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Railway - Staff Notes

Notes from newspaper clips mentioning the staff at the station.

Wellingborough & Kettering News, August 27th, 1881, transcribed by Kay Collins

ACCIDENTOn Saturday last as one of the Midland trollies was returning from Higham to Irchester station with a heavy load and two horses, the thiller horse commenced kicking and displacing the breeching, became unmanageable. The driver was endeavouring to let off the trolley when the horse made a swerve and he lost his balance and fell, both wheels and the trolley passing over his leg, very much injuring the ankle and thigh. He was conveyed to the surgery of Mr. Crew, where his injuries were attended to by Mr. Croon, Mr. Crew's assistant, but the leg was so much swollen that it could not be ascertained what was the extent of the injuries. We have since heard, however, that no bones have been broken (although there was nearly three ton weight on the trolley), and that Percival, the man injured, is going on as well as could be expected.

Northampton Mercury, 12th April 1901

Accident at the Railway Station—On Monday a serious accident occurred at the railway station. As a man named G W Perkins was engaged in shunting operations, he was knocked down, and the truck passed over his arm, severely crushing it. First-aid was effectively rendered by Private Abblett and members of the railway staff. Dr Owen and his assistant were also soon on the spot, and after attending to his injuries ordered his removal to the Northampton infirmary.

Rushden Echo, 12th April 1901, transcribed by Greville Watson

Serious Accident at the Railway Station
A porter of the Midland Railway Co, G W Perkins, met with a serious accident on Monday. While engaged in shunting, he fell, and a coal truck went over his arm, crushing it. Private Ablett, of the Ambulance Corps, and members of the railway staff rendered first aid, and Dr Owen was summoned. He deemed it advisable to remove the sufferer to the Northampton Infirmary, and this was accordingly done. Upon arrival there, the arm was amputated, and the sufferer is, we hear, progressing satisfactorily.

Extract from Councillor Weale:

. . . . His work for the Midland Railway, which he joined as a clerk at Tamworth, brought Mr. Weale to Rushden in 1901, and after a long term in the goods office he became the Company’s town representative in the Rushden area. Though retiring at Easter, 1942 (when his colleagues made him a presentation) he was anxious to occupy his time in useful work, and obtained another appointment for the duration of the war.

Rushden Echo, 6th March 1908, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Members of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants visited Sharnbrook on Sunday evening and held an organising meeting at the Swan club-room. Mr C Court (Rushden) presided, and spoke of the benefits of the A.S.R.S. Mr Turner and Mr Bollard also spoke, and a good number joined the society.

Rushden Echo, 26th February 1909, transcribed by Kay Collins

Presentation—The Rushden branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants held a meeting at the Trades Union Club on Sunday night, at which an interesting presentation took place. Mr. J. Davies presided over a good attendance. Mr. J. Holman, of Wellingborough, referred with regret to the fact that this was the last meeting which would be attended by Mr. C. Court, one of their most useful members, who was leaving for Canada. Mr. Court was chairman of the Rushden Branch when it was formed in January 1908, and he had done excellent work on its behalf. In recognition of this, he was asked to accept an emblem with an inscription testifying to their appreciation of his services. (Applause) Mr. Holman then handed to Mr. Court the emblem, which bore the following inscription: “Presented by the Rushden branch of the A.S.R.S. to Brother C. Court for services rendered to the members and society in general during the years 1908.” Mr. Court in acknowledging the presentation, said it had been a pleasure to do anything on the society’s behalf. Mr. Holman also presented a silver medallion, given by Mr. Court to Mr. J. C. Turner, the secretary, for obtaining the most members during the year 1908. Mr. Court leaves Rushden at the end of the present week. He has been a popular member of the staff during his nine years’ service at Rushden.

