extracted from Hastings Observer

In 1890, the Railway Mission opened it’s fir convalescent home for railwaymen in Hastings, and this moved to 111 West Hill Road in 1897. The Railway Mission was founded on November the 14th, 1881 at Mildmay Park, London when it merged with the Railway Boys Mission. It did not have a personal membership, membership being organised around local secretaries responsible for providing  around the local secretaries responsible for providing a location for meetings. By 1890 there were more than 6,00 members and approximately 250 local missions around the United Kingdom and the majority of railway communites     




Our last meeting of the year was held on Sunday night, with a splendid attendance, there being hardly standing room for the members. Seventeen new members were accepted, viz., a station master, inspector, four passenger guards, three plate layers, one shunter, one head porter, two signalman, two firemen, one driver, one from signal department. 

A resolution conveying a vote of condolence with the widow of our late loco superintendent, was unanimously carried, the loco. men being convinced that they had lost a good superintendent. 

Arrangements were made for a meeting of railwaymen on Sunday, Jan. 12th, at 2.30, provided a suitable hall can be obtained. 

A good discussion was carried on by the signalmen and engine drivers, and satisfaction expressed that they had failed, with an expression that no A.S.R.S. men should take part in any such movement until the Hours Question is settled. The meeting closed for want of time. 


 Brighton Driver Henry Lewry & Fireman William Sands

Bill Sands retired in 1932




A special meeting of this branch was held on Friday last to arrange for annual dinner, etc. The dinner committee being duly elected, it was resolved that the treasurer be presented with a gift for his services, also that an outlying member, who has taken a great interest and worked well for the society, both by including new members to join and collecting contributions, he recognised by a small gift, and also in the case of the branch secretary. It was decided to give a framed emblem to the member proposing the largest number of new members during the year. 

Arrangements were also made for an open meeting to be held at Chichester on Thursday next, with object if inducing railwaymen at that place to join. Several members promised to help. 

Five shillings were granted to a brother from the Benevolent Fund, on account of a fine.




A meeting of all grades of railwaymen was held in the Globe Hotel, Chichester on Thursday, Jan. 16th, for the purpose of forming a branch of the society. friends from Portsmouth addressed the meeting on the many advantages of membership, and fourteen names were handed in and others promised for the next meeting. here is a good prospect of a thriving branch being opened here at an early date, due notice of which will be given. 




A meeting of all grades of railwaymen was held at the Globe Hotel, on Thursday, Jan. 30th, the occasion being the opening of a branch of the society. Mr. Edward Harford attempted and gave an address on the work, and benefits of the society, which was well received. On the call for new members thirteen more paid their entrance fee, these, together with those previously enrolled and transferred making a total of thirty three, which bids well for a very good branch. Officers being duly elected the usual votes of thanks closed a very successful meeting. The next meeting has been fixed for the 13th inst., at eight p.m.; when all members off duty are particularly requested to attend.




A   meeting was held on Sunday February 2nd, a good number being in attendance. Four new members were enrolled (3 firemen, 1 signalman, 1 shunter), bringing the branch up to 36 in three meetings. Brothers Gill and Young, secretary and I treasurer of No.1 Brighton Branch, kindly visited us and instructed our officers and men in their duties. The men of the district are taking great interest in the A.S.R.S.


21ST MARCH 1890


On Sunday last a meeting of all grades of railwaymen was held at the Victoria Theatre, Newhaven, for the purpose of opening a branch of the A.S.R.S. Mr. Geo. Compton, secretary Bow Branch, attended, and was voted to the chair, and in a lengthy speech explained the objects and work of the society, giving many illustrations of the advantages enjoyed by members from the legal defence and other benefits. Several more names were then added to the list, making 23, and more promised for the next meeting. The dispensation was read, and the branch declared open for business amid cheers. The election of the officers was proceeded with, and the chief positions filled up, others. being left for next meeting. Mr. h. Scammell, Belfast, having being introduced to the meeting by the chairman, said, being a visitor in the town, he took the opportunity of calling opportunity of calling upon his new friends, and, in a few well chosen remarks, spoke of the advantages of the men in Ireland had recently gained on the Great Northern of Ireland Railway by the aid of this organisation, and trusted the members would each do his best to make his branch a success. (Cheers) Mr. Plant said it afforded him much pleasure to be present on such an occasion, and congratulation his fellow workmen upon having established a branch of the society at Newhaven, to which he wished every success, and trusted those who had worked zealously up to the present would long continue to give the society that support it so well merited. The best thanks of the meeting, with acclamation, were accorded the chairman, and a vert successful meeting closed. Arrangements are being made to secure a meeting place, and to solve upon the fixed meeting nights, due notice of which will be given in the district.


