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On this page we’ll let you know about any project events or talks about the project. Do get in touch if you’d like us to come (virtually, these days) and give a talk about our work!


2 September 2023 – Havant Local History Group

As part of some work we’re exploring in the Portsmouth area, we’ll be delivering a session with the Havant Local History Group. It’ll introduce Group members to our project and work with them on researching some of the Portsmouth area staff found in our database. We’re hoping it’ll develop into something big!


14 September 2023 – Crewe: Your Railway, Your Family

An afternoon and evening event, featuring 4 talks (given once in the afternoon and repeated in the evening), plus stands where you can discuss your questions and get help with your research, whether family history, railway history – or railway family history! With contributions from the LNWR Society, the Family History Society of Cheshire and our project. Organised by the project and the Family History Society of Cheshire. Free, in person – more information here.


16 September 2023 – Local History Live

A day-long virtual event, broadcast from The National Archives, brought to you by the British Association for Local History. Our talk, ‘Putting the railway in its – and your – place’, will think about how the railways related to place, and will introduce the project resources. We’ll also be taking part in the closing roundtable, thinking about the future of local history. More information and booking here.


20 September 2023 – Modern Records Centre at 50 symposium

Taking place at the University of Warwick, home of project partner the Modern Records Centre (MRC), this day-long symposium will celebrate the MRC’s 50th anniversary. Our project presentation looks at what the project means to various groups and people involved – Cheryl Hunnisett (one of our excellent volunteers at the MRC), Alex Gordon (President of the RMT Union) and Mike Esbester (University of Portsmouth) will all contribute. More information and booking here.


22 September – 1 October 2023 – All About That Place

Marking the 10th anniversary of Society for One-Place Studies, this collaborative free event features a wide range of talks every day, with follow up activities for those who wish to get involved in doing some local history research. We’ll be giving one of the talks, ‘Railways, their workers & your place’, showing how understanding the railways & their workforce in your area can help your place-based research, and how the Railway Work, Life & Death project can help you. More information here.


Taken Place:

10 October 2021 – ‘The Railways & Society from the Victorians to Dr Beeching’

A day-long event, with 4 different speakers covering the railways impact upon Britain, organised by the University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education. We gave an introduction to railway safety, accident prevention and the project.


PODCAST – 26 September 1921

We’ve been working to mark the centenary of the 1921 Stapleton Road accident in Bristol, which killed 6 track workers. As well as a series of blogs, here, about the accident and the men involved, Mike recorded a 20 minute podcast with a colleague from the University of Portsmouth, available here. We’ve also been working with Network Rail and the railway chaplain covering the Bristol area to alert them to the centenary and provide information for the tribute they’ve recorded.


1 September 2021 – Findmypast Facebook Live session

Our second informal chat, this time focusing on British railway history more generally, though of course including some accidents! Available here.


26 August 2021 – Head of Steam Museum ‘On Track for Change’

A short talk about working on the railways & the risks of the job, as part of Head of Steam Museum’s ‘On Track for Change’ exhibition, exploring railway disability. More on the exhibition in their blog posts (here and here).


3 March 2021 – Gareth Dennis’ #RailNatter

An informal chat about the staff accidents through time, linking past and present. With thanks to Gareth for having us on! Watch it here.


25 November 2020, 5.30pm – People, Place & Community Seminar, Institute of Historical Research

Mike talked about ‘Challenging histories? Collaboration, community & remembering the bits ‘best’ forgotten’ in this online seminar. See it here!


14 November 2020 – One Place Studies annual conference

Mike put the project and how it links people and place in context in a short presentation to the One Place Studies Society annual conference.


23 September 2020 – Findmypast Facebook Live session

An informal discussion about family history, social history & our project, with a few cases from the archives. A great introduction to what we do and the family history potential! Watch it here.


8 June 2020 – The Transport Tavern

An informal chat with friend and project supporter David Turner and co-lead Mike Esbester, about the project, with slides and some great images. Watch it here!


11 March 2020 – Gerald Aylmer seminar, The National Archives, London

The seminar brings together historians and archivists to discuss topics of mutual interest, particularly the nature of archival research and the use of collections. Jointly organised by The National Archives, the Royal Historical Society and the Institute of Historical Research, the leading organisations for promoting historical scholarship in the UK. This year’s theme was co-production and collaboration in the archive, something central to our project. More in this blog post, and the recording is available here (we’re in session 3).


16-19 October 2019 – ‘Mobilities & Materialities’ conference, Paris

We contributed as part of a roundtable session on our experiences of bringing together historians, policymakers and practitioners. More in this blog post.


