hour's 24

5 hour's 84

6 hour's 237

7 hour's 587

Number of Engine drivers and firemen employed in March 1888 - 677

MARCH 1888

Number of servants on duty more than

twelve hours at a time = 632 (93.35%)

Number of servants so resuming duty

38 (45.78%)

Number of instances of such duty exceeding twelve hours by 

1 hours 1347

2 hours 1527

3 hours 1375

4 hours 841

5 hours 499

6 hours upwards 189

Number of cases where enginemen, after being on duty more than 12 hours, resumed duty with less than one 8 hour's rest.

Number of instances of duty having been so resumed after

1 hour's 

2 hour's 1

3 hour's 4

4 hour's 25

5 hour's 25

6 hour's 176

7 hour's 622


21ST JUNE 1889


The quarterly meeting was held with good attendance. Three new members were accepted. Correspondence from General Office and other sources was approved. A member who had much sickness in his house was granted a sum from the Benevolent Fund.

A resolution was passed expressing disapproval with the decision of the loco. Superintendent in the case of a driver dismissed for a slight collision, and the secretary was instructed in another case where an old driver is reduced to fireman for a collision in which the damage were so light that it would be next to impossible to estimate the cost. The driver would be 60 years old in October next, and would be entitled to claim his superannuation a few months later. 

The election of officers resulted in several changes in chairs, committee, and auditors. A slight discussion ensued on the eight hours' question. 

The secretary asked leave for an old member to make a statement respecting a movement on this railway in the loco. department, which was being carried on outside the society. Owing to the severe in which the drivers and firemen are being treated, heavy fines and dismissal, or reduction for the most trivial offences, without in some cases any investigation, being at present the order of the day. It was suggested a deputation of six or eight should be chosen, and that the locomotive superintendent be asked to grant them an interview, in order that some better understanding can be arrived at. The information at hand was so meagre, and the manner of conducting the movement so loose, that little sympathy was expressed by the members. The movement was severely criticised by several traffic men, who asked the loco. men what had become of their unity? Some years ago it was a common expression to hear when a little grumbling was being indulged in their department, what is age use of your grumbling? Why don't you follow the example of the men who thoroughly organised, and prepared to fight for their rights? Now, says our correspondent, things seem to be changed. The secretary made a few remarks, asking why the signature sheets were not laid on the table that night, and deprecated and sectional movements carried on outside the society, which could only have one effect. No movement could be carried on on this railway outside our society, as the principal men were society men; the deputation would consist of society men, and the society would, probably, in the end have to pay the piper. He held the local foreman responsible, to a great extent, for the heavy fines and reductions. if they would make a fight for their men when the cases were before the superintendent instead of sitting there like ornaments, one half of the fines nd reductions would not occur. He should attach his signature to the sheet and advised all those present to do so. He did not expect much good would come of the affair, and would certainly sooner see the men in a position to demand a little justice, than see them with a patch on each trouser knee through praying for a few crumbs that may be thrown from the official cloth. 

A call off times brought the bet meeting this year to a close.


1st July 1889

Portsmouth engine driver James H. Coombes died in service on the 1st July 1889, aged 38. Joined the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants on the 19th January 1880


12TH JULY 1889


We regret having to announce the death of Bro. J. Coombes, driver, L.B.&S.C. Railway, and a member of the Portsmouth Branch of the A.S.R.S. He was taken ill last Sunday fortnight, and after lingering for eight day - the last three of which he was unconscious - he expired, leaving a wife and three little ones to mourn his loss. His remains were followed to the grave by 140 of his fellow workmates, and 30 members of the Sons of Temperance Friendly Society, of which he was member. Our late brother always took a great interest in all matters connected with the Amalgamated Society, being ready to lead a hand in any work, especially for the Orphan fund. Through their father's foresight, the benefit of the Orphan Fund will be received by his children.



Mrs. Coombes, widow of the late J. H. Coombes, driver L.B.&S.C.R., tenders her sincere thanks and deepest gratitude to all who so kindly assist in the recent draw made on behalf of herself and family, enabling her to receive the handsome sum of £10 5s., that being the amount raised.



