Biographies of chairmen, managers &
other senior railway officers
The arrangement is alphabetical (surnames beginning):
Steamindex home page
This is regarded mainly as a by-product page as the main slant on biography is towards steam locomotive engineers, although it must be never forgotten that several senior officers, including the General Manager and Civil Engineer had greater influence than the Locomotive Superintendent and that board members, who might also hold other directorships were capable of considerable influence
Briefly General Manager, GWR from 1919, but had to resign due to ill health (it had been undermined during WW1) in June 1921. Had been Superintendent of the Line since 1910. McDermot History of the Great Western Railway rev. Clinker.
Allen, William P. [Bill]
Bonavia's British Rail: the first 25 years records that staff matters, perhaps inevitably, were entrusted to an ex-trade-unionist. W.P. ('Bill') Allen, former General Secretary of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, who was short and cheerful, with a fine old-fashioned waxed moustache. His approach was friendly and down-to-earth, and he made the move from one side of the negotiating table to the other appear quite effortless. He was not in the least inclined to try to payoff old scores, and showed a warmer personality than his counterpart in the British Transport Commission, John Benstead from the NUR, even though he may have lacked Benstead's intellectual powers. His real success was shown by the fact that he had no enemies on either side of the negotiating table. A faintly malicious yet quite affectionate story was told about Bill Allen, derived from his dislike of formality and his insistence upon using christian names. When he was momentarily unable to remember the name of someone whom he might be clapping on the shoulder, he always fell back on 'Arthur', so that a number of pseudo-Arthurs were always around in the dusty corridors of No 222.
McKillop's The lighted flame includes a wealth of information on Bill Allen: "He is the born trade union leader. His is an unfailing humour and understanding of humanity, and he is quite unaware of his natural qualities. It was inevitable that he should gravitate to the ranks of the Associated. His father, a prominent member of the Society, which he joined in 1886, was not enthusiastic when young Bill Allen decided to join the railway service. I expect Allen senior had visions of young Bill becoming' something better' than an engine driver. Our future General Secretary joined the G.N.R. at Homsey as a cleaner. A1 No. 60114 was named W.P. Allen.
Allport, Sir James Joseph
Born in Birmingham on 27 February 1811 and died in the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras on 25 April 1892 (ODNB). (Marshall gives incorrect date of death). Ellis' Midland Railway noted that the Midland's great general manager, James Allport, steered the company through the troubled seas of nineteenth-century boom and slump, and had brought it to its renaissance. He was a characteristic eminent Victorian of the best type, astute and forceful, yet genial and kind, not unaware of his merit, but regarding it with the same sort of satisfaction as he would have done in considering others. At the age of 28 he was chief clerk to the Birmingham and Derby Junction, of which, shortly after, he became general manager. He was dismissed as redundant on formation of the Midland Railway, but George, Hudson placed him in command of the Newcastle and Darlington Junction, which he saw expand under his management into the York, Newcastle and Berwick. In 1850 he went as general manager to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, and thence, in the same office, to the Midland in October, 1853. In the spring of 1854, he joined the Midland Board, but in 1857 he returned to office as general manager. From this he retired at the beginning of 1880, returning to the Board to fill the vacancy left by Edward Shipley Ellis, who had been chairman since 1873. A diplomatic move of 1877, which did not bear fruit, was for the joint acquisition by the Midland and the Great Northern of Allport's sometime command, the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway. Allport was presented, on retirement, with a cheque for £10,000, by vote of the Midland proprietors. In 1884 he was knighted for his services to cheap travellers. He lived to see the fiftieth anniversary of the Railway Clearing House, of which he was the father, and died, full of years, within sound of the Midland engine whistles. Towards the close of his long and active career, Sir James Allport said: "If there is one part of my public life on which I look back with more satisfaction than on anything else, it is with reference to the boon we conferred on third-class travellers. I have felt saddened to see third-class passengers shunted on to a siding in cold and bitter weather-a train containing amongst others many lightly-clad women and children-for the convenience of allowing the more comfortable and warmly-clad passengers to pass them. I have even known third-class trains to be shunted into a siding to allow express goods to pass. When the rich man travels, or if he lies in bed all day, his capital remains undiminished, and perhaps his income flows in all the same. But when the poor man travels, he has not only to pay his fare, but to sink his capital, for his time is his capital; and if he now consumes only five holirs instead of ten in making a journey, he has saved five hours of time for useful labour-useful to himself, his family, and to society. And I think with even more pleasure of the comfort in travelling we have been able to confer on women and children. But it took twenty-five years to get it done." ODNB biography by William Carr revised by Robert Brown. Also biography by Terry Gourvish in Dictionary of Business Biography. Biography in Vaughan's Railwaymen, politics and money (Appendix 5: gives alternative death date)
Anderson, Sir Alan Garrett
Born 1877. Died 1950. Director of LMS and Chairman of the Railway Executive from 1941. Chairman of Anderson Green & Co. and of the Orient Line. MP for the City of London 1935-40. Many business interests. See Burgess: A tour of inspection... LMS Journal, 2007 (18), 75..
Armytage, Sir George John
Born on 26 April 1842. Chairman of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway from 1887 to 1918. Died 8 November 1918. Marshall Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. V. 2 and Who Was Who
Ashfield (Lord): Albert Henry
Born in Derby on 8 August 1874. Father worked for Pullman and emigrated with his parents to USA in 1880. Having entered transport management on the Detroit Street Railway he became the General Manager of the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey and was sent to London by the Yerkes Group to become General Manager of the Underground Electric Railways in 1907. He was President of the Board of Trade between 1916 and 1919 and became the first Chairman of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. He was knighted in 1914 and made Baron Ashfield of Southwell in 1920. He died on 4 November 1948. Biography by Theo Barker in ODNB. Also given prominence by Hendry. See also Stephen Halliday's Fraud, liquidation and ingratitude. Backtrack, 2008, 22, 437 for portrait with daughter.
Born in York on 3 July 1847 and died at Ulverston on 28 April 1928 (Peter Robinson, Backtrack, 2005, 19, 762). With frontispiece portrait. Son of a railwayman with same name, who had been GNR Divisional Superintendent at York and Peterborough. Brought up in those cities and education included that at Peterborogh Grammar School. Subject joined GNR at Nottingham, and then moved in 1872 to GNR Headquarters at King's Cross (Audit Office). He then joined the Eastern & Midland Railway at King's Lynn as Chief Accountatnt. He became Secretary and General Manager of the Cambrian Railways in 1891, before moving to the Furness Railway in 1895 as its General Manager. Rly. Mag. 1898, 3, 122-37.. Rush's Furness Railway traces his final energetic career until he retired from the FR in 1918 at the age of 71..
Surnames beginning "Ba"
Born 5 December 1865. Educated Eton (presumably reasons for name selected to start Schools class) and Sandhurst. Military career. Director National Provincial Bank. Chairman Southern Railway from 1924 until his death on 7 May 1932.
Barrington-Ward, V. [Sir Michael]
Bonavia's British Rail: the first 25 years notes that railway operating on the Railway Executive was placed under V.M. Barrington-Ward, former Divisional General Manager (Southern Area) of the LNER. B-W, as he was universally known, was tall, with very blue eyes and a rather austere, clean-shaven face (Hughes LNER contains a portrait). He was a member of a distinguished family, his brothers including an editor of The Times and a famous surgeon. His early training had been on the Midland Railway under that wayward genius (Sir) Cecil Paget who, as General Superintendent, had, with J.H. Follows, introduced the pioneer system of train control, later extended to the whole LMS. B-W had transferred to the LNER where his fondness for Midland practices led him into a prolonged tussle with C.M. Jenkin Jones, the supreme exponent of the alternative North Eastern Railway control principles. B-W was famous for his taciturnity. He seldom gave reasons for his decisions, but always commanded respect even from those who disagreed with him. And if a decision was taken over his head with which he disagreed, he would still loyally carry it out. His loyalty to the Midland Railway was legendary; Jenkin Jones once wrote of B-W 'putting on his Derby hat and, facing the North West, saying his morning prayers to the gods of the Midland Pantheon. Rly Mag., 1927. 61, 414-15 (includes portrait) notes that he was educated at Westminster School and Edinburgh University where he obtained an engineering degree. During WW1 he became a Lieut Colonel in the Railway Operating Division and received a DSO The Times obituary (31 July 1972) notes that he died on 28 July 1972 and was born on 17 July 1887 at Duloe. This obituary observes his bravery in both World Wars and his uncompromising integrity and undeviating tenacity of purpose"...
Born 21 April 1913. Educated Maidstone Grammar School and Imperial College of Science & Technology, London. ARCS, BSc 1st class Hons. PhD London. Fuel Research Station, 1936 Mond Nickel Co. Ltd 1937. Armaments Design Dept. Ministry of Supply, l943. Dep Chief Engineer of Armamemts Design 1946. Joined Imperial Chemical Industries, l948. Director, 1957-61 and 1965. Deputy Chairman 1966-69. Various other senior positions within ICI. Chairman British Railways Board 1963-65. Famous for Beeching reports which showed an utter disregard for geography and even absurder prospects for British heavy industry. Merry-go-round and liner trains were his major positive legacies. Sacked by an incoming Labour administration which lamentably failed to reverse his most dubious failures in political geography: the Scottish Borders being the most obvious, but the tidal train service to the "strategic" city of Plymouth must be even more significant. The otherwise admirable R.H.N. Hardy has written a dubious hagiography..
Anne Pimbott Baker has produced an excellent ODNB study which includes Barbara Castle's diary comments: that he approached transport policy with an arrogance that comes, I suspect, from a clear mind that sees a logical answer to a situation and cannot tolerate any modification of it to meet human frailty (Castle Diaries, 196470, 122). Furthermore, the biographer records Tony Benn's astute observations: after a lunch in January 1965 at which Beeching had launched an attack on overblown democracy, observed: I think Beeching imagined himself as a new de Gaulle, emerging from industry to save the nation (Benn, 205). He died on 23 March 1985 in East Grinstead.
Assistant General Manager, LNER: according to Bonavia (The four railways p. 71) dour Scot who managed traffic apprenticeship scheme which ensured excellence of LNER management
NUR man, part of the British Transport Commission's team (Bonavia: British Rail: the first 25 years)
Chief Regional Officer of the Eastern Region of British Railways. He was a former LNER man whose intellectual qualities (he had been a Wrangler at Cambridge) were outstanding. He had a quick wit and on occasion a biting tongue: see also his mordant observations on Sir Brian Robertson. The impression he gave was that the ordinary office tasks of a manager scarcely extended his brain sufficiently and could bore him. Sadly, the signs of poor health which were to lead to his death in 1958, at the age of barely 60, were already beginning to appear. Bonavia British Rail: the first 25 years.
Last Chief Goods Manager of the Great Western Railway: initial member of the Railway Executive where Terry Gourvish in British Railways, 1948-73: a business history. (1986) noted that an intensive publicity drive was organised by David Blee with the aim of cutting wagon turnround time and freeing idle stock. A wagon discharge campaign, which started in November, cut the average daily 'leave-over' of loaded wagons by a third, releasing about 35,000 wagons by the end of the year; and average terminal-user time for all vehicles, loaded and empty, was reduced from 2.13 days at the beginning of the campaign to 1.96 days only four weeks later. These examples, by showing what could be done with more determined management, suggest that the companies had failed to seize earlier opportunities for lessening the effects of austerity restrictions. He was sometime Manager of the unwieldy London Midland Region. Bonavia's British Rail: the first 25 years noted that Blee was slim and clean-shaven, and that his rise had been rapid the Great Western. "He was a man of great sincerity and inner kindliness, but his ambition and a certain lack of humour made it difficult for him to relax. He saw himself as a super-salesman of railways and liked to relate how, when in his younger days, he had been Goods Agent at Slough, he had been accustomed after office hours to walk down to the Great West Road to watch the lorries passing and to consider each one an insult and a personal challenge. [He} lacked the downright approach of some of his colleagues, and was not an intellectual like C.K. Bird or Jenkin Jones of the LNER or Wood of the LMS. It was perhaps not surprising that David Blee built up his supporting team very largely from his old company. Great Western influence in commercial matters was looked at with some doubts by those from other companies, however, because that railway had adhered to the old-fashioned system of leaving passenger commercial matters under a Superintendent of the Line primarily concerned with operating.
Bonsor, Sir [Henry] Cosmo Orme
Born at Great Bookham into a brewing family (Combe, Delafield & Co.) on 2 September 1848. Educated at Eton. Involved in consolidation of brewing industry. Chairman of the South Eastern & Chatham Managing Committee and formerly Chairman of the South Eastern Railway from 1898. Director of Bank of England and MP. Died in Nice on 4 December 1929.. ODNB entry by Terry Gourvish.
Surnames beginning "Br"
Marshall states that born in Salford on 29 July 1801 and died in Christiania (now Oslo) from cholera on 9 September 1853. Rly. Mag article (2, 243) gave brief details of his business. He was a member of the Society of Friends and an engraver. In 1820 he opened a business in Belfast, but returned to Manchester in 1822 and engraved maps. He married on 15 May 1839 and had two sons. His first Monthly Railway and Steam Navigation Guide was issued on 1 December 1841. Article mentions Robert Diggles Kay who worked with Bradshaw, but was treated as merely an employee.
Bracegirdle (Backtrack, 8, 210) wrote an article about Bradshaw which appeared to consider that Kay failed to be acknowledged, but one wonders how well researched this was as the place of birth is imprecise (the Railway Magazine article ibid firmly states Windsor Bridge, Salford. Bradshaw was apprenticed to Beale, an engraver in Manchester and was noted for his illustrations to Duncan Smith's The art of penmanship. Following work in Belfast he returned to Manchester and established a publishing and printing business which eventually became Henry Blacklock & Son. Robert Diggles Kay was the editor, and possibly the creator, of the railway guide. Kay was sufficiently well-known to justify memorial windows in the Weslyan chapel in Birkdale and a Methodist chapel in Salford. The date of the first edition of the Guide was either 1838 or 1839. Bradshaw was a Quaker and early issues avoided using the names of months based upon Roman deities, but these scruples were eventually thrown own. The author notes some of the changes made to the title. By 1850 "Bradshaw" had become a household word. Originally there was hostility from some of the railway companies and Bradshaw circumvented this by becoming a railway shareholder and by putting his case at company agms. In 1848 the abbreviations mrn and aft replaced am and pm and these were not altered back to the more general until the immediate post-WW2 period. There was a gap from No. 40 to Number 141 (March to April 1845) - presumably due to a typographic error, but rather than admit to a mistake the series continued from 142. Station names were subjected to fierce abbreviations: Cmbe, for instance. The Victorian issues were characterized by small type and poor paper. The writer notes some mentions to Bradshaw in fiction. ODNB entry by G.C. Boase revised Philip S. Bagwell.
