Author Archive | Mike Esbester

‘For God’s sake go and stop him’: The Sharnbrook crash, Feburary 1909

Something of a departure for our usual project focus, this week’s blog makes use of an accident report type we don’t usually have reason to include. Our project database so far draws largely from reports issued by the Railway Inspectors appointed solely to investigate accidents to workers (called Sub-Inspectors or Assistant Sub-Inspectors, producing the Appendix […]

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Use of Databases and Statistics in Historical Research

This post was contributed by one of our anonymous volunteers, who has been doing the fiddly but essential job of going over the data and trying to spot and correct issues. This means that they’ve seen pretty much all of the project data (including the 1000s of cases currently being prepared for public release). As […]

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The European UK

Sadly for a great many of our readers the none-too-subtle title of this post will be self-explanatory. The UK’s departure from the European Union on 1 January – on what terms we don’t know at the time of writing (21 December) – is very problematic and, in my opinion, at best misguided. I feel very […]

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Robert Johnson – visualising disability

Some months ago I was sent an intriguing image by Robert Kitching of the Bowes Railway (whose guest post will be appearing soon!). The image showed a railwayman, supported by crutches and lacking both legs below the knee. Robert knew we’d be interested, especially since images of the workers involved in accidents are often hard […]

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Disabilities in railway service

Disability features in our project heavily. Mostly frequently it’s cases where accidents have caused disability (see here for some cases we’ve featured in the past). But another of the great things about the project data is that it’s showing where already-disabled staff were employed or re-employed. So for today’s Disability History Month post, we’re going […]

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Disability History Month: ‘very nervous and trembling a good deal’

Wednesday marks the start of 2020’s Disability History Month, something that our project speaks closely too, given the large numbers of railway staff who were made disabled in the course of their work. Over the years we’ve blogged about a number of cases involving disabled staff, detailed here, and over the coming month we’ll highlight […]

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‘Improper propping’

It seems every aspect of railway working was (is?) full of arcane practices. Shunting – moving wagons and carriages around to get them into the right place for use – seems to have accumulated more than a few of these terms: fly shunting (more on that, here), tow roping (more here), horse shunting (unlike fly […]

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Family, anxiety & accident

Today we are fortunate in that the idea of work-life balance exists – if only as an ideal, in many cases. People interested in understanding how and why accidents happen are increasingly recognising that boundaries drawn between work and home life are false. But this isn’t new. A notable rail example is the 1892 Thirsk […]

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