23RD AUGUST 1889


A meeting was held on Friday last. Correspondence was read from the General Office and loco. superintendent of the L.B.&S.C.R., and the secretary was instructed to write again. One new member was enrolled. Three resolutions were passed in reference to the General Offices and this branch.The subscription sheet for the defence of the Irish railwaymen was ordered to stand over until the minutes of the E.C. are received. A letter and resolution from Stratford branch was considered, and it was received that this branch approves of the resolution that this branch approves of the resolution, and will at any time elect a member on the proposed committee. The balance sheet for the past half year was adopted, but regret was expressed to find so many L.B.&S.C.Ry. employes had required donative pay. A member who is about to leave for the cape asked for assistance from the Benevolent Fund, and it was resolved that £2 be granted him.




The monthly meeting was held on 1st inst., with a moderate attendance. Correspondence was read from General office, Redhill, Tunbridge Wells, and the loco. superintendent. Some discussion ensued owing to the unjust unjust treatment received by one of the members at Newhaven, and after some expression of opinion the secretary was instructed to again write the superintendent on the subject, the members being convinced of the injustice of the case, and that the ruling of the superintendent was one-sided and arbitrary. The members cannot think of having the matter settled in is unjust a manner. The remainder of the evening was spent over to the alteration of rules.

On 17th September, 1889, while hauling a special goods from Hastings to Willow Walk, near Plumpton, 'Old Scourer' was topping up his oil can near the cab entrance, when a sudden and unexpectedly violent lurch sent him over board. The Fireman was busy breaking coal at the time and for some moments was quite unaware of the situation, and it was only when there was no retort to a witty remark that he guessed the truth. Whistling for an emergency stopped and applying the Westinghouse brake took only a few moment, but with a heavy train and a speed of 30 m.p.h. The train ran on for another 500 yards, before grinding to a halt. After a hasty conference with the bewildered guard it was agreed to back the trim slowly to the point of disappearance and their recover the body. However 'Old Scourer' was found very much alive, swearing loudly with both legs buried in a pile of sand, which had broken the fall and probably saved his life. On being dug out , this tough character insisted in completing the journey and signed on to time following day.




A well attended  meeting of members of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants was held at the Five Bells, Moorgate Street Station, London, on Sunday evening  last, to take into consideration a proposal of the Stratford branch for the formation of a committee composed of representatives of the London branches, for the purpose of taking united upon any matter affecting the welfare of the society and for other purposes. The room was crowded.

Delegates were present from Battersea, Bow, Canning Town, Child's Hill, Clapham Junction, Hornsey, Kentish Town, King's Cross, New Cross, Paddington, Spa Road, and Stratford. Others would have sent representatives also, but for the fact that important meetings were being held at the same time inter locality. Visitors attended from many branches and outlying districts. Mr. Edward Harford, General Secretary, Mr. T. Watson, Organising Secretary, and Mr. W. Foreman, were present.

Mr. W. Ellis, of the Battersea branch, presided, and Mr. T. Watson acted as secretary for the evening.

The following resolution was submitted on behalf of the Stratford branch, and the motion of Bow and Paddington, it was unanimously approved of:-

"That in the opinion of this meeting it is desirable that an effort should be made by the London branches of the society to obtain a more frequent interchange of opinion on matters affecting the railwaymen of the metropolis -- their duties and conditions of service. To secure this object meetings of delegates and members should be held periodically in some position, as by such concentration of forces  powerful instrument would be created by which the numerical strength of the society could be materially increased."

In the course of the discussion which followed it was pointed out that such a committee would act as an auxiliary to the chief in any movements that might be taken up by the society, and it would bring men on different lines together, and thus create more enthusiasm in favour of the society as a trade union.

The General Secretary, in a brief speech, said that the object had his approval, and so long as the ideas insulated at that meeting were acted upon he would give it his hearty support.

It was decided, on the motion of Battersea and New Cross:-

"That each branch shall be entitled to send on representative for every fifty members, or part thereof, and that the subscription from the branches should be equal to 1d. per member per annum to meet the expenses of management, each branch to be responsible for the fares, etc., of its own delegate or delegates."