Peter J. Rodgers (Backtrack, 2007, 21, 253) cites: Lee, Charles, E. The Centenary of Bradshaw. Railway Gazette, 1940.(Ottley 7943).
Chairman Cambrian Railways: 1886-1900 (Rly Mag., 1900, 7, 190)
Burgess, Henry G.
See Whitehouse and St John Thomas' LMS 150 page 38 for brief pen portait of Rt. Hon. H.G. Burgess; also M.C. Reed's The London & North Western Railway: a history. He had been successively the LNWR representative in Scotland, then in Ireland where he was the Director of Transportation in the latter part of WW1. He became the second General Manager of the LMS where he was known to senior staff as "The Right Honourable Gentleman" due too being a privy councillor and Senator of the Irish Free State.
Bury, Oliver Robert Hawke
Born 3 November 1861. Son of barrister; educated Westminster. Great uncle first Manager of GNR in 1847. From 1 January 1879 he was articles as a pupil to W. Adams of the LSWR. In 1881 he went to Hunter & English where he worked on a floating crane and on the construction of a distillery (Marshall). Having been Assistant Engineer on the Coleford Railway in October 1884 he was approinted resident engineer of the Great Western Railway of Brazil under Alison Janson, also becoming locomotive superintendent in 1885. In 1892 he was appointed Chief Engineer and Manager of the Great Western Railway of Brazil, in 1894 he moved to a similar position on the Entre Rios Railway in Argentina and then to the Buenos Aires & Rosario Railway. He became General Manager of the GNR in England on 1 July 1902. In 1912 he resigned and joined the Board of the GNR and became a Director of the LNER until his resignation in December 1945 shortly before his death in London on 21 March 1946. He retained widespread business interests including many in South America. Considering his background it is not difficult to see why the senior managers of the LNER had to be of the calibre of Gresley and Wedgewood to be able to survive.
Railway Magazine 1908, 22, 441.
Bushrod [Deputy Operating Superintendent, Southern Railway and ex-LSWR] was one of the dwindling generation of officials who believed in doing things in style; we put up at the best hotels, and for our tour a large and comfortable car with a liveried chauffeur was engaged for the day. On our return to London by a semi.fast making several stops, the position of the reserved compartment on the train was notified from one stop to the next so that the stationmaster and his chief inspector, all spruced up, would be on the spot as the train drew up to make obeisance and give an account of their stewardship during the stop, just as if Bushrod were a potentate-quite amusing! Later in January we investigated shunting on the Somerset & Dorset line at Templecombe. Holcroft. Locomotive adventure.
Butterworth, Sir Alexander Kaye
Born 1854 (ODNB entry for only son, George Butterworth, the composer killed during WW1). Died 4 December 1946. Solicitor then General Manager of North Eastern Railway who according to Blakemore's review of Bill Fawcett's The North Eastern Railway's two palaces of business (Backtrack, 2008, 22, 189) opted to work in that railway's London office. Geoffrey Hughes shows how Butterworth was excluded from the management of the LNER in favour of R.L. Wedgwood who became the General Manager of the group.
Surnames beginning "Ca"
Born March 1870. Joined LNWR as a Cadet in 1886, under Mr Neal, Superintendent of the Line. In 1898 he became Chief Outdoor Assistant to the Superintendent of the Line and in 1901 he became Personal Assistant to Sir Frederick Harrison. In 1902 he left the LNWR to become the General Superintendent of the Caledonian Railway and in October 1908 he was promoted to the position of General Manager (see Railway Magazine 1908, 22, 368), but two years later he left to become the General Manager of the Buenos Ayres and Pacific Railway and in 1913 he was offered the post of General Manager of the LNWR, but Sir Frank Ree did not provide a smooth transition for Calthrop, and it was only following Ree's death in February 1914 that Calthrop was able to take up his appoinment, just on the outbreak of WW1. For much of WW1 he was seconded to the Board of Trade and died from influenza at the early age of 48 on 23 February 1919. Thus the LNWR and the LMS had lost a brilliant manager.
Reed. MC. London & North Western Railway. 1996.
Cameron, Thomas Forbes
Cameron was educated in Edinburgh, but began his railway career as a traffic apprentice on the North Eastern Railway in 1912. He returned to Scotland in 1943 as Acting Divisional General Manager in 1943. With some reluctance on the part of the BTC, which would have prefered Robert Inglis; nevertheless, Cameron became Chief Regional Officer of the Scottish Region at a salary of £3,750, well in escess of that of the CROs of either the Eastern or North Eastern Regions (Mullay: Scottish Region). Bonavia (British Rail: the first 25 years) noted that his LMS counterpart had been due for retirement: TFC was certainly one of the ablest men in the railway service though this did not always appear in his rather lugubrious assessment of situations. His achievement in welding together the ex-LMS and ex-LNER components in the new Region testified to his capacity, though some amusement was caused by his insistence upon continuing to occupy a flat in the North British Hotel, Edinburgh, and travelling daily (by car) to his new Regional Headquarters in Glasgow.
Campbell, Lt-Col Hon. Henry Walter
Born 23 March 1835; died 17 December 1910. Director LSWR. Served with distinction in Crimean War, 185455.
Solicitor from Wimborne, who according to Ellis's South Western Raiilway was rich helped to promote the Southampton & Dorchester Railway which followed a wayward route which came to be known as Castleman's Snake or Castleman's Corkscrew. He briefly became Chairman of the LSWR,
Churchill, Viscount (Victor Albert Francis
Born on 23 October 1864 and died 3 January 1934. Extremely aristocratic Eton-schooled, Guardsman became Chairman of the GWR in 1908, and remained so until his death. Biographical details from Who was who (electronic version). Portrait in Nock's Great Western in the twenieth century. Churchill also chaired a couple of shipping companies. His function was presumably decorative.
Claughton, Gilbert Henry
Born 21 February 1856, son of the Bishop of St. Albans. Educated Eton. Apprenticed at Beyer Peacock. Studied at King's College, London. Mother was related to Earl of Dudley and Claughton became chief mineral agent for the Dudley Estates. He was mayor of Dudley and a director of the United Counties Bank, as well as of the LNWR. He became Chairman of the LNWR in 1911. Reed noted that he had a quiet humour and includes a portrait of him with senior drivers at Crewe. Suggests that early death (27 June 1921) was due to the arduous demands of WW1. Mostly Reed, but also Who Was Who.
Charles Forbes-Trelusis, 21st Baron Clinton resided at Heaton Sackville near Petrockstowe. Owned large estates and was Chairman of the Forestry Commission as well as a Director of the Southern Railway. See Burgess: A tour of inspection... LMS Journal, 2007 (18), 75.
Surnames beginning "Co"
Cobbold, John Chevalier
Member of greatly respected Suffolk family: involved in formation of Eastern Union Railway from Ipswich to Colchester, especially the Act of 19 July 1844 and was also behind the Ipswich to Bury line and its amalgamation with the EUR. (Allen, C.J. The Great Eastern Railway. Also driving force behind Tendering Hundred Railway (Railways South East, 2, 183).
Colville, Charles John, 1st Viscount of
Born 23 Novemeber 1818. Died 1 July 1903. Educated Harrow. (Who was who) According to Lord Colville's report to his directors [of the GNR] at Kings Cross, Moon presided over a. small gathering consisting of Sir Daniel Gooch (Great Western), Lord Colville (G.N.R.) and the Chairmen of the Caledonian, L.S.W.R., L.Y.R. and Midland Railways. Moon opened by referring to the Great Eastern's request [for through carriages to Birmingham], 'which has led me to consider the brake question seriously'. He thought 'the time would soon come when the Board of Trade would go to Parliament to compel the adoption of an automatic brake'.
Lord Colville continued Engineers should meet to discuss the possibilities of this coupling. Webb claimed that most Locomotive Engineers were in favour of the vacuum brake pure and simple, but all the Chairmen at the meeting were of the opinion that it would be impossible to prevent the principle being made automatic. We finally decided that the Locomotive Engineers of the several Companies should meet to discuss the feasibility of adopting a universal continuous brake. Brown Great Northern locomotive engineers V.1. On page 210 Brown makes the tantalizing statement that Colville as a member of the Locomotive Committee had "shown great intereset in Stirling's work."
Conacher, Charles L.
General Manager Isle of Wight Central Railway. Rly Mag., 2, 401. Son of John Conacher below: see Rous-Marten Rly Mag., 2, 567.
Railway Magazine Illustrated Interview, 2, 289 states that career began on Scottish Central Railway. He then moved to Cambrian Railways where he was, in turn, Accountant, Secretary and General Manager, from whence he moved to NBR as General Manager on 11 August 1891 at a salary of £2500 per annum. His sojourn on the NBR was far from happy as he was forced to resign through Board manoeuvres worthy of Macbeth, where one of the main players was Wemyss who actually built a railway to serve his coal mines in competition with that of which he was supposedly Chairman. Other great railway managers, such as Sir Henry Oakley were shocked at the mistreatment of Conacher and some returned their free passes to him for his personal use to show their distaste for the corrupt NBR Board. See John Thomas (North British Railway, Vol. 2). Having served the new electricity supply industry, Conacher returned to railway management on the Cambrian Railways.
Thomas Cook organized a special train (excursion) from Leicester to Loughborough to run on 5 July 1841 for those wishing to attend a temperance meeting. In 1842 an excursion to Edinburgh was organized. His son, John Mason (born in Market Harborough in January 1834 joined his father in the business which grew rapidly during the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Parish Exhibtion of 1855 encouraged foreign travel: over 100,000 travelled with Thomas Cook. In 1865 his son became a Partner in the business. Offices were established in Fleet Street, London. In 1865 America was visited to encourage travel to Europe including the British Isles. Tours to the Holy Land and to Egypt were started in 1869.
Railway Magazine 1898, 3, 40-8.
Cotton, Edward John
Cotton was born in Rochester (Kent) on 1 June 1829. He joined the GWR in the Traffic Department at Paddington in October 1845 and moved to the Railway Clearing House as a clerk in 1847. In 1853 he became the Manager of the Waterford & Kilkenny Railway and in October 1857 he beacme Manager of the Belfast & Ballymena Railway. In 1866 he was paid £1000 per annum, the highest salary in Ireland, by which time the railway had become the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway. In 1869 this was increased still further to £1200 per annum. Cotton retained an interest in the Railway Clearing House and in the Irish Railway Clearing House. He was Chairman of the Irish Railway Managers' Conference from 1864 until his death on 14 June 1899. He was appointed by the government as general investigator for the Congested District Board for Connaught and was responsible for the construction of the Balfour Lines. He was well-known in Ulster literary circles as an interpreter of Shakespeare. He features as a character in Delina Delaney by Mrs Amanda McKittrick as The Father of Steam Enterprise. Currie Northern Counties Vol. 1.
Joined the B&NCR in 1869 as an apprentice in the Manager's Office. In 1885 he became Cotton's Princioal Assistant, but lacked Cotton's sparkle. Currie Northern Counties Vol. 1.
Cox, Edwin Charles
Born 3 January 1868. Son of a South Eastern Railway railwayman: joined railway in 1883. Became Superintendent of the Line of SECR in 1911. Greatly assisted in successful operation of WW1 traffic. Chief Operating Superintendent of Southern Railway where he chaired electrification steering committee. Traffic Manager Southern Railway 1930-36. Lt. Col. in Engineer and Railway Staff Corps. Founder member of Institute of Transport. Died 9 December 1958.. See SR 150 and Who Was Who. See also Jeffrey Wells: 'Actively Engaged in Public Service', Backtrack, 2008, 22, 360 (includes portrait).
Born in Normanton, Yorkshire, in 1739. Family tradition indicates that a bitter quarrel with his father led to Richard leaving for London when aged sixteen.. He apprenticed himself to a Thames Street ironware merchant named Bicklewith. Crawshay's career was an exercise in self-improvement in the classic Smilesian mould, being the subject of an encomium in Samuel Smiles's Lives of the Engineers (18612). By 1763 Crawshay was in sole possession of Bicklewith's business. wharfs and warehouses, before settling at George Yard, Upper Thames Street, which was to be the London base of the Crawshay family firm until 1864. By the 1780s Crawshay was probably London's leading iron merchant. However, his pre-eminence in the capital was not enough. He was attracted to becoming an ironmaster in his own right: in 1786 Anthony Bacon, master of the Cyfarthfa ironworks at Merthyr Tudful, died. Crawshay had been in partnership with him as a supplier of guns to the Board of Ordnance during the American War of Independence. The guns had been cast at Cyfarthfa and he leased Cyfarthfa from Bacon's estate and devoted an increasing amount of his time to the development of the works. By 1793 Crawshay claimed to have laid out £50,000 on new plant at Cyfarthfa. He did so with effect. A survey of pig iron production in 1796 identified Cyfarthfa as by far the largest ironworks in Britain, casting 7204 tons when average output per works was a mere 1562 tons. The expansion of smelting was more than matched by a massive growth in forge capacity at Cyfarthfa. Indeed, it was in the field of iron refining that Crawshay made his most signal contribution to the British iron trade. He was the sponsor of the iron puddling technique of Henry Cort, pioneered as a commercially viable process at his works in the late 1780s and which revolutionized the production of malleable bar iron in Britain. Cyfarthfa attracted industrialists and technologists from across the world. Crawshay died on 27 June 1810 and was buried at Llandaff Cathedral, attended by vast crowds from Merthyr. ODNB biography by Chris Evans
Born in 1764: ironmaster and merchant, the only son, of Richard Crawshay. Little known of Crawshay's early life and education, only that he joined his father's business as a young man. It was the beginning of a tempestuous career. Like his father, William Crawshay was a masterful character and he found it difficult to work under his father and this led to repeated estrangements. Increasingly, William Crawshay was entrusted with running the firm's merchant house in London, while his father remained at Cyfarthfa. A fresh quarrel in 1809 led to the old man's revising his will. William Crawshay was replaced as his father's executor and residuary legatee by Benjamin Hall. and would have been left without a share in the ironworks, but for a belated reconciliation through which he acquired a three-eighths share in the Cyfarthfa works. For much of the next decade Crawshay strove to reverse this humiliation and make himself the undisputed master of Cyfarthfa. The Cyfarthfa ironworks was the largest in Britain, producing 24,200 tons of pig iron from eight blast furnaces in 1823, yet the functioning of the Crawshay firm was far from smooth. William Crawshay, the Iron King, died on 11 August 1834 at his suburban mansion at Stoke Newington, Middlesex. ODNB biography by Chris Evans
Surnames beginning Da
Darbyshire had been the last (acting) President of the LMS and became the Chief Regional Officer of the London Midland Region. His expertise lay mainly in labour and establishment matters, where the LMS had a larger and perhaps more bureaucratic organisation than any other of the four main lines. His term was not long, since he retired in February 1951. As a CRO he supported his colleagues well, but at this time Euston needed a stronger hand at the helm as noted in Bonavia's British Rail: the first 25 years.
