London Midland & Scottish Railway

Sunday Snap – Railway Posers?

This is a photograph from my own collection – yet another of the many unidentified subjects.

Across the bottom right corner is the name Bruce Johnston, Keighley.    I can find a couple of references to this firm of photographers on local family history message boards.

The chaps in the photograph are obviously in some sort of uniform.  I think that there are some clues that suggest they are railway workers.

I can read the initials MR on the cap of the man on the right of the photograph.  I suspect that this is the Midland Railway company.  The visible pocket watch chain worn by the man second left indicates to me that he is probably a railway worker.

I don’t recognise anyone in the photograph.  However my grandfather, Joseph Dawson, worked for London, Midland & Scottish Railway company and may well have worked for the predecessor the Midland Railway company.

I am really hopeless at trying to date photographs.  But if there is a connection with my grandfather I guess it would have been taken around the 1920 period and before MR became LMS.

If anyone has any other suggestion I would be happy to hear it.

Horton in Ribblesdale – Postcard #14

This is a postcard from my own collection.  It is a real photograph published by Joanes Publications, Broomhouse, George Nympton, South Molton, Devon.

The postcard is unused and in very good condition.

The image is of steam engine number 45522 ‘Prestatyn’ with a train from Carlisle at Horton in Ribblesdale station and is dated 27 July 1962.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you might remember that Horton in Ribblesdale is an important location in my ancestry.  This is where my nannie, Florrie Musgrove, was born in 1897 – here’s a recent post about Foredale Cottages where she lived.

Horton in Ribblesdale railway station was built in 1876 during the construction of the 73 mile long stretch of line between Settle and Carlisle by the Midland Railway Company.  The line runs through remote regions of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines, and is considered to be the most scenic railway in England.  The drama of its history and construction mean that it is regarded as one of the culminating symbols of Victorian enterprise and engineering.

All the station buildings along the route were designed by Midland Railway Company architect John Holloway Sanders.  The general design was known as Derby (or Midland) Gothic because the company was based in Derby.

There were three sizes of buildings in all, reflecting the relative importance of the station stops.  Horton in Ribblesdale was a Type C station.

In 1963, Beeching Report into the restructuring of British Rail recommended the withdrawal of all passenger services from the line.  Some smaller stations had closed in the 1950s.  The Beeching recommendations were shelved, but in May 1970 all stations except for Settle and Appleby were closed.

Over the next two decades the Settle – Carlisle line faced the threat of closure by British Rail as passenger number reduced and the cost of repairing viaducts and abandoned station buildings grew.  A very public campaign against the closure was eventually successful and the Government finally refused consent to close the line in 1989.

Meanwhile refurbishment work had already begun at Horton in Ribblesdale station and it was reopened in 1986.

There is one other family connection with this post.  The Midland Railway Company was merged into the London Midland & Scottish Railway, with the LNWR also forming part of the new company.  My granddad, Joseph Dawson, worked for LM&S, first as a fireman then a driver.  He’s the one in the photograph with a x on his arm.

Grandad Joe and his work mates

Married 88 years ago today

On 14 November 1922 my paternal grandparents were married at the Parish Church of Cononley in Yorkshire.

St John's Church, Cononley, North Yorkshire

Joseph Dawson was 19 and Alice Hurtley was 22.

Joseph’s occupation is listed as “engine cleaner”. His father James Dawson (see photograph in my gallery) was a “warp dresser”. There is no occupation shown for Alice and her father, James Hurtley is shown as a “farmer”.

The witnesses were James Dawson (Joseph’s brother) and Maggie Hurtley (Alice’s sister).

Joseph and Alice had two sons – Harry and Graham (my dad).

Grandad Joe and his work mates

As far as I know Joseph (or Joe as he was known) spent all his working life on the railway. As the marriage certificate shows he was an “engine cleaner” which is probably how he started. He worked on the railway during the golden age of steam and I know he was a fireman and a driver.

In the photograph Joe is standing up with his arms folded.  I don’t know when, where or why this photograph was taken – but I like it.

At some point Joe and Alice moved away from the Keighley area of West Yorkshire to Rotherham in South Yorkshire. That’s where my dad was born. They moved there because of Joe’s work on the railway. He worked for the London Midland & Scottish Railway company and then for British Rail after the railway was nationalised at the end of 1947.

Eventually Joe and Alice moved back to West Yorkshire and lived in Leeds.

Joe retired from the railway in the late 1960′s. I haven’t been able to track down his employment records yet – that’s on my “to do list”.

I’m not too sure about Alice’s working life. I do remember that she worked in the local newsagents / post office for many years on the estate where they lived in Leeds.

After retirement from the railway Joe had a part time job working sweeping up in the cloth room of the John Collier factory in Leeds. At that time in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s John Collier was still a big name in the clothing industry of West Yorkshire and was famous for made to measure men’s suits.

My first job after leaving school in 1969 was working in that same cloth room with my grandad. My job at the tender age of sixteen was hauling the rolls of cloth from the shelves and taking them to the “cutters” to cut out the suit lengths and taking the roll of cloth back to the storage shelves.

Joe passed away in July 1978 and Alice in May 1987.

Happy anniversary Joe and Alice.