On the motion of Child's Hill and Bow, it was resolved:-

"That any member of society shall be allowed to attend the meeting, and be entitled to speak on any subject by permission of the chairman, but not a vote."

The election of officers was then proceeded with, and resulted in Mr. W. Ellis of Battersea, being appointed chairman; Mr. E.J. Cooperthwaite, of New Cross, vice chairman; Mr. T. Watson, of Stratford, secretary; Mr. G. Compton, of Bow, assistant secretary; and Mr. G. Allen, of Kentish Town, treasurer.

It was resolved that these meetings be known as the London Council of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, and that the next meeting be held at the same place on Sunday, October 13th, at 7 p.m., which any member of the society will be cordially welcomed.

Votes of thanks to the chairman, secretary, and visitors brought the meeting to a close at 10.15 p.m. The meeting was a very enthusiastic one, and the greatest unauimity prevailed.   


The Battersea (?) footplate crew of a C1 Class engine No. 428, had a fine sense of humour, and after working a series of specials carrying live poultry from Brighton to the London area, they produced a frame text and hung it in the cab. This stated:- "Poultry - Attention is drawn to keeping hens on the engine. The eggs by such hens shall be deemed to belong to the crew, excepting those laid when on shed, when they shall be considered the property of the Foreman". On being asked by officialdom to remove it, the crew substituted a much smaller one, saying:- "Sand must not be taken from the sandboxes for use in the bird cages". The Shed Foreman was a well known canary fancier!!




The usual meeting was held on 6th., when a good number put in an appearance, though several officers were absent on duty, and one new member was accepted. Correspondence was read from several branches, the General Office, and loco superintendent. 

Donation was allowed a fireman who had the misfortune to go by an advance signal when at danger, for which he was suspended. The secretary then read the copy of the letter sent to the loc. sept., but no reply had been received. The driver, on whose behalf the case was taken up, said he was pleased to inform the meeting that he and his mate had received their money again, and he thought the thanks of himself and mate were due to the secretary for the able manner in which he had conducted the case. Some discussion arose to whether the secretary should write the loco. suit. asking a reply, and after some time. the secretary suggested a letter should be forwarded thanking the Supt. for considering the case, and this was agreed to. Th following resolution was then carried, three members refraining from voting:-

"That this meeting consider the best thanks of the members are due to the secretary for the able manner in which he had drafted and presented the case to the locomotive superintendent, and records its appreciation of past services rendered to the members of this branch." 

Two members were elected on deputation respecting annual service in aid of Orphan Fund.




The monthly meeting was held on 27th ult., with a good user. Four new members were accepted, viz., three drivers and one goods foreman. 

An application being made from a member (a fireman) who had been reduced to a cleaner for a mistake made a month ago, the secretary was instructed to write the locomotive superintendent on the subject. 

Deputation reported re Orphan fund sermons to be preached on November 17th, when it is hoped members will muster in force. Some discussion was taken on alteration of Benevolent Fund, and the secretary was instructed to summon a special meeting to clear of f areas of business.


Battersea & Longhedge 1887 (Brighton, South Eastern & South Western)

FATAL ACCIDENT AT HAYWARD'S HEATH STATIONBrighton Herald Saturday 16 November 1889

An accident occurred at Hayward's Heath Railway Station on Monday night, resulting in the death of William Henry Hagett, a railway under-guard, of 25, Crescent road, Brighton. Deceased left Brighton Station with a goods train at midnight on Monday, the train stopped at Hayward’s Heath to hitch on some tracks. The head guard was on the platform and deceased took his stand on the side of a truck, his foot being on a grease box.