Rushden Echo, 10th November 1911, transcribed by Kay Collins

AccidentMr. Harry Boyce, M.R. drayman, had a nasty experience on Friday evening last. While loading goods from Messrs. Cunnington Bros.’ factory a box fell over, pinning his right arm and breaking a small bone just above the wrist. Dr. Greenfield set the injured limb and the patient is now doing nicely, though he will not be fit for work for some weeks to come. Mr. Boyce’s brother strained the cords of his ankle very badly about a fortnight ago and is still unable to resume work.

The Argus, Friday 30th September 1910, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wellingborough Petty Sessions Court - Midland Railway Cases
Israel Meadows, yard clerk, Rushden, was charged with larceny as a servant of the Midland Railway Company, by stealing one pair of boots value 10s.6d, the property of the said company, at Rushden, between July 21st and September 21st. Thomas Eaton, carman, Rushden, and Frederick Wm Evans, checker, Rushden, were charged with larceny as servants of the Midland Railway Company, by stealing eight dozen glace kid skins, valued at £13, the property of the said company, at Rushden, on or about August 12th. Ebenezer Cox, dealer, Rushden, was charged with receiving eight dozen skins, valued at £13, well knowing them to have been stolen, at Rushden, during the last two months.

Mr. R. J. Turner (Beale and Co., Birmingham) appeared for the Midland Railway, and Mr. J. C. Parker for the defence. Defendants evidently felt their position very keenly.

Mr Turner said in this case the prosecution desired a remand till Tuesday, on which day he understood their worships would be able to go into the cases. He hoped to have all the charges ready on that day. He asked that the cases might be adjourned till Tuesday at eleven o’clock. The Chairman asked if defendants had anything to say why they should not be remanded. Defendants offered no objection. Mr. Parker asked if the Bench would entertain the question of bail at that stage. The Chairman said they could not do so until after Tuesday next.

Rushden Echo, 1st December 1911, transcribed by Kay Collins

PromotionMr. E. J. Brooks, for eight years booking clerk at the Rushden M.R. Station, has been promoted to be stationmaster at Cranford.

Stationmaster Mr Henry Pitt leaves and Mr J C Gregory takes over - January 1915
The Rushden Echo, 9th April, 1915, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Rushden Soldier - Poisoned by Germans

Pte. E. Pettit (Rushden), who formerly worked at the M.R. Station at Rushden, and lodged with Mrs. Ambridge, of 5, Grove-road, Rushden, has met with ill luck. He joined Kitchener’s Army, and went out to the front in due course with the 2nd Northamptons. He is now in hospital at Weymouth, suffering from a bad arm, made worse by the fact that the Germans poisoned some water at ******, and he was unfortunate to take some of the poison. He is now making good progress.

The Rushden Echo, 16th April 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Man – A Prisoner in Germany

Private W Perry, who formerly worked at the Rushden M.R. Station, of the 2nd Suffolk Regiment, is a prisoner of war at Sennelager, Germany. He has written to his friend, Mr H Boyce, acknowledging cigarettes and postcards which Mr Boyce has sent to him. He says he received the parcel quite safely.

The Rushden Echo Friday June 11th 1915

Irchester Man Missing - Rushden M. R. Drayman - No News Since May 9th.
Mr. J. C. Turner, of Irchester, received an intimation from the War Office that Pte. J. J. Athews of Irchester, formerly a Midland Railway drayman at Rushden, has been missing since May 9th. Pte Athews, who is about 25 years of age, a single man, is the son of Mr. J. J. Athews of Millbunch-terrace, Irchester and had been a drayman at Rushden for the last four or five years. Pte. Fred Athews, brother of Pte. J. J. Athews, is in the fighting line.

The Rushden Echo, 13th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Former Resident of Riseley
Midland Railway Drayman Injured in the Hand
Lance-Corpl. Percy Wildman, of the 5th Northamptonshire Regt., who on Tuesday was officially reported wounded, is a Riseley man, the son of Mr. Fred Wildman. For the last two or three years he has been working for the Midland Railway Co. at Rushden as a drayman. On the outbreak of war he enlisted as a private in the 5th Northamptons, eight or nine of his fellow-workmen from the Rushden M.R. Station also enlisting at the same time. Before leaving for the front a few weeks ago he had a few days’ leave, and he took the opportunity of visiting Rushden. On the field he was recently promoted to Lance-Corporal. The wound from which he is suffering is, happily, not a very serious one. A bullet passed through his wrist and came out in the middle finger. He is now at home, and is going on well.