28TH MARCH 1890



A mass meeting of railwaymen was held last Sunday afternoon, at the Town Hall, Brighton, under the auspices of the local committee of the Amalgamated Society of  Railway Servants. The large room was well filled, the audience evidently consisting almost entirely of railway employes. Councillor Dr. Ewart presided.

The Secretary read letters of apology and regret at inability to be present from Sir W. T. Marriott, Q.C.. M.P., Mr. Gerald Loder, M.P., the Rev. Father Fletcher, and Councillor Lowther.

The Chairman, after referring to the cases which had led to the delay in holding the meeting, said that he was convinced that some regulations of the hours of labour would in no long time become an absolute necessity. 

The great capitalists must face this question. The great majority of them could afford to pay greater wages, and he hoped those gentlemen who held the purse strings would be wise in time. They were not living now as an uneducated body of labourers, they were living under laws which gave them great advantages, and by constitutional and peaceful methods, and by force of numbers and of union, they would be able, he believed, to obtain the redress of the grievances they were assembled to discuss. (Applause.)

Mr. E. Harford, who was received with loud applause, said the subject was no new one. It had been a standing grievance amongst the railway servants of the country for a great number of years, but they had up to the present confined their efforts to making  their grievance as public as possible. Of late, owing to the improved condition of trade of  the country, overwork upon railways seemed to have increased considerably, and he ventured to think that if a return were now taken of the hours of work similar to that presented to the House of Lords a short time ago, they would find that overwork prevailed to a greater After referring to the causes which led to overwork and its sad effects on human life, he said that he was not there to persuade them to strike, or anything of that kind. It was better to be conciliatory, and least of all should he think of putting the people to any inconvenience by a general strike. He would not talk of bringing the directors to their knees- (laughter), but simply ask them to band themselves together so as to be able to meet them on equal terms. So long as only a minority were banded together for these reforms, the directors would show no great anxiety to meet them, but when thoroughly united the whole thing could be peacefully arranged, and perhaps to the mutual satisfaction of employer and employed. He thought the best way of commencing was to give publicity to what they complain of and he might say that with one or two exceptions the whole of the press of the United Kingdom was with them in their reasonable demand. The time for the agitation was, he thought, most opportune. The railways of the country had had a time of unexampled prosperity, and he ventured to think the great mass of the shareholders did not want extravagant dividends earned at the expense of the life very often, and certainly of the health, of the railway servants of the country. (Loud applause.) He concluded by moving a motion in support of the National Programme.

Mr. Gill seconded the motion, remarking that, as a practical man, he thought their programme was something they had required for a long time. It was noticeable in the industrial world that the Hours Question was now the main object, and that the question of wages was generally sunk until they got increased pay for overtime that they should make it so expensive to the company that they would not ask them to work overtime. Then, again, so long as there was a surplus of labour in the market they could not make their position secure. If their programme were adopted it would take from the labour market some 20,000 or 80,000 who are now unemployed. As to the Sunday work, the Commandment read, according to the company, "Six days shalt thou labour and be paid for it, and on Sundays thou shalt labour for nothing" (Loud laughter.) Their policy was defence not defiance, and if the officials would treat the men in a proper manner they would find they had got a body of working men on the Brighton line who would work with them, but if they would not do justice he hoped the time would come when the men could say, " This is our side of the question; bring yours forward."

Mr. Sam Standing supported the motion as representative of other branches of labour, and said the only message he had for them was that while they were considering their

position as railwaymen others who had fought the battle before for their own trades and professions were watching them, anxious to see them succeed. (Applause.)

The motion was then put and carried unanimously.

Mr Brown then proposed a resolution in of the A.S.R.S. He did not intend to defy their members, but to get fair, just and reasonable hours of labour, and this they could not do without union. He concluded by explaining the various benefits.

Mr. Chinner seconded the resolution.

Mr. H. Prince supported the motion, remarking that he was pleased to see railwaymen taking so intelligent and common-sense a view of the matter. As one who had travelled a good deal on railways he felt ashamed of  himself that he should be so well looked after  on his journeys by men who were so disgracefully underpaid and so terribly overworked. He did not think it was the fault of the directors so much as of certain other individuals in power, and he was certain it was not the fault of the main body of shareholders. He urged all to become members

and to work unitedly together, and he believed they would very soon have shorter hours of labour and better treatment generally from the railway company. (Applause.)