The train was then going at about five miles an hour, and few moments after deceased had passed the guard a crunching noise was heard. The guard Alfred Parmenter called out to a potter, asking what the noise was, and the porter replied that he believed Hagett was “snatched up.” They searched with a lamp, and found the unfortunate man lying on the line with his legs fearfully mutilated. He had fallen, he told them, from the grease box, and the wheels had passed over his legs.
A carriage was at once fetched, and, taking the engine off the goods train, his comrades sent the injured man to Brighton. His injuries were, however, beyond human aid, for it was found at the Hospital that the wheels had passed over his left thigh so near to the body as to render amputation impossible. On Tuesday afternoon the unfortunate man died. From inquiries made by the Jury, at an inquest held on Wednesday, it seemed that it was contrary to regulations for man to ride on the side of the truck in the way described. The Jury decided that death was due to misadventure.




Last week an accident happened at Hayward's Heath, which resulted in the death of a goods guard name William Hyatt. It seems that the deceased left with a midnight goods train and all went well until they reached the first stopping place. While engaged in his duties he, from some cause or other, was riding on a rear wagon, when he fell and the last truck passed over both legs. Assistance was promptly rendered by some men engaged near by, and he was conveyed to the Brighton Hospital, where, after lingering a few hours, he died from his injuries. the unfortunate man leaves a widow and one child to mourn his loss. He was not a member of the A.S.R.S., although he had intimated his intention of becoming one.


The letter which appears in this week's issue, signed "Enmgineman," is interesting, as showing the weakness of the position of sectionalism in the railway service. It may be true, as he says, that certain members of the A. S. R. S. have a liking for long hours, provided they are paid for it, but the question at issue is -- which method of Trade Unionism is the better adapted to secure shorter hours of labour? Evidently he despairs of anything like united action, for he says, "As for unity, there never was any between guards and loco. men." Surely things are not quite so bad as this. At all events, it has yet to be shown that the A. S. L. E. F., or any other railway organisation, has a better plan of bringing this unity about. This is not the time for pointing out individual inconsistency, but for collective action.



Sir, In your issue of the 25th, "Six Days a Week" says that the policy of the Sectionalists is the reverse of the A. S. R. S., as far as he can see, in long hours, so long as this overtime is paid for. It can tell you it is not so, for the A. S. L. E. and F. strongly protest against long hours. It is only an about time since that some of the guards at Bordesley Junction were on duty from 18 to 26 hours. These men are members of the A. S. R. S.; in fact, I can mention their names if required. They have the privilege of putting in for rest between Bordesley Junction and London. These guards get paid all overtime after 12 hours on duty. I am surprised to see members of the A. S. R. S. pass stations where the can put in for rest after they have been on duty sufficient hours. As for unity, there never was any between the guards and the loco. men. if there had been unity, there would be no sectionalism.

Yours etc.,





An open meeting was held at the Hatch Liberal Club, New Cross, on Sunday afternoon of the National Hours movement, and in support of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. There was a large attendance. Mr. T. Watson (Organising Secretary), Mr. F. Maddison, Mr. W. Ellis, and representatives from Kings Cross, and Spa Road attended. The following resolution was proposed by the Organising Secretary: - 

That this meeting been convened that a combination of various grades is necessary for the protection of railwaymen, cakes upon all to join the ranks of the Amalgamated Society.

I speaking upon this, he said, in addition to the resolution affirming the necessity of such a  society, the history of the railway service settled the question as to the inability of one section of the men being able to hold their ground independently of the other, and gave several illustrations upon that point. He appealed to all to unite, so that in times of difficulty each separate grade would not be satisfied o long as others had grievances unrepressed. Dealing with the criticisms that had recently been passed upon the want of "go" in the society made boy men ignorant of its proceedings, he declared amidst applause that it was the new leaders of some of the railwaymen who had just woke up, and not the Amalgamated that had been asleep.

The resolution was seconded by a local member, and supported by Mr. W. Ellis in a pithy speech, which held the attention of the audience.

Before being put, the chairman asked if there was anyone who had anything to say against it, and then a representative of a newly formed union took the platform. He did not condemn the resolution in the least, be repeated the criticisms made in certain newspapers. One or two questions were asked the Organising Secretary, to which replies were given, and the resolution, on being put, was carried with cheers. A London and Brighton Guard mov ed:- 

That this meeting, having heard the proposals adopted by the annual meeting of the society for a National Movement for a reduction in hours, considers they are fair and reasonable, and pledges itself to use every endeavour to make the movement a success.