Rushden Echo, 2nd March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Female Porter—A lady porter has commenced work at Rushden Railway Station. [I wonder who she was!]

Rushden Echo, 2nd March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Sergeant Arthur Ansell – Injured by Shrapnel – A former Railway Drayman
Mrs Ansell, of 79, High-street South, Rushden, has received news that her husband, Sergt Arthur Ansell, of the Northants Regt., attached to the Bedfords, was wounded on February 12th by shrapnel while serving on the Somme front. His leg was broken, and two holes were made just above the ankle by fragments of shrapnel. An Army Chaplain, writing to Mrs Ansell, gave the news of her husband’s injuries. Sergt. Ansell has now been brought to England and has been taken to hospital in Birmingham, where Mrs Ansell and the patient’s brother visited him last Saturday, spending the week-end with him. He is now making good progress.

In civil life he was a drayman at Rushden, in the employ of the Midland railway Company. He joined up at the commencement of the war, going out to France in December 1916. From his position of private he worked his way up to be sergeant. It appears he was in charge of a bombing party, whichmet with success and returned safely, but on a second venture they had to take shelter in a shell hole, when a shell burst and he received the injuries stated. A corporal who was with him had his foot smashed.

Rushden Echo, 23rd March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Soldier Killed -
Pte Wm M Needham, Northants Regt., son of Mr Harry Needham, Coronation Villas, Irchester, is reported killed. He was, prior to enlistment, employed on the Midland railway at Rushden. He was a married man and resident in Rushden.

The Rushden Echo, 20th April 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Railway Clerk Killed - Private Arthur Ward – Attempt to Capture a Village
News has been received this (Friday) morning that Pte. Arthur Ward, of the Sherwood Foresters, formerly booking clerk at the Rushden M.R. station, was killed in action in France on Good Friday night. It appears that the soldier met his end during an attempt to capture a village from the Germans. It is but six weeks since he went to France, having enlisted on March 20th, 1916.

The deceased soldier, who was about 38 years of age, had been in the employ of the Midland Railway Company for about 21 years, and as a member of Rushden staff, was greatly respected by his colleagues.

Rushden Echo, 18th May 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Railway Porter – Killed In Action in France — Private J C Boddington — Makes the Supreme Sacrifice
To read the report click here

Rushden Echo, 27th July 1917, transcribed by Gill Hollis

RAILWAY EMPLOYEES JOIN UP – On Tuesday three members of the Rushden Midland Railway staff left for service with the Royal Naval Division, viz., Mr. A. F. Weale (goods clerk), Mr. Chambers (booking clerk), and Mr. Goode (platform porter).

Rushden Echo, 23rd November 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers - Bereavement—Mr and Mrs Arthur Chambers, of Lancaster-street, have sustained bereavement in the sudden death, which took place on Sunday morning last, of their four-months-old daughter. Mr Chambers, who was formerly clerk at the M.R. passenger station, Rushden, is now with the Colours, being in the Royal Naval Division in training. A telegram containing the sad news of the little one’s death was sent to him, and he was granted leave. The funeral took place yesterday at Leicester, the home of Mr Chambers, Mr Fred Parker making the arrangements. Several floral tributes were sent by the neighbours and friends.

Rushden Echo, 19th July 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Mr. J. C. Turner of Irchester, a member of the Board of Guardians and of the Rural District Tribunal, has been appointed full-time secretary of the Plymouth and District Labour and Co-operative Representation Association. The Association have decided to contest all three local divisions at the next Parliamentary election. Mr. Turner has for some years been the secretary of the Rushden branch of the National Union of Railwaymen and also secretary of the Midland District of the same Union.