Mr. Evans addressed a few words to the meeting from the standpoint of a trades unionist.

The resolution was then put and carried amid applause, and the meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the chairman, proposed by Mr. Harford, and seconded by Mr. Gill


extracted from RTCS book on locomotives of the LBSCR

On 4th May, 1890 Belgravia Class, No 206 'Carisbrooke' was working an early morning train to Brighton. The Driver Henry Santer, bore a long-standing grudge against the Station master, and when the train stopped alongside the down platform he slipped across the track to the up side, where several crates of chickens were stacked. Taking one, he entered the first class waiting room and released them, then closing the door he ran for his engine. Unfortunately he slipped on the wet sleepers and broke his collar bone, which brought his movements to the notice of the station staff. When an annoyed traveller complained of having an overcrowded waiting room, the culprit was quickly discovered. Driver Santer was reduced to Fireman, and some months later dismissed the company's service after throwing his coal shovel overboard in a fit if temper following words with his driver. On this occasion his engine was a Class D1 No. 271 'Eridge'


16TH May 1890


The usual monthly meeting was held on Sunday with a splendid attendance. Three new members were accepted. 

Some discussion arose respecting a third person riding on the engines, and it was agrees to allow it to pass.

A case was taken up the secretary respecting under guards when acting as head guards receiving no  extra pay. One of the members gave a sketch of the interview with the traffic superintendent of the interview with the traffic superintendent, and after some discussion it was resolved to await the result.

Another case, a slight mistake in slipping carriages at Hayward's Heath, implicating several of our members, took some time to consider, hearing statements and reading correspondence. The members pledged themselves to see the car through and support the member to the utmost, and the secretary was instructed as to further action in the matter. 

A discussion arose respecting the practice of a new doctor examine firemen in the nude state; a resolution was passed, and the secretary to co-operate with No.2 section to write to the locomotive superintendent on the subject, with the view of our members being examines and by their own doctors.


16th May 1890

New Cross engine driver Henry Gray old age and defective eyesight 16th May 1890, aged 60. Joined the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, on the 27th July 1877



5th July 1890

Battersea engine driver H. Stebbings accidentally killed in service on the 5th July 1890, aged 43. Joined the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants on the 15th September 1886


22ND AUGUST 1890


A meeting (six weeks) of this branch took place on Aug. 14th, with a very good attendance and contributions fairly well paid up. On a call for new members four applications were handed in, and accepted (one driver and three porters). This gave great satisfaction, as more are expected next meeting. An officer from Portsmouth Branch attended and gave a good speech, after which a hearty vote of thanks was given him for his attendance. The secretary take this opportunity of asking all members that have not returned their voting papers to do so without delay, so that no votes may be lost. Member please note that our next meeting will be Aug. 28th. 




The monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 25th, with a very good attendance, and contributions fairly well paid up. On new member was proposed and accepted (one driver), and one was received by transfer from Brighton No.1 (passenger guard). One member was also transferred to Brighton No.1. After the business of the branch was gone through, the secretary handed the chairman the result of the election of the A.G.M., which gave great ratification. A lengthy discussion took place with regard to the action of the E.C. in suspending the General Secretary, especially at such a time when its services were most urgently needed. It was also regretted that some branches had seen their way clear to pass a vote of censure upon the G.S. with regard to the signalmen in South Wales, as it was afterwards settled to the great satisfaction of all. The secretary was instructed to send a letter of sympathy and confidence in the General Secretary for the manner in which he has carried out the affairs of the society generally. It was decided to hold an open meeting at Ford Junction on Monday evening, October 20th, when it is hoped all railwaymen off duty will attend and all non members join hands in the non of unity.



Sir, The National Movement seems to progress at a very slow pace on this line. I cannot be because the men ar satisfied with their lot, for, ever since the so-called concession of six days to constitute a week has been granted to the signalmen, the officials have been devoting all their energies to the task of depriving them of its benefits. Previously the men were changed from night to day duty, and vice verse, without loss of time, but now the officials think it is their duty to stop the men a day's pay for it, so they take away with one hand what has been given with the other. The eight hour men are very unjustly treated with regard to Sunday pay. Two men have to work a day and half to give the third man a day off, and the company coolly pockets his day's pay. If that isn't robbery, I don't know what to call it. They preach honesty to their staff, but I am sorry to say they practice dis-honesty. There is a relief signalman for Brighton yard, but he seems to be a sort of general factotum, for he relied anyone but signalmen. Eight hours are often working twelves hours while he is out running guard or doing head porter's duty, in fact anything but his own work.