Born in 1874. Joined LYR telegraph department in 1890. Attended lectures on railway economics at Manchester University and obtained a scholarship. Involved in train control. Lectured at school of signalling. General Superintendent Northern Division LMS. Chief Comercial Manager 1932-8. Vice President from 1938-1944. Awarded CVO in 1939. Marshall noted that he was an "approchable, cheerful and friendly man." Died 1 February 1958. Marshall Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. V. 2 and Who Was Who.
Born at Llandinam, Montgomeryshire on 18 Decemeber 1818. Came from a Calvinist Methodist background. Worked as a sawyer, but became involved in railway building mainly for the constituent companies of the Cambrian Railways in association with Thomas Savin. He was a contractor to the Pembroke & Tenby and Manchester & Milford Railways, but got into coal mining before the collapse of railway activity following the Mania. Following his involvement in Ocean Collieries he became the leading figure in the development of the Barry Railway. He died in Llandinam on 20 July 1890 (Marshall).. See Ivor Thomas: The Sawyer: a biography of David Davies of Llandinam (Carmarthen ,1988) and Herbert Williams Davies the Ocean: railway king and coal tycoon. Cardiff, 1991. He gave financial backing to James Metcalfe, inventor of the exhaust steam injector: hence Davies & Metcalfe. After his death his son Edward took his place.: Metcalfe, Richard. Davies & Metcalfe Ltd: railway engineers to the world. 1999..
Not in Marshall: problem is the diversity of names: Beckett and Grimthorpe (baronetcy). Michael Harris contributed an excellent biographical sketch in the Oxford Companion at Denison, Edmund Beckett (1836-1905). He was the parliamentary counsel for the Great Northern Railway in its fight to establish itself. His father Edmund Denison was the company's first Chairman and he was born at Gledlow Halll near Leeds on 29 January 1787 and died in Doncaster on 24 May 1874 (and is in the ODNB with an entry by Iain McLean). Presumably this brusque Yorkshire family must delight in baffling searchers in the ODNB..
Denniss, Charles Sherwood
Born in 1860, son of Goods Manager, North Eastern Railway Hull. Denniss joined the NER at Hull under his father. He served on both the NER and GWR until he became Superintendent of the Central Division of the NER in 1892 until becoming General Manager, Cambrian Railways in 1895. Died on 8 December 1917 (Who Was Who)..
portrait: C.C. Green's Cambrian Railways p. 58
See G.A. Sekon. Rly Mag 3 313-28.
Dent, [Sir] Francis
Born 31 December 1866, son of Admiral C.B.C. Dent. Joined LNWR in 1884. By 1901 he had become District Traffic Manager. Joined SECR as Chief Goods Manager in 1907 and was General Manager from 1911-20. Died 4 June 1955..
John Thomas (North British vol.2) considers that Deuchars was a key figure in the Aberdeen races. From being an outdoor assistant earning £550 per annum he was promoted in November 1893 to be Superintendent of the Line earning £1000 and this was increased to £1250 in February 1896 and £1500 in February 1898.
Docker, Frank Dudley
Born 1862, died 8 July 1944. Helped to reorganize the British heavy electrical industry and served as a director of two of the railways which exploited electric traction: the Metropolitan Railway and the LBSCR, and subsequently the Southern Railway. Who Was Who and R.A.S. Hennessey Dudley Docker Backtrack, 2008, 22, 164..
Douglas, John Montieth
Accountant and one term member of the NBR Board (John Thomas): his financial investigations at Cowlairs Works led to the resignation of Thomas Wheatley and his brother.
Drummond, Brigadier-General Sir Hugh Henry
Born at Clovelly Court in Devon on 29 November 1859; died 1 August 1924. First Chairman of Southern Railway (had been a Director of LSWR since 1900 and Deputy Chairman from 1904). Had background in banking: Director of National Provincial and Union Bank of England; Deputy Chairman, Alliance Assurance; Ended WW1 with rank of Honourary Brigadier General. Created a baronet in 1922. Member, Royal Bodyguard of Scotland. Who Was Who
Surnames beginning E
Born 30 June 1792 in Lancaster and died in Manchester on 22 June 1851. Originator of the card railway ticket. Trained as a cabinet maker, but became a clerk at Milton on Newcastle & Carlisle Railway where he invented card ticket, but employer not interested so he took his idea to the Manchester & Leeds Railway which adopted his idea. The tickets are still used on most "preserved railways", such as the North Norfolk Railway. Basics from Marshall. See also entry by Michael Farr in Oxford Companion. also in ODNB entry by G.J. Holyoake, revised by Philip S. Bagwell
Born John Elliot Blumenfeld in London on 6 May 1898. Educated Marlborogh College and Royal Military College Sandhurst, but opted for a career in journalism. Like Dow and Barrie, Elliot became a railway manager following work in public relations, although Sir Herbert Walker had recruited him as an aide. Bonavia: Railways South East, 1993, 3, 182 states that he was unusual for railway management by being part Jewish and having been a journalist. He eventually became Chief Regional Officer of the London Midland Region. Chairman of London Transport 1953-67. Chairman of Thomas Cook 1953-67. Died in London on 18 September 1988. Author of autobiography: On and off the rails. ODNB entry by C.S. Nicholls...
Surnames beginning F
Fay, [Sir Samuel} Sam
Born Southampton 30 December 1856. Educated Blenheim House School Fareham. Entered LSWR as a clerk in 1872. Was Chief Clerk at Waterloo by 1884. In spring 1892 he became General Manager of the M&SWJR and General Manager of the GCR from March 1902. Died Romsey 30 May 1953. See Marshall. ODNB entry by George Dow revised by Ralph Harrington. which notes that Fay had a "magnetic personality".
The Managership of the Great Central
Railway. Rly Mag., 1902, 10, 23-5.
Biography by Jack Simmons: Dictionary of Business Biography
Fiennes, Gerard (Gerry) Francis
Full name Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes. Born 7 June 1906. Died 25 May 1985. Educated Winchester and Oxford. (Who was Who) Joined LNER in 1928 as a traffic apprentice and rose to Board level on British Railways: Chairman Western Region, then Eastern Region. His I tried to run a railway is a classic..
I tried to run a railway. London: Ian Allan, 1967.
Recollections of some lesser LNER locomotives. in Hughes, Geoffrey. A Gresley anthology. Didcot: Wild Swan/Gresley Society, 1994. pp. 67-70.
As perceived by the Assistant Yard Master at Whitemoor in 1931. The O2s were the most powerful locomotives, but these were limited southwards to working to Temple Mills. There were difficulties in getting enough work out of these locomotives, although the speed was greatly increased when March Town was playing at home. The J39 class was regarded excellent, although prone to rolling. Eventually K3 class locomotives were acquired for the Norwich to Whitemoor workings.
Follows, John Henry
Follows was born in 1869 and was educated at Risley Grammar School. He joined the Midland Railway in 1890. He was Superintendent of Freight Trains from 1911-1912; Divisional Superintendent from 1912 to 1914; Superintendent of Operations from 1914 to 1917; Acting General Superintendent from 1917 to 1919; General Superintendent in 1919 and was a Vice President on the LMS between 1927 and 1932, He died on 13 December 1938. (Who Was Who).Hamilton Ellis (The Midland Railway) noted that "Centralised traffic control became the monument of J. H. Follows. For a long time there was on the Midland and on the L.M.S. a lesser and rather quaint monument, the saloon carriage in which he made his travelling headquarters when out on the road, converted, as previously stated, from one of the Heysham rail motors. Follows was of rather an ascetic type, immaculate and perhaps a puritan. His saloon contained a grim white enamelled bath, served by a severely solitary cold tap. Nearly all the windows, right along the carriage, were of obscured glass. Whether this was to help him to concentrate, or to prevent lesser persons from being too awed by the daunting sight of the great man at work, has never been explained. Control not only made for smooth working and punctuality under normal conditions, it saved many difficult situations when things went wrong.". He was Superintendent of the LMS. Died 13 December 1938. (Who was Who).
An Ulsterman with revolver at hand. Began his career on the GNR(I): sent to Stranolar to reorganize narrow-gauge CDJR. Introduced halts, railcars based on buses and kept the railway running. General Manager from? Died 7 November 1943 (or possibly 1941). Need to check in Patterson (info pro tem from Hendry). Succeeded by Bernard Curran.
Forbes, James Staats
Born in Aberdeen on 7 March 1823. Educated as an engineer at Woolwich and from 1840 under Brunel. Joined GWR as booking clerk at Paddington, and was goods superintendent at Gloucester between 1855 and 1857. Became General Manager of the Dutch Rhenish Railway, and took up same position on LCDR from April 1861, and Chairman from 1874 (having joined board in 1871) where he was involved in bitter competition with SER under Watkin. Resigned from this post in 1886, but remained a director until 1897. At time of Railway Magazine Illustrated Interview, 2, 481 he was also Chairman of Edison & Swan Electric Light Co., President of the National Telephone Co and a Director of Lion Fire Insurance. Director of Metropolitan District, Chairman of the North Metropolitan & DN&SR, and on Board of Hull, Barnsley & West Riding Co. Died in 1904.
T.R. Gourvish in Dictionary of Business Biography
Appointed General Manager of the LBSCR in 1899 when he was aged 42. Father, who died in 1888, had been a District Superintendent on GNR. Nephew of famous James Staats Forbes. William Forbes joined the LCDR in 1873 and was appointed Continental Manager in 1886 and Traffic Manager in 1888. Appointed Assistant General Manager following operating agreement with SER.
Rly. Mag., 1899, 5, 17.
Surnames beginning Ga
Geddes, [Sir] Eric Campbell
D.H. Aldcroft contributed a concise biography to the Oxford Companion. He was born in Agra, India, on 26 September1875 being the son of a Scottish civil engineer and died in 1937.He was educated at Merchistion Castle Schhol in Edinburgh and at Oxford Military College where he played rugby. After adventures on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and in India he joined the North Eastern Railway in about 1904 and rose to become its General Manager in 1914. He was co-opted into Government service during WW1 and rose to the rank of Major General under Haig and was responsible for all aspects of traffic flow. He eventually became Minister of Transport. He was awrded the KCB in 1917. He was the architect of the 1923 Grouping through the 1921 Railways Act. In 1922 he joined Dunlop Rubber and became its Chairman. He also became Chairman of Imperial Airways. He was also responsible for the policy of economic retribution against Germany and for ensuring that essential supplies and services were maintained during the 1926 General Strike. It is clear that his severance with the NER and his subsequent activity caused great disquiet from the Board of the LNER. He died at his Sussex home on 22 June 1937. Keith Grieves covers all aspeccts of this colourful life in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Gibb, [Sir] George Stegmann
Born in Aberdeen on 30 April 1850 and died in Wimbledon on 14 December 1925. (Marshall). Educated Aberdeen Grammar School and London University. Joined GWR as a solicitor in 1877. Following some work in private practice he became solicitor to the NER and was appointed General Manager of the North Eastern Railway in 1891 and joined the Board of that Company in 1906. Nock succinctly observed that George Gibb was a dynamic and truly great railwayman whose invigorating leadership brought a big programme of improvements including accelerations, new works and internal reforms. On 3 January 1906 he was appointed Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of the Underground Electric Railway Co. He was knighted in 1904. Unusually, the Illustrated Interview in the Railway Magazine (1, 491) gives no personal biographical information.
Glyn, Sir Ralph
1885-1960. MP for Clackmannan & East Stirlingshire, 1918-22, then Abingdon 1924-53. Director of LMS. See Burgess: A tour of inspection... LMS Journal, 2007 (18), 75..
Gooday, John Frances Sykes
Gooday was General Manager of the GER from 1899 to 1910. According to Allen he was a "forcible character". He had joined the railway at 16 as a junior clerk on a salary of five shillings per week in 1863: this was in the Leeds office of the GER. By 1877 he had become Assistant Continental Manager, and in 1880, Continental Manager. In 1899 he became General Manager of the LB&SCR (see Illustrated Interview of Sarle, Rly Mag, 2, 1), but returned to the GER as GM in the same year in succession to Sir William Birt. Gooday was closely involved in the the GCR/GER/GNR amalgamation proposal which was rejected by Parliament. He joined the Board in 1910. He was succeeded by Hyde. Died 18 January 1915 (Who was Who)..
Gore Browne, Eric
Born 2 October 1885. Died 28 May 1964. Educated Malvern and Oxford. Banker. Controller of Rubber 1943-44. (Who was Who) Last Chairman of the Southern Railway. Strongly antagonistic to nationalization: "once eggs are scrambled. I defy any cook to unscramble them": Hendry notes his stance, but adds nothing further..
Surnames beginning "Gr"
Grand, Keith Walter Chamberlsin
Born 3 July 1900.. Died 17 September 1983. Educated at Rugby. (Who was Who) Bonavia's British Rail the first 25 years gives but a glimpse of the Western Region's first Chief Regional Officer. He noted that he had been the Great Western's representative in New York (1928-9) where he developed a cosmopolitan outlook and a broad grasp of railway commercial activity. Cox (Locomotive panorama V. 2) stated that the dieseel hydraulic locomotives were a part of Grand's determination to retain a separate identity for the Western.
Granet, William Guy (Manager)
He was born on 13 October 1867 and educated at Rugby and Balliol College. He became a barrister in 1893 (Lincoln's Inn) and married the daughter of Lord Seby, Speaker of the House of Commons in 1892. He became Secretary of the Railway Companies Association in 1900 and Assistant to the General Manager of the MR in 1905 and its General Manager in 1906. His interests included traffic control and industrial relations (he was secretary to the Employers' Committee during the general railway strike of 1907. He joined the Board of the Midland Railway in 1918 and became its Chairman in 1922. He died on 11 October 1943..
"That wily old lawyer Sir William Guy Granet, sometime Dictator of the Midland" (in the words of the late Hamilton Ellis) would have outmanoeuvred Machiavelli himself. Nock wrote,6 "Step by step, inexorably he virtually dictated the terms of the amalgamation and, although he did not become either chairman or deputy chairman of the new company, he dominated the proceedings of the board... The result was that the Midland precepts of management were adopted... Seventeen years earlier Granet had completely overthrown the traditional form of railway organisation which had prevailed on the Midland as firmly as on all the other large railways of Great Britain and now it was the turn of the other constituents of the LMS to experience what the Midland had passed through from 1906 onward."
Rutherford notes that Granet was undoubtedly one of those who wished to reduce the status, power (and salaries) of the idiosyncratic Victorian locomotive superintendents. He may well have arrived at that view (or received it from others and promulgated it further) whilst he was Secretary of the Railway Companies' Association early in the new century. Certainly once he [Granet] became General Manager of the Midland Railway, R.M. Deeley's attempts to introduce appropriate modern locomotive powereight-coupled engines for freight and four-cylinder de Glehn compound 4-6-0s for 'crack' expresses got nowhere and Deeley left in 1909. He was replaced by Henry Fowler, a man of wide interests but not the design of locomotives, although he was interested in details such as the application of superheating or the metal lurgy of boiler stays. The concept of 'the dead hand of Derby' in locomotive matters can be. traced back to these events.