Rushden Echo, 12th August 1921 , transcribed by Kay Collins

Tragic Death After Wasp Sting - A Former Rushden Railway Employee’s Sad Fate

A painful sensation was created in Cromford and throughout the Matlock district on Tuesday by the tragic death of Mr. William Brown, Midland Railway stationmaster at Cromford, who died at his home, the “Station House,” a few minutes after being stung by a wasp.

Tuesday was Mr. Brown’s half-day’s holiday, and he spent this in the garden. Just after tea, he heard some boys making a noise on the station platform, which is near the house, and he opened the window and admonished them. Just as he was withdrawing his head a wasp fell upon it off the curtain, and he complained of being stung. He went out of the room, but returned two minutes later observing to his wife that he had received a nasty sting. At his request she procured him an onion which he rubbed upon the sting, but two minutes later, and within ten minutes of being stung, he passed away.

Mr. Brown, who was 59 years of age, leaves a widow and three children. He entered the service of the Midland Railway 42 years ago at Olney, and served in various capacities at Wigston, Sandiacre, Woodville, Rushden, Finedon, (where he was married), and Cardington. When he left the latter place he was promoted to be stationmaster at Ribblehead, and he occupied similar positions at Newbiggen (Westmoreland) and Buckenden before he removed to Cromford eight years ago. During his stay at Cromford he became known as a capable and pleasant official. [Details of the inquest follow]

Extract from his wife's obituary 1944 ......... Mr Jacob Wilkins, a well-known retired railway foreman .......

The Midland Railway Roll of Honour erected at the Derby Headquarters of the Company: "To the memory of the 2,833 brave men of the Midland Railway who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1919". It was unveiled on Thursday December 15th 1921 at 11.45am. Five men are listed as working at Rushden Station before they enlisted.
Private J. J. Atthews

Northants Regiment,

Position: Drayman
Department: Goods
Station: Rushden

Private J. C. Boddington

Northants Regiment

Position: Porter
Department: Goods
Station: Rushden

Private J. Hancock

Northants Regiment

Position: Porter
Department: Goods
Station: Rushden

Private A. J. Parnwell

Northants Regiment

Position: Porter
Department: Goods
Station: Rushden

Pte Arthur Ward

Notts & Derby Regiment

Position: Clerk
Department: Traffic (coaching)
Station: Rushden


Extract from Tribunals 1917

15th June 1917

Three months’ exemption was granted to Bertram Booth, 38, B1, chief clerk at the M.R. goods depot at Rushden.


Rushden Echo, 24th August 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Presentation—At the Rose and Crown Inn on Tuesday a number of friends of Mr. R. Hart, of the goods department of the Midland Railway, assembled to congratulate him on his wedding. Mr. T. Wilmott presided, and handed to Mr. Hart a handsome silver teapot as a token of esteem and goodwill.


Extract from a Military Tribunal in May 1918

In the case of John Eli Barker, 32, married, vanman in the employ of the Midland Railway Co., a certificate was produced from the company stating that the man is indispensable. The military appeal, therefore was dismissed.


Further research into Rushden War Memorial Men we find that these men also worked on the railway before enlistment in WWI.
Mole, Frederick G
sidings porter
at Traffic Coaching, Pleasley DBY
Marlow, Lionel Bertie
goods checker
at Rushden
Needham, William M
railway worker
at Rushden

Rushden Echo, 19th December 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden and Higham Ex-Soldiers - Midland Railway Men

Sixty members of the M.R. staff at Rushden and Higham Ferrers were entertained to a dinner and smoking concert at the Waggon and Horses Hotel, Rushden, on Dec. 8th. The function was held to celebrate the return to their various duties of the men who have served with the Colours both at home and overseas. Mr. F. Wilkins catered.