The engine driver and firemen have been carrying on a Sectional Movement, and I am sorry to say that the leaders at this end call themselves Amalgamated men. But I brand them as traitors to the cause, for they are doing their level best to defeat the National Programme. I suppose they were afraid that the other grades would get a little benefit from that, and that was against their selfish nature.

The guards, ticket collectors, shunters, porters, and carmen are treated in anything but a liberal manner; the last named are a particularly hardwired body of men, slaving from morn till night for a wage that hardly suffices to keep body and soul together. The plate layers are a hard worked and deserving body of men. The small pay is a great hindrance to them joining the society in large numbers, but I hope they will soon make a sacrifice. They will soon git it returned tenfold.

Now, fellow-workmen, are you determined to make a stand to improve your conditions of service? If so there is only road by which you can reach the goal, and that is the is the Amalgamated road, which leads to better wages and less hours of toil. Yes have had sops thrown to you in much the same manner that we throw a bone to a dog; are you content with it? I fancy I can hear you say no; then let us stand shoulder to shoulder to demand our just right, and if anyone should ask Who will follow South Wales? answer with a loud voice, "The Brighton Line;" let who will be third, number two we're determined to be. We had one good meeting here in support of the National Programme, but after that everything was allowed to cool down again, which was a great mistake. That meeting should have been the forerunners of others all over the system. We are well provided with branches on this line, and it only wants a working agreement between them to ensure success. We have got good material to work on, and let us get on with it. "Now is the appointed time."

Yours etc




"To speak his mind is every freeman's right,

 In peace, in war, in council, and in fight."

Pope's "Homer"

Sir, The superannuation fund is answerable for a great deal of discontent and grumbling about here by unwilling contributors. The fund is administered in anything but a satisfactory manner, but if the men were to cease complaining and set themselves to work to mend or end it, the better it would be for all parties. A man on reaching the age of sixty, if he has been a member ten years, receives 25 per cent of his average salary, but if he has been  member 40 years he only receives 50 per cent, so one man may pay four times as much as another, and yet only receive double the percentage. if I leave or get dismissed the service for any other cause than dishonesty, I get back all my contributions without any interest. how kind, after having the use of my money for a number of years! we have never had a balance sheet, and all we know about it is we pay our money and take our chance. Can you wonder affair s that? It is quite time the fund was put under popular control.

Yours, etc.






Sir, In answer to "Brightonian's" letters published in your paper re the Brighton line, I think its is only necessary to point out to him that any movement to be successful, should be first thoroughly organised. Are we so on this line? I think not. True we have succeeded in opening branches throughout the whole system, so that at the present time I know of no place outside the London boundary where another workable branch could be opened; and the Brighton line claims a fair share of the influx of new members. This certainly progress (not of the flash-in-the-pan sort, which expects to turn railway companied upside down in a few months), but let us hope of an improving working, and lasting quality, with a set purpose in view, viz., the improvement of railwaymen, or, in other words, less hours, better condition of service, and a working agreement between the employers and their workmen, for let it be thoroughly understood that the interests of the company and their workmen are identical, and that being so some will ask, then why do they not grant the National Programme ? (to my mind the greatest and most important question we have to deal with at the present time, and the only one true Amalgamated men will work for until it is obtained). In my opinion there are two reasons they can urge. 

1st. The company cannot grant it under existing circumstances.

2nd. The we do not require it.

Let there be ni misunderstanding in the second reason; I speak generally. Personally, I am of opinion that the company could grant the National Programme as it stands, and in five years hence they would recognise the fact of having done so. 

1st. Why cannot the company grant it? The season is simple - the railway companies, periodical meeting of the managers take place, who agree on a course to adopted, recommend the same of the directors, and receive powers.

2nd. The reason we do not understanding what it means, and do not recognise the fact that time is money, or that less hours means more pay more leisure, greater home comforts, better health, longer lives, and a share in the responsibilities of citizenship, surely sufficient to temp us to work for such a programme with renewed engird. 

But no, Sir, it won't do, as our late action prove. First, we have the signalmen asking for better conditions or for sops; why did they do it? Because our society's movements were too slow, or did not and there is more grumbling than before they received it. The passenger guards tried their hands (unsupported by the Brighton district, who stool true to a man to the National Programme), the result being little better than the signalmen. 