14 October 2019 – ‘Inheriting the Family’ project workshop, Oxford

An interactive session that brought family historians and others together to think about how we can work together; we were involved in the round-table towards the end of the day. More in this blog post.


3 October 2019 – Rail Safety Summit, London

An excellent opportunity, we were invited in to discuss the use of the past in helping the present and future, to current rail industry leaders. We had a great response – hopefully it’ll lead on to more work with the industry! More in this blog post.


21 September 2019 – U3A Family History Conference, Buxton

Mike talked about railway records for family historians, with a slant to worker accidents, of course! There are some reflections about the conference in this blog post.


12-13 September 2019 – ‘The Hero & Heroism: There, Then, Now’ conference, Leeds

A fascinating conference, for which our project convened a panel looking at railway heroisms, including considering the place of staff accidents & everyday heroic actions. Read more in this blog post.


22 June 2019 – York Family History Show

One of our NRM colleagues, Jane Hubbard, was at this show, on the Archives for Yorkshire stand, with some information about our project.


7-8 June 2019 – THE Genealogy Show, Birmingham

We’re glad we could take our travelling roadshow – including pop-up banners, film of railway work in action, the database & website, plus project information flyers – to this event at the NEC: more about it in this blog post. We also put together a short blog post about it ahead of the event, on the Show’s website, here.


26-27 April 2019 – Family Tree Live, London

A great event at Alexandra Palace: via our stand and several workshops we helped lots of people with their research, plus were one of the stops on the kids’ detective trail. For more on the event, see our blog post!


17-18 December 2018 – ‘Mobility of Things’ conference, National Railway Museum

We had a stand at the conference, and drew from the project work in Karen Baker & Mike Esbester’s contribution to the opening roundtable. A really useful event, with an interesting mix of people involved.


29 October 2018 – Railway & Canal Historical Society London Group meeting

A very engaged audience, with great interest in the topic and the project – including confirmation from some former railway staff (some quite senior in the 1960s) that some of the problems found in our database were still an issue 50+ years later … It’s also leading to a new collaboration with the Hertfordshire Association for Local History – more on that to follow!


20 October 2018 – Register of Qualified Genealogists Conference, York

A useful day, particularly for thinking about collaboration between the various parties who might be interested in our project and our methods. See our blog post about this event and the Family History Show, below. This has proved to be a starting point for ongoing discussion, some of which is found on Twitter with the #HistoriansCollaborate, about setting up more structured means of working together across ‘types’ of research – watch this space!


22 September 2018 – Family History Show, London

Very hectic, talking non-stop – met some fascinating people (including one disabled former railway worker) and got more of a sense of how we might best promote the project amongst family historians.


14 September 2018 – Science Museum Group Conference, London

This year’s theme focused on research within the Group, so it’s particularly apt that our project presented about collaboration across institutions. Karen Baker and Mike Esbester introduced our work and methods; it all seemed to go down well, with a nice follow up meeting arranged to discuss introducing similar methods at another site within the Group. Some thoughts about the day are in this blog post. Tweets from the day are found under #SMGConf2018


14 July 2018 – ‘Family History & Academic History’, Leeds City Museum

A really interesting event, bringing together academic and family historians, and others, to think about how we might collaborate successfully – very important to our project. Our presentation explored some of the issues around crowd-sourcing and volunteers, and was recorded, so will hopefully be made available soon. See our blog post for some reflections on the day. For those on Twitter, #historianscollaborate will bring up tweets from the day.


20 April 2018 – ‘Museums in Context and Partnership’ conference, National Railway Museum

We presented a short paper as part of this exciting conference, outlining some of the key points of our project and its methodology, and inviting discussion about the benefits and challenges it offers. There were plenty of other collaborative projects at the conference, so building connections was very helpful. For those on Twitter, #railwaycultures will show discussion from the conference.


24 March 2018 – Guild of One Name Studies AGM and conference

Hosted in Wakefield, the conference featured a presentation from Peter Thorpe about the NRM’s rich resources for geneaological study, including discussion about our project.


24 February 2018 – Guild of One Name Studies ‘Accidents will happen’ seminar day

This took place near Worcester and focused on issues around health, safety and accidents and their value for family historians and genealogists. Mike spoke about the project, including outlining some tentative findings; his blog post here reflects on the day. For those on Twitter, #GuildAccidents will bring up a host of thoughts from the day.


15 November 2016 – York Transport Historians Group Workshop

Mike presented an introduction to the project and the idea of using crowd-sourcing to engage wide audiences at the ‘Making the Connections’ workshop, hosted by the York Transport Historians Group and supported by the NRM. To an audience of about 50 people Mike outlined the project’s aims and objectives, as well as the breadth of interests the project served.