Mr, B. Booth, who presided, proposed "The King." Mr. J. C. Gregory, station master, proposed the toast "Welcome home to the Boys," which was given with much fervour and enthusiasm. In a few well-chosen remarks, Mr. Gregory said that of the staff under his supervision 35 had served the country, and of that number nine men had made the great sacrifice. Of those remaining, happily only one man was rendered incapable of resuming his duties. He felt proud of that record.

Mr. A. F. Weale responded on behalf of the "Boys," and expressed thanks for the hearty welcome extended to them. There was one great lesson the war had taught them. The higher command was always anxious that officers and all in authority should obtain the confidence of all under them. In the service success largely rested upon this confidence being retained. Now they were back in civil life they looked to the future with great hope, and, if only those holding the higher positions in industry could obtain the confidence of the others, national prosperity was assured. With concerted action, all pulling together for the common good, there would be happy times ahead.

Mr. Boyce expressed thanks to those who had remained at home for the splendid manner in which the boys’ interests had been attended to.

Mr. T. Ansell proposed "The Railway Service," Mr. Gregory responding.

A splendid musical programme was given by Messrs. R. Cox, S. Wheatley, G. Morris, Jephcott, F. Wilkins, and E. Keeley.


Rushden Echo, 28th January 1921, transcribed by Kay Collins

THE Rushden Branch of the National Union of Railwayman have decided to give 6d. a week to an unemployment levy towards helping railwaymen out of work.




sketchThe Rushden Echo and Argus, 10th April 1942

This pleasing sketch of old Rushden is the work of Mr Harry Langham, of the L.M.S. goods office, and has been copied from the artist’s original drawing (now at Rushden Hall Museum) to form a “birthday card” gift to councillor A F Weale. It depicts High-street South in the coaching days with the picturesque coaching house (demolished a few years ago) as the chief feature.
[reproduced by digital camera from a microfilm projection]

Rushden Echo & Argus, 14th July 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Rail Clerk’s Greeting – Home Guard Work Recalled
A cheery letter has been sent by Corporal Harry Langham, R.E., of Rushden, from France. He was a clerk at the goods department of the Rushden station before joining up. [click here to read the whole letter]

Extract from his wife's obituary 1944 ......... Mr Jacob Wilkins, a well-known retired railway foreman .......

Rushden Echo & Argus, 16th January 1948

Mr Chambers receives a gift
Retiring after 45 years railway service, Mr. C. A. Chambers, formerly chief passenger clerk at Rushden station receives a leather toilet case, the gift of members of the staff of British Railways, Rushden.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 7th July 1950, transcribed by Kay Collins

New Rushden Stationmaster Taking Over
Rushden's new station-master, Mr. H. Steel, who took over yesterday, has worked at 250 stations in his 38 years' service.

He has had experience of almost every branch of railway work, and first became station-master at Standish, Wigan, in 1928.

A native of Keighley, Yorkshire, Mr. Steel began with the railway in 1912. He served with the Royal Engineer Signals in the 1914 war, and on returning served on all Northern district lines, including Carlisle, the North Stafford area, Stoke, Liverpool, Holyhead and North Wales. For the past 16 years he has been a relief Stationmaster.

They Agree
Mr. Steel takes over from another relief stationmaster, Mr. H. C. Needham, whose home is at Broughton. Mr. Needham has been on relief work for the past 20 years in the Midland area.

Both agree that the work of relief is "a surprise packet," and it is almost impossible to say where one will be in 24 hours' time.

Extract from a longer report - November 1951
When he is released from his two-year period of national service next March, Tpr. Nurrish says he will be only too pleased to drop his present career as a gunner-signaller for that of a clerk at Rushden Railway Station.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 20th July 1956
The staff in 1956
Mr Binch
Mr E A Binch, stationmaster since May 1953
Mr Binch was presented on Friday with a fountain pen, on the occasion of his leaving to take the position of stationmaster
and goods agent at Penistone, Yorkshire. The presentation was made by Mr S C Edwards, the chief goods clerk on behalf
of the staff at the station. Mr Binch first entered the railway service in 1927.

George Dickens worked as a booking clerk from 1958-1960


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