"Brightonian" says the engine drivers and firemen have been carrying on a sectional movement. Yes; some 12 months ago the secretary of the Associated, at Battersea, forwarded a programme of wages to me as secretary of the Brighton district . I laid the matter before my branch and stated the course I had adopted, and why I refused to entertain it, and received their consent to the course. Another was sent to an express man, who asked my opinion, this also was returned. But yet another was sent (a kind of milky and watery one to the find) to another driver, a member of the Amalgamated, who called a meeting of drivers and firemen, which, I attended and moved a resolution in three section, which was carried without a dissentient voice, and sent to Battersea.In the meantime, programmes had been sent to all out stations in my district, and signatures obtained, certainly a dishonest way of doing business, but still they came. Another was sent to Brighton with several sheets for signatures. My opinion was asked. I stated what had been done, and advised returning it. In this case my advise was not taken, and I am almost ashamed to acknowledge it. Three Amalgamated men took the sheets and obtained a number of signatures. A deputation waited on the locomotive superintendent. Probably five out of the six who formed it were Amalgamated men, and we are now waiting the result. I think I hear the editor crying space, so will say - to be continued.

Your, etc.,

Alf Gill



When "Brightonian's" letter and that of Mr. Gill's are placed together it is clear that they are in absolute agreement about the necessity of rallying round the National Programme. That there is a crying need of it our correspondent this week proves up to the hilt, and Mr. Sarle is under an obligation to the public - to say nothing of the men - to offer some explanation of the long hours of duty alleged to have been worked. London and Brighton men will be well advised if they neither turn to the right hand nor to the left, but keep on the straight path of the National Programme.



Sir, With your permission, l beg to reply to Mr. A. Gill, whose letter appeared in your last issue. Ib the first place, I must inform him that it was not necessary to point out to me that any movement, to be successful, must be well organised, as no one recognises that fact more than I do. Neither am I an advocate of the flash-in-the-pan sort of business, of which that meeting at the Town Hall was a specimen. That was the very thing of which I complained, and I still maintain that no determined attempt has been made by any of the different branches to organise the men sufficiently to demand the National Programme. True there has been a large influx of new members, but that was owing to the persnal exertions of a few earnest members, and I am told that a great number of those new members are dissatisfied because no further efforts are being made to obtain the National Programme. I would suggest that the branches hold a conference with a view to appointing a central committee to carry on the movement.

I regret to say that long hours are still the rule here. I will give three instances out of many: On Oct. 1st the men working the 12.45 p.m. Chichester cattle train were on duty over 19 hours. the ,en working the 6.5 a.m. goods on Oct. 11th and 14th were on duty for a like period. I hope Mr. Sarle will give the same attention to this as he did to my previous letter. In conclusion, I beg to appeal to my fellow members to attend the meetings of their respective branches and help to make the National programme a living reality instead of a dead letter.

Yours, etc.






Sir, -In continuing my previous remarks it is reported that seven drivers and seven firemen at Battersea have received 6d. a day rise, and if we assume a similar occurrence to take place at New Gross and Brighton some day, we shall at once see some 35 drivers and fireman will benefit by the movement, at, say, an estimated cost of £300 per year to the company, or in other words, the percentage of drivers receiving 7s. 6d. per day and firemen receiving 4s. 6d. has been advanced 7 per cent. Now, Sir, if this is the result of 12 months' agitation, it is not worth the trouble taken, and will not recoup the remainder for what they have lost. I suppose those who have received the advance especially firemen, are the oldest by seniority and entitled to it, and we have some at Brighton who have been firing upwards of ten years. They no doubt believe the movement has benefited them greatly. But let us see. I am of the opinion no general movement for a reduction of hours can take place on any railway while sectional movements for advances of wages are being carried on, consequently, during the time (18 months) the sectional movements have been going on the  National Programme enforced idleness, with the result  that a few have received slight advances in wages, and the majority are no better off than before the National Programme was sanctioned. In my previous letter I said I the company could grant tho National Programme as it stands, and it would probably cost them £20,000 the first year to do so. You will ask how this sum could be covered. I should simply answer, by curtailing the present expensive and wasteful management in the several departments, and  clearing out the useless stock, at the same time satisfying the just demands of the workmen for some years to come. We will suppose the sectional movements had not occurred, but that we had joined hands on the National Programme and obtained it. What would have been the result? Would trains, passenger and goods, be out on the road 15 hours and upwards as at present? I think not. Would drivers, firemen, and guards be making 

their week in four trips? would porters and shunters be on duty 70 hours and upwards? I