Granet was once asked what type of man made the ideal leader and he replied "The benevolent despot". He got his man in the person of Lord Stamp (a director of ICI) who took up the post of President in January 1926.
H. G. Burgess, the last General Manager, retired in March 1927 and Granet himself resigned in October and moved to the City.
Biography by Henry Parris Dictionary of Business Biography
Grey, Sir Edward
Born in London on 25 Appril 1862. Educated at Winchester College and Balliol College Oxford. Traditional biography in ODNB by Keith Robbins. More interesting biography in letter by Alan Donaldson in Rly Arch., 2008 (21), 26. He was Foreign Secretary in Asquith's Liberal administration of 1906 and is best known for his alleged statement that "the lights are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime" as Europe slid into WW1. He was a Director of the NER and Chairman from 1906 until his appointment as Foreign Secretary. The family estate enjoyed its own station at Fallodon in Northumberland, and he was clearly a great lover of trains as well as of natural history. He was a devout Anglican and worshiped at Embleton parish church. He died on 7 September 1933. He was created a Viscount in 1916..
Born in 1830 was made General Manager of the GWR in 1866. Died on 7 October 1887: "He had been an able, tactful and popular Manager. He had drawn up a "long and deatiled report" on the final conversion of the broad gauge. He appears to have championed the carriage of third class passengers on express trains. McDermot History of the Great Western Railway rev. Clinker.
Surnames beginning "Ha"
There were three generations of Benjamin Hall who influenced the construction of canals and thei associated tramroads in Monmouthshire. These were Dr Benjamin Hall (born 3 June 1742, died 25 October 1817), Chancellor of the Diocese of Llandaff and father of Benjamin Hall, born in Llandaff on 29 October 1778 and died on 19 August 1817. He married Charlotte, daughter of Richard Crawshay of Cyfartha on 16 December 1801 and came into the possession of the Abercarn Estate in 1808. He in turn was the father of Benjamin Hall born on 8 December 1802 and died on 27 April 1867. He was created a Baronet on 12 August 1838 and eventually Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire in 1861 Big Ben (Palace of Westminster) is named after him and he rejoices in an ODNB biography by G.F.R. Barker, revised by H.C.G. Matthew. See Archive, 2007 (55) 26.
Harrison, [Sir] Frederick
Born 1844. Died 31 December 1914 (Who was Who). General Manager, London and North Western Railway and the subject of an early Railway Magazine Illustrated Interview. 1, 193-206. Argued that "The General Manager of a big railway must be a practical man who has been "through the mill" to use a familiar phrase, and you will find that we have all begun at the bottom of the ladder". He entered the LNWR in 1864 when aged 20 as a clerk at Shrewsbury under Sir George Findlay who took him to Euston when he became General Goods Manager later in the same year. For three years he was in Liverpool as Assistant District Superintendent, followed by one year at Chester in a similar capacity, and was Assistant Superintendent of the Line and Chief Goods Manager at Euston before becoming General Manager.
Hartley, Sir Harold Brewer
Hartley deserves better than being listed as the instrument used to draw Stanier away from the Great Western to the LMS. Sir Harold was a scientists of considerable stature and his recruitment onto the LMS may be seen as one of Stamp's great positive decisions; obviously, the recruitment of Stanier was another. Basic information obtained from [long] biography by E.J. Bowen (revised by K.D. Watson) in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: born 3 September 1878; died 9 September 1972. Educated Balliol: physical chemist. Biographer notes that "As a judge of character Hartley was quick to distinguish the efficient from the inefficient". Author of Studies in the history of chemistry (1971). It is noteworthy that Hartley was the original biographer of Ernest Lemon in the ODNB.
Papers (relevant to steamindex)
William Arthur Stanier, 1876-1965. Biogr. Mem. Fellows R. Soc., 1966, 12, 489-502. illus. (port). bibliog.
Henderson was born on 28 September 1850, the second child of George and Eliza Henderson. He tended to become involved in business interests with his younger brothers Henry (Harry) and Brodie. When 17 he entered the City firm of Deloittes who were Accountants to the GWR. He moved to the stockbroker firmm of Eyton, Greenwood & Eyton and became a member of the Stock Exchange when 22. In 1874 he married Jane Davis who bore him 7 children, including 6 sons. He, and his brothers developed business interests in Latin America, especially successful of which were those in the Buenos Aires & Great Southern Railway where the Government guaranteed a 7% dividend.
In 1888 he became a director of the Manchester Ship Canal, and subsequently helped to bail out Barings Bank. Thus he came to the attention of the MSLR Board which he was invited to join. He formed a syndicate with £4m capital to underwrite the London extension. Amongst his achievements with the GCR was the brilliant acquisition of Sam Fay from the LSWR, probably Robinson as Locomotive Superintendent, and Dixon Davies as Sokicitor. He entered politics as Liberal-Unionist MP for West Staffordshire (between 1906 and 1913, and then briefly as MP for St George's Hanover Square until raised to the peerage, as Lord Faringdon, in 1916 he had been knighted in 1902. He was involved in acquiring the LD&ECR and in developing Immingham Docks. He was involved in merger proposals with the GNR, and later GER, but these were thrown out by Parliament. He resisted negotiating with the trade unions. At the grouping the GCR Board presented him with a portrait by Sir William Orpen which is kept at Buscot. He died in 1934 whilst still Deputy Chairman of the LNER. Significantly, he was given special responsibility for financial matters by the LNER's Board.
When 40 he purchased Buscot, Faringdon, for £80,000 where he
of fine books and paintings, especially those by the pre-Raphaelites:
Burcot is now a National Trust property.
See Backtrack, 2001, 15, 707.
Backtrack, 2002, 16, 174. letter by Bloxsom
Backtrack, 1996, 10, 266
He is not listed in the Oxford Companion, nor is he given adequate coverage in the gloss about the Great Central by Andrew Dow, but Martin Daunton in his Oxford Dictionary of National Biography does it make it very clear that the Great Central Railway was only a minor element in his vast financial interests, many of which were in South America.
Surnames beginning Ho
Richard Hodgson of Carham Hall, Coldstream, was Chairman of the North British Railway. He was responsible for introducing ruthless business methods in association with the General Manager, Thomas Rowbotham, and the possibly unfortunate William Hurst, Locomotive Superintendent. This led to a major financial scandal whereby the Scottish Wagon Company provided the NBR with rolling stock on a deferred payment basis (unfortunately, Hodgson and his associates had substantial holdings in the Wagon Co.). There is a suggestion that Hodgson may have also used a policy of railway promotion and acquistion to provide the NBR with financial momentum of the Hudson sort. The quest for lines in Northumberland, notably the Border Counties Railway led to the NBR acquiring its own access to Newcastle, but at the cost of permitting the NER running its trains into Edinburgh
Chairman of the Southern Railway from 1935 to 1944. Banker. Family seat probably near Tewkesbury. Sired several more famous children. H.A.V. Bulleid called him "genial" and argued that he was eager to update the Southern's steam locomotives and passenger rolling stock. He died in 1944. Portrait (in extraordinary company which included Stanier and Willie Wood) on plate 43 of Bulleid on Bulleid.
Ironmaster who was born on 16 February 1762 and died on 18 May 1822 and who arranged for Trevithick's locomotive to be run on his tramway. See Lawrence Ince biography of Homfray family in Oxford Dictionary of National biography.
Bonavia (British Rail: the first 25 years) noted that "the surprise appointment was in the North Eastern Region", where Charles Hopkins became the youngest CRO. He was one of the LNER's 'bright young men', his last post there being Assistant General Manager (Traffic and Statistics). The creation of a North Eastern Region had hung in the balance, the original idea being that all of the LNER in England would form one Region.
Howey, John Edwards Presgrave
Born on 17 November 1883 at Melford Grange near Woodbridge, Suffolk. Died 8 September 1963. Creator, and for many years owner and operator of the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway. To implement his ideas he was involved with Bassett Lowke, Henry Greenly and Gresley. Wealth based on ownership of real estate in centre of Melbourne, Australia. Educated at Eton and was a premium apprentice at Vickers. See Snell's One man's railway.
Born near York on 10 March 1800 and died in London on 14 December 1871. Subject of entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography by Michael Reed.
R.S. The railway king, 1800-1971: a study of George
Hudson and the business morals of his times. 1934.
Beaumont, Robert. The Railway King - a biography of George Hudson.
Review by Michael Rutherford noted "In the end, Beaumont seeks to persuade us that Hudson's achievements outweigh his business practice failings..."
Hill, Keith. On track to Westminster. . Backtrack, 2003, 17, 523-6.
Writer eventually who became BR Board's Parliamentary Communications Manager describes relationship between Members of Parliament and their interests in railways. including adventures of George Hudson (portrait), MP for York and much else besides for that City, are briefly outlined: this section was the subject of fairly sharp criticism from Christopher V. Awdry (letter page 715) on the relationship between Hudson and his great uncle Matthew Bottrill who funded some of Hudson's early schemes, but there was no insobriety in this relationship. .
Huish, [Captain] Mark
Born in Nottingham on 9 March 1808. Died at Bonchurch on Isle of Wight on 18 January 1867 (Gourvish ODNB). He had joined the East India Company and on return from India in 1839 he became Secretary & General Manager of the Glasgow, Paisley & Greenock Railway. In 1841 he became Secretary & General Manager of the Grand Junction Railway. From 1846 to 1858 he was General Manager of the LNWR, but resigned over policy matters, when he retired to Bonchurch.
Railway accidents. Min. Proc Instn civ. Engrs., 1851/2, 2.
1000 locomotive failures on LNWR involving 587 locomotives were examined
See Oxford Companion short biography by Terry Gourvish and full biography based upon PhD Thesis.
Chairman Cambrian Railways:1900- (Rly Mag., 1900, 7, 190)
Hurcomb, Cyril William
Born in Oxford on 18 February 1883. Died in Horsham on 7 August 1973?. Educated at Oxford University and career civil servant. Director General of Ministry of War Transport and made Chairman of British Transport Commission. His relationship with the Railway Executive was fraught with problems as related by Bonavia: The nationalisation of British transport. Entry in Oxford Companion by TG presumably Terry Gourvish Max Nicholson contributed an ODNB biography, from which the following has been extracted (it should be noted that Nicholson regards Hurcomb's involvement with the BTC as a glitch in an otherwise brilliant career.
Hurcomb's pallid complexion and worn appearance belied his toughness and stamina, just as his austere mien disguised his receptiveness as a listener and his great consideration for others. These, combined with his clarity of mind and tenacity of purpose, made him an outstanding negotiator. His manner was never ingratiating, but his arguments were fair and persuasive, winning respect if not always affection. Without being an expert on any subject he learned enough of a number to be taken seriously by experts, and to complement their expertise with his own wisdom
The letter which I [Bonavia] had drafted from Hurcomb to Missenden dated 13 April 1948 contained the following sentences:
It seems to me that the question of the future form of traction whether it is to be steam, electricity, Diesel-electric, Diesel-mechanical, or gas turbine is probably the most important long-term problem facing the railways to-day, and it is of course closely linked with the future price ratios and availability of the different fuels. . . .
A large main line electrification scheme [ex-LNER Manchester-Sheffield-Wath] is in progress. The Executive also have in hand proposals for prolonged technical trials of both Diesel-mechanical and gas turbine main line locomotives. But as regards Diesel-electric traction, there seems to be a disparity. We are still experimenting as though there were no large fund of technical knowledge and experience upon which to draw, and as though our engineers had not been studying the characteristics (as I assume they have been doing) of this form of traction for the past twenty years. Whilst American practice admittedly requires to be interpreted in the light of the smaller loads, shorter average length of haul, and more restricted loading gauge in this country, there should be no major technical questions which are quite unfamiliar.
Where our experience is lacking, is in the true level of maintenance and operating costs under British conditions, and the effects upon operating methods of turning over a complete group of services to diesel-electric traction. And only a large-scale experiment can give us the answer to these questions.
For this reason I was disappointed to read in Slim's letter of 23rd March that so limited an experiment as that now in hand in the London Midland Region is all that the Executive apparently contemplate at the moment.
You will remember that in the summer of 1947 the L.N.E.R. announced that they had prepared a scheme for the dieselisation of the Anglo-Scottish East Coast services, involving the construction of 25 single units in replacement of 32 "Pacific" type express passenger engines. Maintenance facilities were to be provided at London and Edinburgh, entirely separate from the steam locomotive facilities.
The Commission would, I think, like to know whether it is the fact that this scheme has now been shelved and whether the Executive have come to conclusions which differ radically from those which were formed by the L.N .E.R. Board last year. I cannot help feeling, however, that until a major scheme of the kind has been put into operation, we shall not have sufficient actual experience of the capabilities and costs of Diesel-electric traction in relation to steam and other forms of traction.
When eventually the Executive replied, in the following December, it was merely to inform the Commission that a Committee on Types of Motive Power had been set up.
Hyde, Walter Henry
Hyde followed the succesful Gooday as General Manager of the GER, but was forced to retire in 1914 aged only 50 due to the takeover of the LTSR by the Midland Railway.
Surnames beginning I
Chief Research Officer, British Transport Commission. Appointed in 1952 whilst Martin Herbert was in charge of British Railways' Research Department
Inglis, James Charles
Born in Aberdeen on 9 September 1851 (Marshall) and educated in the Grammar School and at Aberdeen University where he took prizes in natural science and mathematics. Following University, in 1870 he entered the shops of Messrs. Norman, Copland and Co., engineers and millwrights, Glasgow, where he stayed for two years. On the advice of the late Mr. Alexander Kirk, M.I.C.E., of Glasgow, he left Messrs. Norman's and became a pupil for three years to the late Mr. James Abernethy. During this pupilage Inglis was involved in dock and harbour work, and this included work on the Alexandra Railways and Docks at Newport. In 1875 he joined the South Devon Railway, under P.J. Margary, M.I.C.E., then Chief Engineer of that line and of the Cornwall Railway. Inglis's early employment at Plymouth was on the construction of the deep water quays and works at Millbay, and subsequently on the heavy doublings and work then in progress on the South Devon and Cornwall Railways.
On the absorption of the Sonth Devon Railway in 1878 by the Great Western Railway, Inglis joined the staff of the larger system, but soon left to enter private practice as a civil engineer at Plymouth, in which capacity he held various posts and performed varied engineering works. He was also involved in large works, such as the Princetown Railway, the Bodmin Branch Railway, the Boscarne extension, the reconstruction of the great South Devon viaducts at Cornwood, Ivybridge and beyond, Marley Tunnel, etc. This varied experience was soon to tell, and in June, 1892, the Great Western Railway directors invited him to rejoin the Company as Assistant-Engineer at Paddington. In October, 1892, or only four months after his arrival at Paddington, Mr. Inglis was appointed Chief Engineer.