The speaker read the proposal, and, commenting upon them, told the meeting to what extent he should be benefited should they be brought into force.
A South Eastern Driver seconded.
Mr. F. Maddison, in supporting, dwelt upon the great importance of first settling the Hours Question before that of wages. All writers who were in sympathy with the working classes had placed the Hours Question in the forefront, and he believed the society was acting rightly in making this their battle cry at present.



A meeting of all grades of railway servants was held at the Royal George, Hastings, on Monday evening, the 25th, inst., for the purpose go opening a branch of the A. S. R. S. There was a good attendance. The General Secretary, having addressed the meeting on the objects, benefits, and work of the society, it was decided to establish a branch in Hastings. The names of thirty intending members being forthcoming, the entrance fees were taken, and the principal officers of the branch were elected. After a vote of thanks to Mr. Harford for his attendance, the meeting adjourned until Sunday evening next, when a further opportunity will be given to those desirous of joining of doing so. The branch, bids fair to acquire considerable strength in a very short time.




The usual monthly meeting was held on Sunday last, resulting in the best attendance for some time. Thirteen new members were accepted. 

The secretary was ordered to thank the locomotive superintendent for his decision in the last case. The secretary was also instructed to write him respecting two fines and a caution inflicting on one driver in six weeks, which the member consider sharp work.

The Benevolent Fund was agin before the meeting for discussion. The secretary was instructed to invite Mr. Mr. Harford to an open meeting on Sunday, the 29th.


ON 11th DECEMBER 1889

Involving Eastbourne 

Driver James MacKinley & Fireman Unknown

For some years James MacKenley was the regular driver of engine No.157 Barcelona which worked regularly between Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells West. During the winter months much slipping occurred over the steeply graded and steely curved section between Hailsham and Eridge, where an additional hazard was caused by leaves on the permanent way.

It was whilst he was in charge of this engine, that the coupling hook parted on Tooths Bank about 2 1/2 miles North of Heathfield, on the 11th December, 1889. Fortunately the guard was looking ahead at the time and was able to stop a minor incident becoming a disaster. Temporary adjustments were made on the spot and the engine reached Tunbridge Wells without further trouble. 

James MacKinley was a Passed Cleaner at Brighton aged 19 in 1877, later moved to Eastbourne loco and a member of A.S.R.S

Railway accident on the 


East Croydon 11th December 1889





On Monday, Dec. 9th, a well attended meeting of railwaymen was held at the Coffee Palace, Three Bridges, to hear an address from Mr. E. Harford, General Secretary, on the objects and work of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. After listening with facts and illustrations of the society's usefulness, it was decided to established a branch for the men employed in the neighbourhood. Thirty names of intending members were handed in, and entrance fees paid. the principal portion of the branch officers were chosen, and the meeting adjourned to Sunday evening, the 15th inst., when any other intending members will be welcome.


This has been adapted from the original article that appeared in 

the Railway World Magazine in December 1984. 

The article was written by Michael Cruttenden.

William Stroudley was ever sympathy with his men, who looked up to him as a friend and 
regarded him as a hero who made their interests his own. In labour relations and in industrial 
psychology, he was far ahead of his time. Stroudley made himself known individually to 
almost every driver and frequently rode on the footplate, even when he travelled as a 
passenger Stroudley would make appoint to stop and speak to the loco-men during his 
journey. The high regard for Stroudley was showed at his funeral procession on the 24th 
December 1889, when 1,600 men from the various departments of Brighton Locomotive 
Works marched four a breast.






A meeting of railwaymen was held at the Crown Coffee Tavern on Sunday last, to discuss the shorter hours movement, and the benefits to be derived through membership in the A.S.R.S. The subject was taken up in a practical way by those present, consisting of L.B.&S.C & L.&S.W. men. Although it was a wert night, and the meeting not advertised, there was a good attendance, consisting of all grades of the service. When the invasion for membership was given three members were enrolled, with more promises, making 19 names towards a branch, which it is hoped will make a start the first week in the new year, to be called the Leatherhead and Dorking Branch

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