answer, No. And what benefit would those men who have lately received advances of 6d. reap by the alteration? Simply in nine out of every ten cases they would more than double that sixpence. And why? Because for every five sets of men (engine drivers and firemen) another set would be required; and supposing the new conditions had come into force a month ago, and was estimated on the amount of time (per week) then made, it would require some 50 more drivers and firemen to do the work, consequently those fireman who are now receiving 4s. 6d. per  day would be drivers at 5s. 6d. per day. The percentage of those receiving the lower rate would be advanced, and those cleaners who had been cleaning seven and eight years would be made firemen, and the young fellows who are round the gates asking for work would also be employed; and, Sir, what applies to one grade applies to all under the National Programme. And I emphatically assert that sectionalism is a failure, and movements like the recent ones could not be carried on if it was not for the assistance given by our members, who act treacherously to our officers by supporting them. They pay delegates to sit on the Executive to draft programmes, they pay men to attend the annual general meeting to sanction them, and then they turn round and wobble like a lopsided top, or run into collision with each other here, there, and everywhere like a ship without a rudder, calling a friend here hard names and shaking a foe there by the hand. And why. Sir? Simply because they are in a great many cases sleeping partners in our concern, scarcely ever attending a meeting, and only looking at things from a selfish point of view. If I am severe it is because I prefer to go to the root of a grievance sooner than tinker round it. "Brightonian" says since the concessions granted the signalmen, the officials have be on doing all they can to take away the benefit, and that they now stop the men a day's pay to change them over. Do I understand that signalmen working six days only receive five days pay for it? If so, no wonder they grumble: and as to the eight hour men and Sunday pay, did not the super-intendent send for the men, and it was on their suggestion that they work 12 hours and receive half a day's overtime? I hear a letter has been received from headquarters to inquire into it. Now, as to the relief signalman for Brighton yard, playfully called a factotum, with relieves anyone but signalmen, is it not correct that he, under instructions, relieves each in turn, takes the duties of those off ill or on leave, etc., filling up his time in any other capacity where a handy man is required, such as head porter, shunter, dockman, porter, or guard, and is not such n man necessary at a large station like Brighton? You also any the other grades ticket. collectors, shunters, porters, carmen, etc.—are badly treated. Surely " Brightonian" is mistaken, for only in February last the following extract from official information was published: "In the goods department the carmen, shunters, guards, and clerks have received substantial increases, and also have allowances to foreman, platelayers,  and signalmen have been granted." He also states that the small pay of platelayers is a great hindrance to their joining our society. He is probably not aware that some did afford to belong to it for years, but, on receiving a 2s, per week advance, ran out, because they could not then afford it! 

Yours, etc.,



Sir, In your last issue "Brightonian" gives three instances of long hours. Here is a very case. A few days ago I was at one of the company's terminal stations (Tunbridge Wells) and was speaking to the signalman about the National Programme, and he told me that since they have had a change of station masters they have to close signal boxes every night, so that on a Sunday they have to come on duty at 5 a.m. and off at 10.30 p.m.; seventeen and a half on duty, for which they receive 3s. 8d. that is 2 1/d. per hour. not bad for Sunday work, being shut up in a box all day. I think this a case where the National Programme is much needed, as I should think the company could make it a double shift. I should like to hear what "Brightonian" thinks of this, and perhaps Alf Gill, our No. sec., could give a hint or two.

Yours, etc.,






Sir, -I must again presume on your indulgence to reply to some of Mr. Gill's criticisms on first letter. In the first place I do not know if the eight hour signalmen suggested working twelve hours on Sunday and getting half a day's overtime for it, but this I do know, that they never get any overtime, merely the day's pay. Surely Mr. Gill knows that they have always had to work 12 hours on Sunday to give the third man a day off. With regard to the relief signalman (not playfully called factotum) Mr. Gill has rightly defined his duty, but as long as he did that no one would complain. What I say is with our fear of contradiction, and that is that eight hour men have been working twelve hours, while he has been doing duty other than signalman's. It matters not whether the men did it willingly or not, the fact remains, and I will parry his question by asking another. Are not two such men necessary at a large station like Brighton, where is both responsible and arduous, and where  men are constantly being incapacitated by all-health? Mr. Gill says I must be mistaken, but he knows very well that I am not, official information notwithstanding. In reference to the platelayers, I have made inquiries, and find that indecently of gangers there have only been eight at this end that have received an. advance in wages, and I can only find out one man that run out of the society on receiving his rise, and he was a ganger, so don't blame the other men for his falling. One would think on reading some portion of Mr. Gill's letter, that he had held a brief for Mr. Sarle, but unless he can deny my statements in toto I would advise hime to lend a helping hand, not seek to pull down what another is trying to build up. The signalmen are, I hear, just starting another sectional movement, while we are letting the grass grow under our feet, and I say it is our own fault that these sectional movements flourish as they do. If we, as loyal members of the A.S.R.S., did our duty, they could not exist, as our agitation must, of necessity, have stifled all others, and we should have had the help of the majority of these sectionalists joining hands with us in pushing forward the National Programme, but in my branch, oh, no, we never mention it. Its name is never heard, in fact, I think it is boycotted. I have looked at the reports of branches on this line, but fail to see that they are alive to their duty re the National Program, so I must warn them that delay is dangerous for they are losing ground daily. In reply to "Another Brightonian," I am sorry to inform him that his is not an isolated case on this line, and for the remedy read the foregoing.