From the above recital it will be seen that Mr. Inglis had for a lengthened period dealt with heavy issues and varied problems, an excellent trainingin conjunction with his intimate knowledge of the Great Western Railway's systemfor the responsible post of General Manager of the Great Western Railway. He was a Lient. Colonel in the Railway Staff Corps, was Vice-President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a prominent member of the Engineering Standards Committee. Died Rottingdean on 19 December 1911 (Marshall)
One must ponder on the relationship between Inglis, a very great civil engineer and manager, and Churchward, the great mechanical engineer. He was succeeded as General Manager by Frank Potter..
The Engineers Department. Rly
Mag., 1, 519.
As General Manager: Rly Mag., 1903, 13, 156 includes portrait on p. 152
As General Manager: Rly Mag., 1908, 22, 89
Jack Simmons: Oxford Companion p.222
Inglis, [Dr] John
Proprietor of A. & J. Inglis, shipbuilders and engineers on the Clyde, John Inglis was Chairman of the NBR locomotive committee and had encouraged the development of the Atlantics. Thomas (North British) notes this connection, but says no more about Inglis other than to note that the NBR only acquired Inglis vessels for its steamer services.
Surnames beginning K
Joined the Caledonian Railway in 1892; by 1897 was night stationmaster at Carlisle. By 1910 was superintendent of the Western Division of the Caledonian Railway and by 1916 was superindent of the line, becoming in charge of the Northern Division after the formation of the LMS. Responsible in 1928 for an investigation into the state of the Clogher Valley Railway and a 37pp Report published by HMSO. Patterson: Clogher Valley Railway.
Surnames beginning L
General Manager of the GWR from 1887 (when aged 54) until his resignation in July 1896 following a long illnes. Prior to hisd appointment as General Manger he had been Chief Goods Manager from March 1879, and prior to that had worked for Pickford & Co. from 1847 before becoming Goods Superintendent at Paddington in May 1865. . McDermot History of the Great Western Railway rev. Clinker
Surnames beginning M
Manager of Listowell & Ballybunion Railway: information from Hennessey, R.A.S. One track to the future. Backtrack, 2005, 19, 437-41; and references therein
Maclure, Sir William
Director of Cambrian Railways (involved in unfair dismissal of official on that railway) and on Great Central Railway where son, W.G.P. was locomotive running superintendent. Jackson J.G. Robinson.
Nock (Great locomotives of the Southern Railway) (page 94) refers to Hugh McColl, Chief Clark at Ashford as a dour and Indomitable character, who had been brought to Ashford from Kilmarnock by James Stirling,. According to Mock he mellowed under Maunsell.
Born 18 February 1911, Died 29 January 2003. Educated at Eton and Cambridge. (Who was Who).Bonavia thought highly of him (Railways South East, 1993, 3, 182). He was General Manager of the Southern Region between 1963 and 1968. He had come to the Region from London Transport where he had been Chief Commercial and Public Relations Officer. He had a distinguished WW2 record and held the OBE. He was the son of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and enjoyed independent means.
Management of design. (Sir Seymour Biscoe Tritton lecture). J. Instn Loco Engrs., 1966, 56, 318-29,
In charge of Research Department on LMS and then in similar capacity for British Railways until his retirement if 1961. Clashed with Colin Inglis, Chief Research Officer of British Transport Commission.
Matheson, Donald Alexander
Born in Perthshire in 1860. Educated at Perth Academy and Watt College, Edinburgh. Last General Manager and Consulting Engineer of the Caledonian Railway: appointed 1 October 1910 until 1922, then General Manager of London Midland and Scottish Railway in Scotland, 192326. and retired 31 December 1926 (SLS Caledonian Railway centenary). Trained as a Civil Engineer and worked for LNWR. Brought in as Resident Engineer to the Glasgow Central Railway which was creating a great financial drain for the Caledonian Railway (Nock: Caledonian Railway)died 10 December 1935 (Who Was Who). Member of Engineering Standards Committee; Past Vice-President of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland; Lt-Col Engineer and Railway Staff Corps; Member of the Government Railway Executive Committee during WW1; Chairman of the General Managers Conference of the Associated Railway Companies of Great Britain, 1917. Director of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and of several charitable institutions; has designed and constructed many railway engineering works of magnitude
Matthews, Sir Ronald
Born 25 June 1885. Died 1 July 1959. Educated at Eton. (Who Was Who). Sir Ronald Matthews lived in Doncaster, and was also Chairman of the Sheffield firm of Turton Brothers and Matthews, and had been Master Cutler. Both Gresley and Thompson were his house guests, and evidently close, as Prudence, one of the Matthews daughters, recalls them as 'Uncle Tim' and 'Uncle Ned'. On paper. Thompson should have been the automatic choice to succeed Gresley. but according to Stewart Cox, Sir Ronald made approaches to his opposite number on the Southern, to see if Bulleid could be enticed back, and the LMS, to enquire after the availability of Roland Bond, whom he had interviewed in connection with Bond's appointment to superintend the joint LNER/LMS locomotive testing station. However, Bulleid was engaged in the production of his new 'Merchant Navy' Pacifics, and Bond had just been put in charge of the workshops at Crewe, so neither could be spared. Consequently, here being no other obvious candidates for the post, without further delay, Matthews appointed Edward Thompson as CME of the LNER, the decision being confirmed at the Board Meeting on 24th April, 1941, just 19 days after Gresley's passing. Hughes: Sir Nigel Gresley.
Surnames beginning "Mi"
Milne, [Sir] James
Born in Dublin, 4 May 1883. Father was a Scottish Presbyterian minister. Educated High School Dublin, Campbell College, Belfast, Victoria University Manchester and pupil of Churchward at Swindon. MICE. Then moved to GWR Headquarters where he was concerned with statistics. He became director of statistics at new Ministry of Transport in 1919, but returned to GWR in 1922 as AGM and became GM in 1929. He was knighted in 1932. During WW2 he was deputy-chairman of the Railway Executive Committee. He was opposed to Nationalization, but offered chairmanship of Railway Executive, but declined it. Died in 1958.
Geoffrey Channon in Dictionary of Business Biography
Missenden, Sir Eustace James
Born 3 March 1886 (Who Was Who): son of a station master and early school leaver (which according to Bonavia Railways South East 1993, 3, 182) gave him a chip on his shoulder. Joined SECR in 1899. Not in ODNB, but in Oxford Companion (entry written by Michael Bonavia). Bonavia also contributed some sharp observations in British Rail: the first 25 years noting that Missensen accepted [the Chairmanship of the Railway Executive], though with the private intention of retiring before too long... he was a very competent railwayman, experienced more on the operating than the commercial side, and very loyal to the practices of the Southern Railway. He was a good organiser and knew how to delegate; he looked after the interests of those subordinates who had served him well. He firmly declined to work over-long hours and was careful, perhaps even fussy, over his health. He lacked both the warm, extrovert personality of his precedessor at Waterloo, Gilbert Szlumper, and the intellectual and managerial distinction of Sir Herbert Walker (to whom he had given great admiration); he did not move easily in Government circles, being suspicious of both politicians and civil servants. He found himself out of his element in trying to coordinate a team of Executive Members who were in no way responsible to him in the way that railway departmental officers had been responsible to a General Manager. The method by which the team had been chosen had been a sort of musical chairs, designed to ensure that each former company obtained a fair crack of the whip. The Southern having provided the Chairman, the others were entitled to share the remaining posts, apart from that of Deputy Chairman. Died 30 January 1973..
Mitchell, Robert Proctor
Collaborated with Bassett-Lowke, latterly through Narrow Guage Railways Ltd, in the creation of miniature pleasure railways, but also in the running of the 15 inch version of the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Davies's The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway has little information about Mitchell except to note his involvement in pleasure lines at Rhyl and Southport and that he came from a wealthy ship-owning family and was probably experienced in maintaining engines.
General Manager of the GNSR since 1880. Formerly with NER in Newcastle area, including the management of Tyne Dock.
Rly Mag., 1899, 5, 289. Portrait
Moon, Sir Richard
Marshall: born in Liverpool on 23 February 1815 and died in Coventry on 17 November 1899. Rutherford stated that Moon "would spend no money to improve the company's services or safety until forced to". Reed is a major source of infomation and includes an excellent portrait (page 156).
Malcolm Reed (Oxford Companion p. 330) notes that Moon was appointed to LNWR when it was at its nadir point and that by careful financial management and progressive restructuring he restored the company to health. Michael Reed provides an Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry. (are any or all of the Reed's who have contributed to LNWR biography related?).
His endeavour to centralize led to the premature retirement of the brilliant engineer McConnell and his replacement by the equally innovative Ramsbottom.
Though not an engineer, Moon had a great and long-term
influence on the town [Crewe] and works. In early life he wished to go into
the church, but his father would have none of it, and he entered the family
commercial business in Liverpool. He was elected to the LNWR board in 1851
and within a year he had become most active in the company's affairs. According
to one who worked with him for years "he looked at the whole business as
an industrious and vigilant merchant caring for his own property". Through
his efforts gradually the board acquired more control over the various
departments and brought them into proper relation by regular supervision
through active committees, though only after Moon became chairman in 1861
could full effect be given to his principles, for he had opposition from
both directors and officials. For the 30 years from 1861 all his activities
were directed to the LNWR.
He was the man who backed Ramsbottom, pushed him, and was perhaps partly responsible for his breakdown in 1870-71. In his prime through the 1850s and 1860s Moon had little use for the veterans who entered railway service in the 1830s; Norris and Bell as well as Trevithick incurred his displeasure. He pushed and supported Webb, but Webb did not breakdown until long after Moon's day. The two men shared a common zeal for ordered management and economy, also an austerely religious outlook coloured by their love of organisation. Moon sponsored Ramsbottom's and Webb's big increases in salary for, uncommon among railway directors of his day, he was always willing to pay big money to get men of real ability. Moreover, he sanctioned regular increases for lesser fry if their chiefs put up proposals. He always ensured that adequate and timely finance was available for the big expansions at the Steelworks, and he was always willing to consider the manufacture of extraneous articles.
All his photographs show a grave and unemotional man, but he had a happy family life. David Stevenson recording that he was "a man of grave aspect with a pleasant smile, enhanced by its rarity; always approachable by those of his officers in whom he believed." In 1840 he married Eleanor Brocklebank, of Cumberland, and had six children. He was created a baronet in the 1887 Jubilee honours, but the baronetcy is now extinct. Like Ramsbottom he endowed a scholarship for LNWR men at Owens College. Soon after Lady Moon's death at the beginning of 1891 he gave up the LNWR chairmanship and did not remain a director. He died on 17 November 1899 and was buried at Bingley, near Coventry.
Continuous brakes: As a result made by the GER for through carriages to Birmingham: Moon presided over a. small gathering consisting of Sir Daniel Gooch (Great Western), Lord Colville (G.N.R.) and the Chairmen of the Caledonian, L.S.W.R., L.Y.R. and Midland Railways. Moon opened by referring to the Great Eastern's request [for through carriages to Birmingham], 'which has led me to consider the brake question seriously'. He thought 'the time would soon come when the Board of Trade would go to Parliament to compel the adoption of an automatic brake'. Webb claimed that most Locomotive Engineers were in favour of the vacuum brake pure and simple, but all the Chairmen at the meeting were of the opinion that it would be impossible to prevent the principle being made automatic. We finally decided that the Locomotive Engineers of the several Companies should meet to discuss the feasibility of adopting a universal continuous brake. Brown Great Northern locomotive engineers V. 1.
Joined LCDR as Accountant 35 years ago. Assisted Lord Cairns and Lord Salisbury in their investigation of finances of LCDR in 1869. See Rly Mag., 2, 481.
Surnames beginning "N"
Author of reminiscences of his career on the LNWR which culminated in his being Superintendent of the Line and responsible for the Company's links with the Railway Clearing House and for Royal train journeys.
Newnes, Sir George
Driving force behind Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. See Rly Mag., 2, 457.
Newton, George Bolland
Born Dulwich in 1838. Educated Charterhouse. Had hoped to enter university and become barister, but had to join North London Railway as a lad. He became Secretary in 1875 and General Manager in 1877. Lieut. Colonel in Engineer and Railway Staff Corps. Chairman N&SWJR. Auditor RCH. Associate Instn Civ. Engrs. Management of Railway Benovelent Institution. St John Ambulance Association. Hobbies included horses and dogs.
Rly Mag., 1898, 3, 217
Surnames beginning "O"
Oakley, Sir Henry
Born November 1823. Clerk at Somerset House; then Assistant at House of Commons; then clerk in GNR Secretay's office; Assistant Secretary; Accountant; Secretary and General Manager from 1870. With late William Grinling had uncovered the Redpath fraud. Illustrated Interview: Rly Mag., 2, 193..
Sunmaes beginning "P"
Patrick, William .
Born Strathaven in 1853. Educated Hamilton Academy and St John's Grammar School in Hamilton. Worked in Hamilton Gasworks and when aged 15 joined the General Manager's office of the Caledonian Railway. Worked as a Parliamentary clerk. In 1889 became Assistant Traffic Superintendent; then Assistant General Manager in 1891 and General Manager from 1 February 1900. Lieutenant-Colonel in the Engineer & Railway Staff Corps. Railway portrait gallery. Mr William Patrick. Rly Mag., 1900, 7, 385 + portrait on fp. Died 12 January 1901 (SLS Caledonian Railway centenary)..
Quaker industrialist from Darlington (born 31 May 1767 and died there on 31 July 1858) who brought George Stephenson to the Stockton & Darlington Railway and assisted with the establishment of Robert Stephenson & Co. Maurice W. Kirby has contributed biographies to the Oxford Companion to British railway history and to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as well as the book: The origins of railway enterprise: the Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1821-1863. Cambridge University Press, 1993 (and not in Dead Canary Library Service).
Perks, [Sir] Robert William
Born in London on 24 April 1849 and died there on 30 November 1834. Educated at King's College London and worked as a lawyer who specialised in the law relating to railways. He assisted Messrs. T.A. and C. Walker, contractors, and was involved in Barry Docks and the Manchester Ship Canal. He was Chairman of the Metropolitan District Railway during 1902-06 (the period of electrification) and had been solicitor to the Metropolitan Railway before then. He was a distinguished Methodist and was closely involved with the construction of Central Hall, Westminster. ODNB biography by O.A. Rattenbury revised by Clive D. Field. See also Stephen Halliday's Fraud, liquidation and ingratitude. Backtrack, 2008, 22, 437.
