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Transcription Tuesday: a miscellany of cases


UPDATED 17/12/2019 – The Transcription Tuesday data is now available! Find out more here.


For Transcription Tuesday, taking place on 5 February, we’re going to be transcribing an entire volume – over 2,000 cases – of trades union records. For the coming week, in the lead up to the event, we’re going to add a case a day, taken from the first 2 pages of the ASRS volume we’re using. This will give us a small insight into the detail and stories held within the volume and which we’re delighted to be making more widely available.


27 February 1901:

Shunter DJ Penny on the Midland Railway had his fingers crushed between buffers when trying to couple wagons at Carlton Main colliery in Yorkshire. He was awarded 8/11 per week in compensation, and moved on to light employment at Gloucester – quite some distance away, but that was not uncommon, as at this time the railway companies might move workers around their systems as they pleased. Penny became a gateman at Gloucester, on 17/5 per week – almost certainly a reduction in pay from his old occupation.


17 September 1900:

Some of the cases in the volume predate its nominal coverage of 1901-05, like that of drayman A Fisher of the Leicester No. 1 branch. Whilst he was out collecting goods to take to the station – as the companies, with contractors, provided a complete ‘door to door’ service for users – he was kicked on the knee by his horse. The volume notes that although he had no legal claim, the company paid him 6 shillings per week, and ‘promised light employment.’


14 February 1901:

North Eastern Railway goods porter J Lickes, a member of one of the Hull branches of the union (the handwriting in the volume is unclear as to which), was injured at Drypool goods station (in what is today Hull). The volume records that his fingers were crushed, for which he received £5.19.0, with half his wages whilst he was off work. The legal costs amounted to £19.17.2, a figure which sounds disproportionately large until we encounter the line in the volume which notes that the railway company at first denied liability on the grounds that Lickes was a contractor.


7 January 1901:

J Walker, a passenger shunter on the Great Northern Railway of Ireland, was killed at Amiens Street, Dublin. The inquest, attended by Walter Hudson, the ASRS Secretary, concluded that he had died due to shock ‘consequent on the injuries received by being accidentally run over.’ There was no Board of Trade enquiry, which would have given us more detail on the accident. The Union volume records that Walker’s widow received £200 in compensation when the case was settled out of court – presumably because the company thought that it could not contest its liability.


1 February 1901:

John James, goods guard on the Barry Railway & a member of the Bridgend branch of the ASRS, lost his arm in sidings near Barry in Glamorgan. He was knocked down while overseeing some shunting. There will be more on James’ case in Monday’s blog post – including some uncertainty over when the accident actually happened.


31 January 1901:

J Oulton, a brakesman and member of the Warrington branch of the ASRS, had his leg broken at Wigan. He was awarded £140, and 15/- week. The accident happened when a banking engine – a locomotive that joined trains on steep inclines to give them extra power – ran into Oulton’s brakevan.


30 January 1901:

William Travis, a London & North Western Railway brakesman, was killed at Grotton in Yorkshire. There’s more detail on his case in this blog post.


29 January 1901:

S Weekes, a Midland Railway carman – someone who delivered goods to/ from stations, at this time via horse and cart – suffered a concussion to the brain at an unknown location. This is one of the cases where the details recorded in the book leave something to be desired – though we do know that Weekes received £17.0.0 in compensation. Legal fees, however, seem to have come to £52.0.0 – presumably either covered by the union, or recovered from the company.

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