I cannot close without thanking you, Mr. Editor, for giving so much space for the discussion of our grievances; let us hope it will not be in vain.

Yours, etc.,


Sir, Continuing my remarks, "Brightonian" asks the question if his fellow workmen are determined to make a stand to improve their conditions of service; if so, there is only one road, through the Amalgamation. quite so, but my letters will prove it is the Amalgamated men who are spragging the wheels of protest. And Why? Because they do not understand the meaning of the word "unity," and are too apathetic and selfish to think, or care, what reforms are required, or how they can be brought about. Are we contented with our lot? If actions can be taken for the answer, I should say yes, and "Brigtonian's" fact must lead him astray. As for standing shoulder to shoulder, we require a few more lessons from miners, mechanics, and dockers. When we demand our rights (whatever they may be), a new era will have dawned, persons will give way to principle, and a union of hearts and hands will be the results. Who will follow South Wales? Answer with a loud voice, "The Brigton Line." No, we're determine to be. Easy there, "Brigtonian." Remember the North Eastern and Midland failures, and profit by them. Enthusiasm is all very well, but clear and cool heads are better. For whom do you speak, and with such assertion? What is your programme of action? Have you laid it before your friends, and do they agree with it? or are you going to adopt the sectional move - become a kind of bell weather, and expect the sheep to follow you? True, we are provided with branches and probably the membership will compare favourably with any other railway, but we require something more than that. Some interest should be taken in the branch business attendance at meetings is necessary, so that the feeling of the members may be gauged. Picture to yourself the meeting of a branch upwards of 100 strong, not an officer present, and only eight ordinary members attend, and then say we have good material to work on! The appointed time will be when the members show sufficient interest to warrant a move being made. They are men who make such absurd statements as that they will have railway directors on their knees in six months, or that they would run them into dead head tunnel and "bust 'em up." It does more harm than good and shows a want of knowledge of railwaymen (as I find them) and their requirements. To my mind, the most difficult body of  men to organise railwaymen, and the one thing necessary is organisation. now there are four societies whose interests are bound together, viz., the A.S.R.S, with 35,000; the G.W.R.U., 40,000; R.S., Scotland, 7,000; and the E. and F. Associated 5,000, or a grand total of near 90,000 member. By closing our ranks and coming to a working agreement a common platform, we should have force sufficiently large to command respect from any board of directors. If such a working agreement cannot be obtained (and I have only doubts of one society joining), there is another course open, and a strong one. Let several companies' servants join hands, say N. E., Brighton, G.W., S.W., etc., and invite the Amalgamated Engineers and Boiler Makers to take action with us on the eight hours question. I am in favour of artisans, mechanics and localised bodies of workmen having eight hours, but not by Parliament interference. If a thing is worth doing at all. It is worth doing well, and the stronger our position the sooner and more favourable the result. There are two important things required by railwaymen - direct representatives and arbitration boards; while it is also necessary to keep our eyes looking to see what goal we are driving to, I am of the opinion the future of railwaymen will either rest with the State, or they will become large profit sharing concerns. With clean heads and steady hands, it should be the duty of every man to steer the latter point.

As regards the superannuation fund, spoken of by "Brightonian" in another letter. I would advise no action to be taken at present. One thing at a time is sufficient and a few years hence this fund may be looked into. Sir, I draw my remarks to a close, and await the onslaught they should call forth, thanking you for the large amount of space allowed.