Born Spalding, Lincs., on 23 November 1878. Educated St Peter's School, York. Articled to solicitor, took his LLB (London) in 1902, with first-class honours; entered the North Eastern Railway eventually joining staff of the general manager, Sir George Gibb. In 1906 Gibb took over the management of the Metropolitan District and London Underground Electric Railways and took Pick with him. In the following year Gibb retired from his direct managerial responsibility and Pick was transferred to the staff of his successor, A.H. Stanley, later Lord Ashfield. Pick was closely associated with Stanley in the management of the underground railways and from 1912, the London General Omnibus Company. As traffic development officer (1909) and commercial manager (1912) he was responsible, in particular, for building up the system of bus routes in London and also for advertising. In 1917 Pick was appointed by his chief, then president of the Board of Trade in Lloyd George's wartime government, to take charge of the household fuel and lighting branch of the coal-mines control department, under Guy Calthrop. Returning to the underground group of companies after WW1, Pick became a joint assistant managing director in 1921 and three years later assumed full administrative control under Ashfield. He became joint managing director in 1928 and, when the London Passenger Transport Board was formed in 1933 with Ashfield as chairman, Pick became vice-chairman and chief executive officer.
It was the combination of Pick and Ashfield, rather than the individual work of either, that led to the remarkable development of public passenger transport in London: the two men were essentially complementary. Ashfield was at his best in dealing with politicians, shareholders, and the public. Pick was a very shy man, but a great administrator, responsible for the day-to-day efficiency of a system which technically was generally acknowledged to be without equal anywhere in the world. He had a very quick mind and an exceptional grasp of operating and engineering principles and techniques. There was no part of the transport undertaking of which he did not have a thorough understanding; and the power of decision came easily to him. Through his interest in the visual arts he encouraged good design in everyday things. He commissioned Edward Johnston to design an alphabet for display purposes (1916), and London Transport lettering on direction signs and posters became celebrated for its clarity. Pick raised the standard of poster design by seeking artists of quality, including Fred Taylor and McKnight Kauffer. Station design, ranging from the overall architecture to small details, was subject to Pick's personal scrutiny to ensure good design and fitness for purpose. The many examples of excellent contemporary architecture in the buildings erected by London Transport in Pick's time are lasting monuments to his ideals. Pick retired from the London Passenger Transport Board in 1940 and was for a short, unhappy time director-general of the Ministry of Information. In 1941 he undertook special duties for the minister of transport in connection with the development of traffic on canals and inland waterways. He died in Golders Green on 7 November 1941.
ODNB: John Elliot, revised Michael Robbins
Barman, C. The man who built London Transport: a biography of Frank Pick. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1979.
General Manager, Great Northern Railway (Ireland). Started railway career at Manchester London Road on LNWR in Goods Manager's Office. Moved to Euston to work in Rates Department. Divisional Manager for Shropshire & Herfordshire District and then moved to the Irish North Western Railway. In May 1890 became Secretary of the GNR(I) and was appointed General Manager in April 1896. Illustrated Interview. Rly Mag., 5, 385-400.
Pole, Sir Felix
Born in Little Bedwyn on 1 February 1877, Felix John Clewett Pole was the son of a schoolmaster. He became a telegraph lad on the GWR at Swindon on 12 October 1891. Under James Charles Inglis he became in charge of publicity and public relations. In 1912 he became responsible for staff and labour and Chief Clerk in June 1913. He became General Manager of the GWR in June 1921 and resigned in 1929 when his relationship with the Chairman, Viscount Churchill, became strained. He became Chairman of Associated Electrical Industries in 1928. During later life he became blind and died in Reading on 15 January 1956. Geoffrey Channon Dictionary of Business Biography also excellent entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Felix J.C. Pole: his book. 1954.
Ottley 5990: not available through inter-library lending system
Pole stated that "a railway does not know what each coach or each train on each direction carries." [Helm Backtrack 11 216..
See short feature on kindness of man: Great Western Railway Journal (34), 110.
Pollitt, Sir William
Born Ashton-under-Lyne on 24 February 1842. Educated privately. Joined MS&LR on 29 June 1857. Made Chief Accountatnt on 27 August 1869, and Assistant General Manager on 1 January 1886. He became a JP and Colonel in the Engineer and Volunteer Staff Corps. He was Chairman of the Wrexham Mold & Connah's Quay Railway, and was a Director of the CLC and several small railways.
The Managership of the Great Central Railway. Rly Mag., 1902, 10, 23-5.
Andrew Dow wrote a concise biography in the Oxford Companion (page 384)
Pope, Frank Aubrey
Born 3 August 1893. Died 15 January 1962. Educated at The Leys School (Who was who) entry which makes clear that Pope enjoyed a rich career: being called upon to offer expertise in India in 1932-3 and again in 1933-4. (he had served in Nigeria between 1925 and 1930). He was Director of Railways to the BEF in France in the early stages of WW2. Hendry states that Pope was trained on the LNWR; succeeded Speir on the NCC in 1941. In 1943 he was rewarded by becoming Chief Commercial Manager of the LMS, and became Vice President 1946. He became the Chairman of the UTA in 1948 where he introduced diesel railcars rebuilt from steam rolling stock. He was also responsible for closing the narrow gauge former NCC lines. In 1951 he joined the British Transport Commission, where he failed to become its Chairman, but remained with the BTC until 1958. Bonavia (British Rail: the first 25 years) tells of how he had been appointed Secretary to a Committee of which Pope was the Chairman Frank Pope, who had in fact been Hurcomb's nominee for the RE Chairmanship, but rejected by the Minister, initiated a greater insistence upon Commission participation in railway matters. His approach was based upon personal relationships rather than the written word; his views were strongly held but he was not very articulate on paper. Friendly (and preferably convivial) contacts were his chosen method of getting points across. Bonavia was appointed Secretary to a Committee of which Pope was Chairman. He sent for Bonavia and said: 'We are going to run this show as follows. At the first meeting, you will arrange a damned good lunch and we shall all get to know each other. At the second meeting, you will produce a draft of our final report. The rest of our meetings will be spent in getting your draft right'. One of Pope's interests - which was shared by Sir Reginald Wilson, the forceful Comptroller of the Commission - was the cost of the train services still maintained on minor lines and branches. The Executive had set up two committees to review unremunerative lines and, where appropriate, make recommendations for closure. But in the absence of any determined policy on the part of the Executive as a whole, progress was slow. In fact, over the six years of the Executive's existence the route-mileage only fell from 19,639 to 19,222, or by 2.1 per cent. In Northern Ireland, Pope had introduced diesel railcar services extensively and he was convinced that they were the answer to the problem of rural train services. He pressed the Executive to exploit their possibilities and the RE set up in August 1951 a rather oddly-named Light Weight Trains Committee, which reported with commendable speed in March 1952.
Portal, Wyndham Raymond
Last Chairman of the Great Western Railway: opponent of nationalisation, but according to ODNB biography (J.V. Sheffield revised by Robert Brown) was recognized by Attlee to have been great influence on attempting to alleviate poverty. Born into family of banknote paper manufacturers (Portals) at Overton in Hampshire on 9 April 1885. Educated Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. Director GWR: Chairman from 1945, by which time he had been created a Vscount. Died 6 May 1949.
Portal, Sir Wyndham Spencer
Born 22 July 1822; died 14 September 1905. Educated at Harrow and Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Military career. Director of LSWR from 1861; Deputy Chairman, 1875; Chairman, 189299. Owned Laverstoke Bank Note Paper Mills. Created a baronet in 1901. Who Was Who.
General Manager of GWR in succession to James Inglis who died in December 1911. Born in 1856. Joined GWR in 1869 as a lad in the Goods Department at Paddington. In 1904 he became chief assistant to Inglis in 1904. On Inglis' death Potter succeeeded, but he in turn died in St Ives on 23 July 1919: "worn out by the strain and anxieties of the last four years" (of WW1). He in turn was succeeded by Charles Aldington. McDermot History of the Great Western Railway rev. Clinker
Surnames beginning "R"
Originally employed by the Furness Railway as its Locomotive Superintendent eventually became General Manager.
Traffic Manager, Southern Railway. Encountered in Kevin Robertson's Leader: the full story being credited with being the accidental instrument leading towards the Leader class: he wished for a modern tank engine to replace the M7 class used for empty stock movements into and out of Waterloo. The M7 class soldiered on until replaced by BR standard types!
Robertson, [General Sir] Brian Hubert
Born Simla, India, 22 July 1896. Educated Charterhouse School and Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Commissioned Royal Engineers in 1914. During WW1 served in France winning the MC, three mentions in dispatches and DSO. In 1935 became managing director of Dunlop, South Africa. During WW2 he was recalled as a reserve officer in the South African forces. He became a successful military administrator, and following the War he was the military administrator responsible for restoring the economic, social, and political life of West Germany for five years at a time which included the blockade of Berlin. In 1950 Robertson became commander-in-chief middle east land forces, but in 1953 he became chairman of the British Transport Commission. Here he was under insistent but diverse political pressures. In 1961 he was created Baron Robertson of Oakridge. He did not suffer fools gladly and he could be daunting; but those who penetrated this carapace found affection, kindness, and a sense of fun, particularly apparent with the young, with whom he liked to relax in strenuous outdoor sports. He was a natural leader, and an able linguist and public speaker, endowed with a brilliant analytical brain He had a strong Christian faith, and a deep sense of loyalty to his country. Robertson died on 29 April 1974 at Far Oakridge, Gloucestershire. Charles Richardson (ODNB).
Bonavia (British Rail: the first 25 years) succinctly summarised Sir Brian Robertson arrival to preside over the assortment of businesses, some vast in scale, which the Transport Act of 1953 had put directly under the Commission, the first reaction of the staff was that now a real leader had appeared. Sir Brian was a man of commanding presence and great integrity, expecting and receiving respect. Some mistook his icy manner (based upon shyness) for arrogance. C.K. Bird, when General Manager of the Eastern Region, once observed to some of his officers: 'The Chairman is the most fairminded and impartial man I have ever met. He hates us all equally'. CKB's mordant wit had led him into misjudgment. Sir Brian expected complete loyalty from those who worked with him; he did not necessarily look for intellectual brilliance. The nearest thing to a twinkle in the Chairman's eye that some of us ever saw was when, describing in military 'briefing' style the new organisation at headquarters, he remarked: 'And Sir Reginald Wilson will now become a Commission Member pure if not simple'.
Royden, Sir Thomas
Born in Liverpool on 22 May 1871 into a family of shipowners. Educated at Winchester and Magdalen College, Oxford. He was a director of many companies including Cunard. In 1941 he succeeded Stamp as Chairman of the LMS. Died at Alresford on 6 November 1950. ODNB entry by F.A. Bates revised by Adrian Jarvis.
See Whitehouse and St John Thomas' LMS 150 page 37 for photographic and pen portaits of Royle who had joined the L&YR, became Chief Operating Officer of the LMS in 1938, and a Vice President in 1944. He briefly became Deputy Chief Regional Officer of the LMR, but retired in 1948.
Surnames beginning Sa-
Sackville, Lord (Arthur Cecil)
Arthur Cecil; born in 1848, brother of then Prime Minster; whilst at Cambridge had travelled with footplate crews and guards of GER trains; worked in shops at Stratford. Assistant Traffic Manager, GER; Carriage Dept of GNR at Doncaster, and lastly General Manager, Metropolitan District Railway. Rly Mag., 2, 282 (obituary)
Salisbury, Marquis of
Chairman of the Great Eastern from 1868-1871: took the railway out of Chancery and the Company was able to pay a small dividernd on its ordinary shares. Publicly stated that the Liverpool Street extension was "one of the greatest mistakes ever committed in connection with a railway." Also co-arbitrator, with Lord Cairns on finances of LCDR (award 24 February 1871).
Allen, C.J.: The Great Eastern
Scott Damant: Rly Mag., 1, 571
Sarle, [Sir] Allen
Sarle was born at Westness, Rousay, Orkney, of Cornish parentage in 1828. He was educated at Selkirk Grammar School and the High School in Edinburgh. He was a junior clerk in the office of an Edinburgh stockbroker. In 1848 he moved to the London office of the Shropshire Union Railway Company and when this amalgamated with the LNWR he moved to the Audit Office of the London & Brighton Railway. In 1854 he became the Accountant and in 1867 the Secretary and in 1885 the Secretary/General Manager. The function was divided again in 1898. He was knighted in 1896. In 1867 there was a financial crisis on the LBSCR and all the executive officers, other tha Sarle, were forced to resign. Samuel Laing MP and a new Board were appointed and they developed the company to become highly profitable. He would appear to be an excellent candidate for a full biography.
Born 24 December 1820. Appointed as Assistant Secretary to the South Wales Railway in 1844, becoming Chief Secretary in 1849. When his uncle, Charles Saunders retired as Secretary to the Great Western in 1863, Frederick filled his place and when he resigned from this post in June 1886, he was made a Director of the company. Succeeding Gooch in 1889, he retired in June 1895 although he remained a member of the Board until his death at Reading on 1 January 1901. Great Western Railway Trust website
The promotion of the Oswestry & Newtown Railway was a joint affair between the local land owners, the better-off tradesmen, and the contractors. In the case of all the early Cambrian lines the party of the third part was Thomas Savin, at this time in partnership with David Davies. Not only did they actively promote the railways, but they became involved with the financing of them, and for a time operated them on lease. Kidner: Cambrian Railways.
Scotter, Sir Charles
Ellis (South Western Railway) called him "progressive". became General Manager of the LSWR in March 1885 and remained in that post until he became Chairman of the Board between 1904 and 1910 when he died on 13 December. He was born in Kingston upon Hull on 22 October 1835 (Railway Magazine 1, 385 Illustrated Interview) (Who Was Who adds full date) and joined the railway as a junior clerk in the MSLR's Hull goods depot; by 1860 he had become the Passenger Superintendent of the MSLR, and in 1872 he became the Company's Assistant General Manager, and in 1873 the General Manager. In 1885 he became the General Manager of the LSWR. He was largely responsible for the LSWR acquiring Southampton Docks, of developing the privilege ticket system and of encouraging traffic to Bournemouth. He was a Lt Col in the Railway Engineer and Volunteer Staff Corps and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
Selbie, Robert Hope
General Manager, Metropolitan Railway. Son of Rev. R.W. Selbie of Salford. Born 1868. Educated Manchester Grammar School and Owens College of Victoria University, Manchester. Joined L&YR where he rose to position of Assistant to Traffic Manager. Became Secretary to Metropolitan Railway in June 1903. See Rly Mag., 1908, 23, 336 (includes port)
Surnames beginning Sm-
Educated at Cheltenham College. Entered service with LNWR, 1896; District Goods Manager at Liverpool from 1902, Wo1verhampton from 1911, Birmingham from January 1914. Outdoor Goods Manager, Northern Division (at Liverpool), LNWR from May 1914. General Manager, Furness Railway from 15th April 1918. Retired from railway May 1923. (Peter Robinson, Backtrack, 2005, 19, 763).
