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Mrs Jane Horner and the illicit lift

It may perhaps surprise us to find women amongst the list of casualties the project has catalogued – but it shouldn’t. Plenty of women worked, including on the railways, where even before the First World War they numbered in their thousands. Though precise figures are difficult to come by, around 13,000 has been suggested, out […]

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Accidents at all grades -1

Undoubtedly the majority of railway worker accidents were incurred by those exposed to danger on a day-to-day basis – the manual grades, like the platelayers, shunters, guards, porters, workshop staff and engine crews. But sometimes you find cases where those higher up the ranks were involved. One such case occurred at Kilmeaden, near Waterford, in […]

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Why break the rules?

  A guest post, by Arthur Moore, one of the project’s volunteers   Having spent some time inputting Board of Trade accident reports on to the project spreadsheets as a volunteer, it was interesting to find a photo which showed the disparity between the rules and actual working practices. ​The reports said that on 5th […]

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The accident data is now available!

We’re delighted to say that the accident data is now available for you to use! You can find it on ‘The Accidents’ page, as a spreadsheet for you to download and search at your leisure. This represents the culmination of the work so far, including several months of hard effort from our superb team of […]

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They started – and died – young

Volunteers working on the ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’ project have uncovered the stories of nearly 4,000 individuals who were either injured or killed whilst working on Britain’s railways between January 1911 and June 1915. Amongst the casualties was 16-year old James Beck, a ‘wagon greaser’ (someone responsible for ensuring the axle boxes of freight […]

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1911-15: 3,911 individuals involved in accidents

Our superb volunteers have excelled themselves and have just finished cataloguing all the railway worker accidents investigated by the Railway Inspectors between 1 January 1911 and 30 June 1915, when investigations were halted due to the war. We were expecting a figure of around 3,000 – but the actual figure was 3,911 individual workers either […]

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Did illiteracy kill James Coughlin?

We might tend to question the extent to which many of the working classes – for it is the working classes who are largely the subject of these accident reports – could read or write. For the railway industry the indications are actually that the workforce was highly literate, but the ability to read certainly […]

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The accidents are mounting up

A quick update – the volunteers have been hard at work going through hundreds of accident reports and getting the details into the spreadsheet; I’m pleased to say that they’ve managed to get through 24 of the 36 sets of accident reports. This means we’re already two-thirds of the way through our material, after only […]

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How many accidents is too many?

The answer is, of course, one. But we live in the real world, and only too frequently accidents happen. We’d hope only once, but sometimes they strike the same individual twice. One such case has been uncovered by one of our volunteers and makes for interesting reading. On 25 February 1912, labourer Joseph Brown went […]

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Progress so far

A brief update on what’s been happening and how we’re working, starting with a little necessary technical detail. The accident reports we’re using were produced by the state body, the Railway Inspectorate, which was part of the Board of Trade at this time. They were collected together and published, once per quarter of a year. […]

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