Your, etc.,

A. Gill


extracted from RTCS book on locomotives of the LBSCR



The winter of 1890-91 contained some of the worse weather on record in the Southern England, and on the night of Monday, 9th March, 1891 much of England was swept by a blizzard but the ‘Night Boat’ was not seriously impeded until south of Merstham. Then much drifting by the high wind caused a 29 minute late arrival at Lewes, while at Southerham Junction the signalman stopped the train and warned the crew that all signals ahead were inoperative. Proceeding at about 15 m.p.h. through deepening snow, a 'Gladstone Class' loco No. 195 ‘Cardew’ struggled on to within a mile of Newhaven Town station and then stuck fast until dug out the following morning. About two hundred yards behind the an old Craven engine 0-6-0 No. 394 with a goods also become embedded, which was just as well as since in such visibility the crew would have had little chance of seeing the guard’s van’s red light.

A 'Craven Standard Goods Loco' no. 211 worked the 2.30 p.m. goods from New Cross to Lewes. It snowed hard all the way, and on reaching Lewes and depositing their train, the crew found to their dismay a special goods of twenty-three wagons and two brake vans awaiting transit to Newhaven. By this time the snow was drifting badly before a westerly gale and most signals were unreliable if not out of action. However a start was made with both men finding such shelter as possible behind the weather board. Little could be seen even at about 10 m.p.h. but despite this steady progress was made until they became embedded up to the chimney base in a deep drift. Realising nothing more could be done, they flung out their fire and retired to the guards van to spend the night. Next morning they were dug out about 9.30 a.m., when they found themselves only some 150 yards behind the Boat express. The gale blew so fiercely that many of the wagons had their tauplins ripped to pieces and the guards van was only kept on the rails by the weight of snow to leeward.

Railway accident on the 


Stoat’s Nest 10th December 1890


Stoat’s Nest 10th December 1890 

Involving New Cross Driver William Muzzle & Fireman George 

Breach & New Cross Driver John Lee & Fireman William Monks 






There was a large and representative gathering of railwaymen at the Locomotive Inn, Landport (Portsmouth), on Saturday night, when the objects aimed at by the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants and the benefits enjoyed by its members were explained by Mr. J. Dobson, organising secretary. Mr. Upton presided over the meeting, which was hold under 

the auspices of the Portsmouth Branch of the Society,

In the course of a lengthy address, Mr. Dobson observed that railway servants were not advancing so fast as might be desired. Unity was an essential feature of their movement, and unless the railway servants of the country were thoroughly organised they could not hope to accomplish that which they most desired. Railwaymen did not get a fair share of the profits of their work, and moreover their hours of duty were much too long. He attributed their present position to the circumstance that they failed to recognise the need of unity among themselves. The officials of the Union could not do much of themselves, but he pointed out a great deal could be accomplished by individual effort on the part of the workmen. If each man used his influence in the proper direction in two years time the officials of the Union, having 160,000 men at their back, could approach the railway companies and demand the adoption of their National Programme, or any other reasonable measure they might think fit to bring forward.

That their Programme was reasonable no one could deny, yet there seemed to be a tacit understanding among the companies that no one should be the first to give way. It was clear, thorefore, that the servants could not hope to gain their object unless their combination was complete, and with a view of strengthening their hands the secretaries of the various railway organisations had decided to recommend their respective executive committees adopt the programme to which he had referred. He, in common with many others, did not advocate harsh measures; still he believed it would be a very easy matter to stop the traffic on every railway in the country if the men did not obtain what they wanted. As soon as the men could show that they were prepared to fight there would be no fear of a strike taking place, for the companies would at once make necessary concessions. With respect to the advantages held out by the society, he pointed out clearly what the benefits were.

After giving the meeting some practical advice relating to the management of the branches of the society, he submitted the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted:-

"That this meeting is of opinion that the long hours during which railwaymen are kept on duty are detrimental to the men so engaged, and fraught with danger to the travelling

Therefore, we consider that the time has arrived when ten hours should constitute a day's work for all grades excepting shunters in busy goods yards, signalmen in busy boxes and boxes always open, which should  be eight hours, and platelayers for whom nine hours should

be the maximum. That all overtime be paid for at the rate of time and a quarter, and Sunday duty at time and a-half."

Mr. Davey then proposed:—

"That, in order to obtain the reforms set forth in the foregoing resolution,

this meeting calls upon railway servants to combine for that object by joining the A.S.R.B. of the United Kingdom."

This was also passed, and the meeting closed with hearty votes of thanks to Mr. Dobson and the Chairman.

May be an image of 6 people, train and railroad


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