Currie (Northern Counties Railway, v 2) states that Speir was born on 6 February 1887 into an old Scottish family and was educated at Radley. He joined the Midland Railway at Derby and was sent to America in 1909/10 to study railway management there. On return he joined the Caledonian Railway. He was awarded the Military Cross during WW1 and according to Currie was a tall, spare, dynamic man. Rutherford notes that he used the title Major following the War Between 1931 and 1941 Speir was General Manager of the Northern Counties Committee in Northern Ireland. In 1941 he returned to Scotland as Chief Officer of the LMS in Scotland. His period in Ulster was associated with a dynamic approach during a difficult economic period: this included the introduction of colour light signalling and high speed operation on single lines. Currie notes that the 2-6-0 type was due to him and these were used on the North Atlantic Express between Belfast and Portrush. No. 90 was named Duke of Abercorn after it had hauled the Governor General's train to open the Greenisland loop started by his predecessor Pepper. Nock in Out the line notes that he was full of energy and a great Christian gentleman. On the NCC he was succeeded by what must have been regarded as strangely named Frank Pope..
Speyer. Sir Edgar
Born New York on 7 September 1862: German Jewish origins. Moved to London in 1887. Financed railways, including London Underground. Naturalized British in 1892. During WW1 accused of pro-German activities and fled to USA. His British nationality was revoked in 1921. Died in Berlin on 16 February 1932. Built large house on cliffs at Overstrand in Norfolk, still extant as hotel, where accused of signalling to German submarines. ODNB biography by Theo Barker. See also Stephen Halliday's Fraud, liquidation and ingratitude. Backtrack, 2008, 22, 437. KPJ wonders if the Overstrand loop was constructed to provide smooth transit from London to Overstrand for Speyer and his friends.
Stafford, John Herman
Joined L&YR in 1849 in Secretary's Office, became Secretary in 1875 and General Manager in1890. See Rly Mag., 2, 97.
Richard de Aquila Grosvenor, fourth son of the Marquis of Westminster, was born on 28 January 1837. He was educated at Westminster School and Cambridge. He was MP (Liberal) for Flintshire and was created a Privy Councillor in 1872. He succeeded Moon as Chairman o fhte LNWR, and in turn handed over to Claughton in 1911, having retired in the February. He died on 18 May 1912 in London. See M.C. Reed who stated that Stalbridge was "no stranger to the footplate".
Born 1847; died 4 November 1925. General Manager, GNR 18981902; formerly Manager of Highland Railway, 1897-8.. Who Was Who..
Stephens, Holman Frederick
Pupil of J.J. Hanbury, Superintendent of the Metropolitan Railway's Neasden works and running department. He was resident engineer of the Cranbrook & Paddock Wood Railway. He died following a paralytic stroke in 1931 aged only 63. See Morgan. The Colonel Stephens railways. 1978..
Stirling, John of
Born in 1811 (Ellis North British Railway) who beacame Laird of Kippendavie when aged five. Chairman of the Scottish North Eastern Railway and subsequently of the North British Railway in 1866 which according to Ellis he rejuvenated. Died in 1882.. John Thomas (North British) claimed that the Railway Times (full source not given) stated that Kippendavie's approach to the Caledonian Railway was like a "dog returning to its vomit". He was eager for the two companies to amalgamate and achieved the approval of both Boards for this in November 1871, but this was thwarted by John Montieth Douglas, an accountant and shareholder, who showed that the finances relating to the Caledonian Railway given to the NBR Board members had not been approved by the CR. Remarkably not in Oxford Dictionary of English National Biography..
Sutherland, Duke of (third)
George Granville William Leveson-Gower (Marshall files him unnder italicised portion) was born on 18 December 1828 probably at Trentham (becoming the Marquis of Stafford). P.J.G. Ransom's Narrow gauge steam paints a sympathetic picture of the Duke's contributions to railway history whereas Eric Richards (ODNB) portrays him as a playboy who lived off his ancestors' infamous Highland clearances. P.J.G. Ransom's The Mont Cenis Fell Railway shows the deep financial involvement in this short-lived venture (the tunnel killed off the narrow gauge line over the pass) and on page 53 shows how Stroudley designed a Fell type locomotive fo the Duke. The Duke died at the aptly-named Dunrobin Castle on 22 September 1892. He was a Director of the LNWR and of the Highland Railway. He appears to have been a Pupil of J.E. McConnell at Wolverton where he learned how to drive a locomotive: he subsequently drove many famous people to Dunrobin Castle.
Szlumper, Gilbert Savill
Surnames beginning T
General Manager, Caledonian Railway. Entered as a lad in 1848. By 1856 he was the chief clerk in the Goods Manager's office in Glasgow. In 1865 he was promoted to be a district officer in Edinburgh. In 1866 he returned to Glasgow as Manager of the Western & Southern Districts. In 1870 he advanced to be General Goods Manager and in 1882 he became General Manager. He justified the heavy capital cost of the Glasgow Central Railway. Resigned 31 January 1900 (SLS Caledonian Railway centenary). See Railway Magazine Illustrated Interview. 1, 289.
Thornton, [Sir] Henry Worth
Thornton was born in Logansport in Indiana on 6 November 1871 and died in New York on 14 March 1933 (Marshall). Allen (in both his histories of the GER and the LNER) is strong on this fascinating personality, and the significance of a major might-have-been if Thotnton had been offered the post of Chief General Manager on the LNER. Allen actually worked directly for Thornton in producing statistics in graphical form for him during his general managership of the Great Eastern. His appoinment at the age of 41 must be regarded as one of Lord Claude Hamilton's great achievements. The Great Eastern Board had clearly been shocked by the Midland's acquistion of the Tilbury line and sought more dynamic management in the shape of an American, who had been General Superintendent of the Long Island Rail Road. He was strong on technical, traffic and adminstrative qualifications, and his experience of electrification might be useful. He was appointed in May 1914. He was a big and burly figure with a fresh-complexioned face and was accessible to staff. He instigated higher levels of remuneration for the senior staff and this was to create problems following the Grouping. He was a great believer in the creation of specific committees to address particular problems: there was a timetable committee, for instance. In 1917, following the retirement of Horace Wilmer, Thornton additionally took over the role of Chief Engineer, but in March 1919 he relinquished this role when John Miller, who had also served on the Long Island Rail Road, took over the Chief Engineer's duties.
It is tempting to postulate what might have become of the Great Eastern under Thornton if there had been no World War and no amalgamation in 1923. The LNER, under its coal and steel orientated Board, considered suburban development an alien occupation. In consequence, suburban development in Essex and Hertfordshire remained less advanced than in the Metropolitan's Chilterns and Sir Herbert Walker's Southern. Earlier electric trains to the fringes of the Epping Forest and to the Blackwater and Clacton might have balanced development elsewhere: Harlow might have been a middle class suburb, rather than a new town. The Buntingford branch might still be with us and Hertford might have become another Guildford. The obituary in J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1933, 23, 600 states that Thornton died on his birthday, but this at variance with the data in Who Was Who and in Marshall..
Treffry, Joseph Thomas
Baptised 1 May 1872 in Plymouth and died at Place, near Fowey (where he had been Squire) on 1 May 1782.. ODNB biography by Jack Simmons (revised Edmund Newell). Driving force behind Cornwall Minerals Railway to connect his mines with ports at Fowey and Newquay. Began with a canal which connected Par Harbour with Pontsmill which connected with a railway which involved a 1 in 10 incline worked by a water wheel to acsend the Luxulyan Valley which it then crossed on a viaduct. The exit from Newquay Harbour was even more steeply graded (1 in 4½) and included a tunnel followed by the Trenance Viaduct. To reach Fowey required the long Pinnock Tunnel. The through rout opened for freight on 1 June 1874 and to passengers on 20 June 1876. The GWR worked the line from 1 October 1877. MacDermot History of the Great Western.
Turner, George Henry
Was born in Bridgewater, Somerset in 1836 and joined the railway in 1849. In 1853 he became a goods clerk on the MR at Bristol; he rose to become Chief Clerk in Birmingham; Chief Goods Agent in Nottingham in 1875; the Chief Goods Canvasser at Derby in 1878; the Goods Manager for the GSWR in 1880, but returned to the same post on the MR in 1882. In 1891 he became Assistant General Manager and in the following year General Manager. He was a JP in the County of Derby and Colonel in the Engineer & Railway Volunteer Corps. Railway Magazine Illustrated Interview 1, 97.
Vivian, Hugh (Captain)
Chairman of GWR Locomotive Committee and of Beyer Peacock.
Surnames beginning "W"
Walker, [Sir] Herbert Anscombe
Born London 15 May 1868; died London 29 September 1949. Educated North London Collegiate School and Bruges. Joined LNWR. In 1893 made District Superintendent, North Wales Division in 1893; in 1902 he became District Superintendent Euston, when he visited the USA to study American practice. In 1912 he became the General Manager of the LSWR where he instigated the programme of electrification. He received a knighthood in 1915. After a frustrating year of indecision on the part of the Southern Railway's Board he was appointed General Manager of the Southern Railway where he encouraged the electrification programme. In this respect he was a major influence on steam locomotive develooment, or the lack of it, on the Southern. He retired in 1937. He was a strong advocate of the Channel Tunnel. Marshall. Oxford Companion (by Michael Bonavia), an ODNB good entry by Colin Watson who noted Walker was physically well made, having stamina and a commanding presence. He looked what he was, a man who knew his job and meant to do it and had a remarkable memory. and C.F. Klapper's Sir Herbert Walker's Southern Railway. 1972.
Walker, Sir Robert
Born 18 March 1890: educated Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. herditary owner of Sand Hutton Estate (North East of York): built a 15 inch railway, much of the equipment from which went to the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Following WW1 converted this system to 18 inch gauge to serve large agricultural estate. Used four Hunslet 0-4-0WT locomotives from WW1 government meat depot at Deptford (WN 1207/1916 and 1289-91/1917. Director of Derwent Valley Light Railway. Died 11 February 1930. See W.J.K. Davies' Light railways.
Watkin, [Sir] Edward
Born in Salford on 26 September 1819 and died in Northenden (Manchester) on 13 April 1901 (Marshall). Great opponent of James Staats Forbes when they were respective Chairmen of SER and LCDR. Meddled in locomotive affairs by the appointment of his son as Locomotive Superintendent of the South Eastern Railway. Builder of railway empires: creator of the Great Central Railway. Chairman of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway, the South Eastern Railway and the Metropolitan Railway. Sought to construct Channel Tunnel and the Wembley Tower. See also S.A. Griffin. Edward Watkin - an appreciation. Backtrack, 1998, 12, 659-61.which states that two of Watkins "unqualified successes" were the sale of the Trent Valley Railway and the formation of the Cheshire Lines Committee. The former was incorporated in 1845 to by-pass Birmingham and a consortium was organized to purchase the railway which in turn led to the formation of the LNWR in 1846. The latter was created by the MSLR and the GNR in 1862 and the Midland joined in 1866. The usual tale of Watkin's dream of a Manchester to Paris railway aided by his Chairmanship of the MSLR, SER and Metropolitan Railway is told, as is its progress being thwarted by Forbes of the LCDR and MDR. Watkin's last great venture was in West Lancashire where he attempted to reach Blackpool, partly by extending the Cheshire Lines Extension Railway (to Southport) over the West Lancashire Railway and partly by the North West Central Railway from the GNR Keighley branch to Penwortham Junction outside Preston via Colne. See letters in volume 13 (page 109) by Kidner, (illus on page 661 is of Metropolitan District Railway not as stated and SER did not run Pullman cars - they owned American-type cars purchased in 1891).Braine (Relationship between Moon and Watkin (plus attributions of statements challenged), and especially of sale of Trent Valley Railway), and Hodgins [Forbes and Channel Tunnel, sale of Trent Valley Railway, and lines to Blackpool. (Writer is working on biography of Watkin)].and reply to these by author on page 221. illus.: Photograph; Sir Edward Watkin; also Dow's Great Central and http://www.watkins.net.au/ .
Watson, Sir Arthur
Born in Manchester on 18 September 1873. Died 13 April 1954. Educated Manchester Grammar School and Victoria University, Manchester. Trained as Civil Engineer and rose to be Chief Assistant Engineer to LYR 190510; then became Superintendent of the Line, 191018; Chairman of the Superintendents Conference at the Railway Clearing House, London, 191518; Assistant General Manager, 191819; General Manager, 191920; General Manager London and North-Western Railway, 192123; First General Manager of the LMS, 192324. Member of the Permanent Commission of the International Railway Association, 1922. Founder Member of Institute of Transport. Latterly much involved in hospital management. Marshall Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. V. 2 and Who Was Who.
Wedgwood, Ralph Lewis
Allen states that Ralph Lewis Wedgwood was born at Barlaston Lea, Stoke-on-Trent, on 2nd March, 1874, the third son of Clement Francis Wedgwood and great-great-grandson of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the far-famed pottery firm bearing his name. He was thus inheritor of the great radical and intellectual traditions associated with Wedgwood and Darwin; his great-uncle by marriage was, indeed, Charles Darwin himself. Ralph was educated at Clifton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where at the age of 22 he took a first in the Moral Philosophy Tripos. Forthwith he was invited by Sir George Gibb to join the staff of the North Eastern Railway, and accepted without hesitation. That this young intellectual, scion of a distinguished family, should have opted for what might well have seemed to him anything so mundane as railway service is explicable because from his early days, like so many "spotters" of later years, he had developed a deep interest in, and affection for, railways and trains. His brother Frank had been bitten in the same way, and it is not without interest that the latter became a director, first of the North Staffordshire and later of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway.
Ralph Wedgwood was recruited by G.S. Gibb of the NER and started his railway career on Tees-side (on a salary of £120 p.a.), there gaining familiarity with traffic and dock working, and becoming District Superintendent at Middlesbrough in 1902. Then, in 1904, at the early age of 30, he was appointed Secretary to the North Eastern Railway. His interest, however, was in the Traffic Department and a year later, at his own request, he returned to that department as Divisional Goods Manager at Newcastle. In 1911 he became Assistant Goods Manager at York, and succeeded Eric Geddes as Chief Goods Manager on the latter being appointed Deputy General Manager in the same year. When Philip Burtt, the NER Passenger Manager, retired in 1914, Wedgwood added the duties of this office to his own, and in all these appointments thus gained an exceptionally wide experience of the traffic side of railway business.
Then came the First World War, in which Wedgwood volunteered for service, being transferred, after a spell in the Transport Establishment in France, to the Ministry of Munitions. From 1916 to 1919 he was Director of Docks, under the Director-General of Transportation in France, with the rank of Brigadier-General. Much of his life during this period was spent in a sleeping car, and he often used to look back with nostalgia on this existence in such typically railway surroundings. His war service was rewarded by the bestowal of the C.B. and the C.M.G. He then returned to the North Eastern Railway in 1919 as Deputy General Manager, and succeeded Sir Alexander Butterworth as General Manager from the beginning of 1922, finally becoming Chief General Manager of the London & North Eastern Railway from the formation of the Company in 1923.
