Trades union project extension

Hot off the press, we’re delighted to say that we’ve just had a favourable ethical opinion on the next project extension. It’s going to bring in trades union records, held at the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick (MRC). This is great news, and we’re really grateful to the MRC for their support.

This will add yet another type of material to our work, giving us different perspectives on the accidents. Combined with the state investigations and company records, we’ll have excellent coverage of British and Irish railway worker accidents. Another important advantage of these records is that they push our coverage back, into the 1870s, as well as forward into the 1920s. It’s hard to estimate, but it might bring 30,000 more cases into our project.

The records were produced by the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, which in 1913 became the National Union of Railwaymen (now the RMT). They were active in promoting the safety of workers, including by protecting members’ interests after an accident. As a result there are several places at which details of accidents appear in their records – it might be to do with compensation or payments to dependents, for example. There’s more on the sorts of sources that we’ll be using in this guest blog post, written by Helen Ford, the MRC’s project lead.

However! None of this can be done without your help. Following our existing work, we’re keen to get volunteers involved. This extension will be carried out on-site, based at the University of Warwick, so anyone who does want to get involved will probably need to be based nearby. If this sounds like something for you, do please get in touch with Helen Ford or James King of the MRC – more details in this flyer.

There’s more to come on this, too, as we’re currently working with a third major partner on being able to make one volume of records publicly available for remote transcription! This is very much in development at the moment, so we’ll have more when it’s all arranged. For now, keep watching – and be ready for the release of the 2nd tranche of project records in just over a week’s time!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in the on-site transcription at the Modern Records Centre, do please get in touch with Helen or James – details in the flyer.

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