In 1924 he was knighted, and in 1942, on his retirement from the Railway Executive Committee, a baronetcy was conferred on him. Among many other activities of a busy life, Wedgwood was President of the Confederation of Employers' Organisations for the year 1929-1930, a member of the Weir Committee on Main Line Electrification in 1930-1931, and a member of the Central Electricity Board from 1931 to 1946; he was also Chairman of the Committee of Enquiry into Indian Railways in 1936 and 1937.
As Chief General Manager of the LNER, Sir Ralph was the embodiment of the classical quality gravitas, and, certainly to the younger elements, a somewhat awe-inspiring figure. To some extent this austerity of demeanour and outlook was accentuated by the form of organisation adopted by the company, with the Chief General Manager at the summit of a pyramid, supported by the Area General Managers, who coped with much of the hurly-burly of daily work. But the awe owed much more to the intellectual power which Wedgwood brought to bear on every item reaching his desk, and the lucidity with which his views and judgments were expressed. His letters on major subjects, and his policy directives, were couched in language which had all the force and authority of Papal encycicals. The recipients therefore were under some compulsion to put forth their best into any action that was necessary, or any reply that they were required to make.
But with all this, it must not be thought that Wedgwood ever ceased to be a railwayman to the core. The railway lore acquired in his earliest days, and the practical first-hand experience of railway working that he had gained on Tees-side in the tough first years of his railway life, never left him. Thus he was always able to appreciate every detail of the proposals and plans put before him by his officers, and to master, not only their intrinsic merits, but also their significance in the general scheme of things. The officers sponsoring major schemes, as in discussion he sat opposite them in isolation at his desk, realised that he was just as familiar with what was being proposed as they were.
His great gifts showed at their best when he was in the witness-box. It was no small satisfaction to the railway lawyers when, in any major case, they were to have him as witness. He was always a complete master of his brief, for as a preliminary he would go to the greatest lengths in order to marshal all the relevant facts, foreseeing any possible line of attack that opposing counsel might take. Moreover, his alert mind was proof against any surprise question shaking him in cross- examination, and not infrequently he caused counsel on the other side to retire frustrated. One outstanding tribute to Wedgwood's competence in this field was paid by a former Chief Officer of the London Midland & Scottish Railway, A.J. Pearson, in his book, The Railways and the Nation, in which he wrote: "Sir Ralph Wedgwood's name was a household word on British railways between the wars. One of the beacons of his career was the evidence he gave to the Railway Rates Tribunal in the great revision of railway charges of 1920-1927 when he was in the witness-box day after day under cross-examination. It was a wonderful performance, and his patience and endurance were remarkable", A tribute to his powers also was made by Lord Brabazon when the latter was Minister of Transport during the early part of the Second World War. After sitting-in at a session of the Railway Executive Committee, the Minister remarked that it all seemed very complicated to him, but added that nowhere, even among the top echelons of the Civil Service, had he heard such quick and incisive arguments as those of Sir Ralph.
If, at these Olympian heights, Wedgwood was sometimes felt to be a little aloof from the rhythm of the railway, it was because smoking concerts and similar "get-togethers" were not altogether in his line of country, and it was not his way to assume any unnatural semblance of heartiness. On the other hand the Chairman, William Whitelaw, had a natural gift for presiding acceptably on such occasions, and Wedgwood was therefore wise enough to leave the representation of the higher command as far as possible to Whitelaw at such social events. Nevertheless, behind a somewhat formidable exterior the former concealed a very human personality. His pithy and pertinent comments of any item of news, or his witty sallies provoked by quite ordinary incidents in daily life, were a joy to hear. And when once, in the quiet hours of the day at Liverpool Street Station, he was seen to try walking up a descending escalator, remarking "I've always wondered how difficult it was", one felt that the eternal boy was not far below the surface.
This being so, it is not surprising that the policy of introducing Britain's first high speed streamline train, the "Silver Jubilee", was one for which he was personally responsible. In this he was fortunate in having the collaboration, as Chief Mechanical Engineer, of Sir Nigel Gresley, who produced the fine locomotives and rolling stock needed to make this express and its successors, the "Coronation" and "West Riding Limited", the outstanding success that they were. His admiration for Sir Nigel was great, and the two men, so unlike in many ways, were close friends. On being told of Gresley's untimely death in 1941, Sir Ralph was deeply moved. His comment, so typical of the speaker, might well have been used as Sir Nigel's epitaph: "A great Englishman whose ancestors fought at Agincourt".
Such, in a few words, is a portrait of the man selected to be the Chief Officer of the London & North Eastern Railway for the 16 years from the company's inauguration in 1923. Some have held the view that he was too much of an intellectual and too remote in consequence; others may have felt that by comparison, say, with Sir Josiah Stamp of the London, Midland & Scottish his leadership was too much in the background; nevertheless the general opinion has been that no better appointment could have been made.
Under his guidance a number of large corporations, each with its own traditions and loyalties, were moulded in a comparatively few years into a loyalty to the London & North Eastern Railway without experiencing any of the troubles that beset the LMSR in its early years, which finally made it necessary for the latter company to bring in a personality from outside to accomplish this by no means easy task. Wedgwood saw the L.N.E.R. through the difficult peace years, with the financial anxieties and labour troubles described in later chapters, and when in 1939 the nation had once again to resort to arms because of German aggression it was Sir Ralph, by then retired from railway service, who was selected by the Government to be Chairman of the Railway Executive Committee, charged with managing all the railways of the country. Through his railway life it was a long, rather lonely, and very hard furrow that Sir Ralph Wedgwood was destined to plough, but plough it he did, and looking. back we can see that the furrow was straight.
Some indication of the unusual stature of Wedgwood comes from a comment made in The Diaries of A.L. Rowse where the following extract is indicative: "Dear old Sir Ralph Wedgwood was waiting in the background: I made my way across and we reminisced about my early teaching of Veronica. He was very proud: the bond between her and her father has always been close." According to R.J. Irving (Dictionary of Business Biography) he was a close friend of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
He was a member of the Weir Committee on railway electrification which reported in 1931.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry by Geoffrey Hughes
Wemyss, Randolph Erskine
Ruthless coal baron who with the aid of Wieland and Grierson took control of the NBR. In 1897 he constructed a new railway to connect his mines with Methil Dock in competition with the NBR and engineered the resignation of Conacher for "dishonest practice". John Thomas North British vol 2.
Born 15 March 1868. Educated Harow and Trinity College, Cambridge. MP for Perth City 1892-95. Director of Bank of Scotland. Chairman of Highland and North British Railways, then of LNER.
Dow in his History of the West Highland quotes a letter from Mr. William Whitelaw to the author where he summed up his unique connection with the Invergarry & Fort Augustus in the following words: "As Chairman of the Highland I was responsihle for opening it and then of closing it; then of opening it again on behalf of the N.B. and finally of practically closing it I suppose for everagain; but for the war perhaps the rails would have been lifted." He added: "I shall never forget my meeting with the Chairman and Secretary of the Invergarry Company when I settled the purchase price, including the Fort Augustus Hotel, at £27,000 for an undertaking which had cost nearly £350,000. Some day I may have the pleasure of seeing you when I can tell you the details of that meeting ...!" To the lasting regret of the author, Mr. Whitelaw died before those undoubtedly entertaining details were divulged.
Atkins (Scottish locomotive classes) notes that following the departure of F.G. Smith due to his "excessively heavy" River class Whitelaw temporarily took charge of locomotive affairs and contracted with NBL to build three Loch class 4-4-0s plus three more Castles.
Whitelaw must have seemed a strange choice to be Chairman of the new LNER, but his background of serving two impoverished railways was probably an appropriate one in the event. He remained Chairman until 30 September 1938. He died on 19 January 1946.
Only the LNER invested in large wagons and introduced over 25,000 with a capacity greater than 20 tons more than the reaminer combined. Whiterlaw would not consider a reduction in freight services on branch lines or in passenger services as he considered that this would enable competitors to gain an advantage. One pearl of wisdom from Whitelaw might be emblazoned on the walls of contemporary franchise holders: "our passengers must be accommodated in an ever-increasing scale of comfort" [Helm Backtrack 11 216..
The LNER Chairman, William Whitelaw, had a connoisseur's appreciation of his native tipple and has been reported as not pleased when he learned that the North Eastern offered an inferior quality of whisky in its restaurant cars. Probably he didn't care much for the GER variety either! Anyway, he took a personal interest in the quality of Scotch to be offered to LNER passengers; there is a note in the minutes of an early meeting of the Hotels Committee to the effect that the Chairman had enquired about the stocks of Scotch whisky held. Geoffrey Hughes Backtrack 12 289.
William Whitelaw was the grandfather of the rather better known, Sir William Whitelaw/Lord Whitelaw, anchor-man for Margaret Thatcher's regime: "every Prime Minister needs a Willie". Locomotives were named after him, and he appeared to deserve that honour. He would seem to be an excellent candidate for a proper biography. Michael Bonavia contributed a short one in the Oxford Companion..
William Whitelaw alongside No. 2573 William Whitelaw at Dunfermline in 1929. With Earl of Elgin and Major Stemp.in R.D. Stephen Steam supreme page 115 upper
Whyte, James J.W.
Joined the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway in 1910: Manager from 1931 to 1967: latterly a bus company. Hendry: Patterson would be better
Company Secretary to NBR. Formerly employed by LNWR (not mentioned Reed). When he resigned due to ill-health he was given a place on the Board and with Randolph Erskine Wemyss and Grierson formed a cabal which took control of NBR and got rid of Conacher. Wieland died in 1905. Thomas North British Railway V.2.
Wilkinson, Joseph Loftus
Born in Buckinghamshire in 1845. Educated in Reading. Joined GWR as boy clerk in 1852. Promoted as telegraph clerk, goods clerk to stationmaster and then worked as a manager for nineteen years in the goods department. In 1887 he beacme the goods manager of the Buenos Aires & Pacific Railway but returned to the GWR as Goods Manager in 1887. In 1895 he became Acting General Manager and General Manager in 1896. He regretted the departure of the broad gauge and envisaged London to Birmingham being accomplished in one hour. He observed the fast twin screw ships used on the Channel Islands run, the fast Cornishman non-stop to Exeter and taking only seven hours (and four minutes to Truro) "we firmly believe in speed"; and the new cut-off lines via Westbury, High Wycombe (leading to a circular suburban service via Uxbridge) and to Milford. See Rly Mag., 1, 1. and another feature in same volume on page 508.. McDermot History of the Great Western Railway rev. Clinker
Born 14 August 1895, died 12 May 1966. Chairman, 194965, and Managing Director, 193860, of Beyer, Peacock & Co. Ltd, and its subsidiary companies including Beyer Peacok (Hymek) Ltd (195865).
Member of Stockton & Darlington Railway's Management Committee. Co-founder of Gilkes & Wilson, locomotive repairer and manufacturer in Middlesbrough. See Pearce p. 103.
Surnames beginning Wo
Wood, William Valentine
Born on 14 February 1883. Died 26 August 1959. Educated Methodist College, Belfast (Who was Who). Sir William Valentine Wood (taken from LMS 150 and possibly written by D.S.M. Barrie) ('Willie Wood' to colleagues on the railway, 'Val' to family and close friends) had never anticipated becoming president. When Stamp was killed on that dreadful night of 16 April 1941, Wood was shattered. He broke the news to the Railway Executive Committee with an emotion very strange to his quiet nature. He must have felt daunted by the need to follow ssuch an outstanding figure.
Wood was smallish, clean-shaven, with strong glasses that gave him a slightly owlish expression, though he had a quiet, rather quizzical smile. You never saw him or hardly ever without a cigarette in his mouth. This combined with a very low voice, rapid speech and a strong Ulster brogue to make communication rather difficult, unless you knew him well and could guess in which way his quicksilver mind was working.
He had started on the Midland's NCC as an accountant, at which work he was supreme. But he was also interested, and rapidly became knowledgeable, in almost every aspect of railway work. He once told of a slight collision in which an NCC locomotive had been involved 'actually', he said with that delightful twinkle, 'I was driving the engine'.
In the 1914-18 war he was involved in Government work and when Sir Eric Geddes' Ministry of Transport was created in 1919 he became its first director of finance. There he began a long friendship with Sir Cyril Hurcomb, later the first chairman of the British Transport Commission, who had the highest regard for him. He returned to the railway to rise through the accountancy side of the LMS and eventually became vice president (finance and services). Here he made a wonderful two-man team with Stamp, dealing with all the economic and financial aspects of the railway. He wrote 90 per cent of the short volume Railways, officially a joint work with Stamp.
His speed at juggling with numbers was legendary. Quote almost any figure to him and he would whip out an old-fashioned calculating machine from the top drawer of his desk and rapidly convert it into something else a price per ton of engine weight, a weight per mile of fishplates .
His points in discussion could be difficult to ascertain because of his speed and inaudibility but on paper he was formidable. Every one on the LMS respected Willie Wood those who knew him personally were deeply attached to him. He should have retired at nationalisation, instead of accepting Hurcomb's pressing invitation to soldier on: his last five years were an anti-climax after a long and happy life on the railway..Hendry presents a sharp verbal portrait noting that he was "an analyst rather than an ideas man"
Wright, Frederick Matthew
Born 26 June 1916; died 29 June 1990. General Manager, British Railways, Western Region and Member of British Railways (Western) Board, 197276. Educated Rutherford College, Newcastle upon Tyne. Joined LNER, 1933. Served with Royal Engineers during WW2. Eastern Region: Commercial Superintendent, Great Northern Line, 1961; Divisional Manager, Doncaster, 1964; Assistant General Manager, York, 1968; Member, BR (Eastern) Board, 1969; Deputy General Manager, York, 1970. Who Was Who
His biographer (Richard Davenport-Hines) in the ODNB calls him a speculator, but fraudster might be more accurate. He was born in the United Kingdom on 9 February 1845, but moved to the USA in 1866 where he became involved in mining ventures. He returned to Britain in 1889 where he was associated with the London & Globe Finance Corporation which funded the Waterloo & Baker Street Railway. His fraudulent activities eventually led to his prosecution at the hands of the Solicitor General, Edward Carson, and his sentence to penal servitude, but he died at the end of the court case by swallowing a cyanide capsule on 26 January 1904 when he was found to have a loaded revolver in his pocket See also Stephen Halliday's Fraud, liquidation and ingratitude. Backtrack, 2008, 22, 437..
Yerkes, Charles Tyson
Born in Philadelphia, USA, on 28 June 1837 and died in New York on 29 December 1905. He was a financial speculator who had made a fortune on the stock exchange by the age of 30, but was subsequently sent to prison for embezzlement, but this did not deter his progress for long as he subsequently became involved in investing in transport for Chicago including the Loop elevated railway. When the going became too hot there he moved to London in the 1890s and joined with Edgar Speyer and Robert William Perks to invest in the London Undergroud system, notably by electrifying the District line and by financing the completion of the tube lines. ODNB biography by Theo Barker. See also Stephen Halliday's Fraud, liquidation and ingratitude. Backtrack, 2008, 22, 437.
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