Railway Ancestors

Like many people I have numerous ancestors who worked on the railways. Several died on the railways too. In today's safe railway environment, we forget that thousands of people lost their lives in accidents working and travelling on the railways. Here are a selection of my railway ancestors :

George Abbis (a brother of my great grandmother Elizabeth Abbis) was a 27 year old railway platelayer in Cricklewood in 1911.

Rosina Atkins (my step-great grandmother) was a bar attendant at the railway station in Barnstaple, Devon in 1901. She later became the manageress of a railway station buffet.

Joseph Crofts (brother of Elizabeth Crofts who married Samuel Leatherland in 1835) worked as a railway policeman in Warwick in 1851.

Percy Evans (brother-in-law of my grandmother) worked on the railway. He was killed on the railway in the Wolverhampton area.

George Flick (father of Emily Flick who married my great great uncle William Leatherland) was a railway signalman who lived in Bethnal Green, London.

Charles Foster (brother of my great grandmother Susanna Foster) worked as a railway labourer in Coventry in 1881. His cousin Thomas Foster was a railway fireman in Wood Green in 1901. Another cousin William Foster worked as a railway signalman in north London in 1891 and 1901.

James Henry Arthur Gee (a cousin of Samuel Leatherland 1835-1901) was a railway platelayer in Cannock in 1901.

Jesse Gould (who married my great great aunt Edith Leatherland) was a 16 year old railway labourer in 1901.

Ernest Grimmett (who married my great great aunt Sarah Emmy Leatherland) was a platelayer with the Great Central Railway in Wembley when he married in 1908. In the 1911 census he was a railway platelayer living in Willesden.

James Hobley (whose son Joseph Lucas Hobley married two Leatherland sisters) was an engine driver railway engine at 808 Old Station, Rugby in 1881 and 1891. His son worked as a 13 year old bookstall helper at Rugby Station in 1881, a railway fireman in 1891, and an engine driver in 1901 and 1911 (latterly in Market Harborough).

Alf Jende, who married my aunt's sister Bet Steckmann, worked as a rail maintenance worker and died in a rail accident in the early 1980s.

Andrew Brewin Leatherland was a railway signal fitter in South Wigston, Leics in 1911. In his will made in 1914 he was described as a railway servant.

Arthur Leatherland was a parcel porter employed by the Great Central Railway whose main line route ran between Rugby and Nottingham. He died of a broken neck aged 18 in an accident at Rugby station while operating a luggage lift. Arthur came from Nottingham. I have not yet mamnaged to link him directly with my ancestors.

Isaac Leatherland of Cosby, Leics was a railway platelayer in 1901 and 1911.

John Leatherland of Pailton (son of Samuel of Pailton) was a railway labourer in 1861, although he later worked as a carrier.

Samuel Leatherland (1810-94) was a brickmaker in his younger years and was making bricks at Balcombe where a railway viaduct was being built. It is also quite likely that he made bricks for the Kilsby rail tunnel in the late 1830s.

Samuel Leatherland (son of William of Kilsby) was a railway wagon cleaner / greaser in 1901 and a boarder with the Taylor family in Rugby (who all worked on the railway). In 1911 census he was labourer with the LNWR, and a boarder in Railway Cottages, Willesden. His marriage certificate described him as a painter, his death certificate railway labourer.

William Leatherland was a journalist from Nottingham who worked for Northants local newspapers. He died in a train crash in 1877 returning from reporting the Quarter Sessions (the local court) in a train on the Northampton to Peterborough line. He left a widow and four children. William Letherland was editor of the Wellingborough News. he died two days after the crash. Later his wife, Priscilla, sought damages against the railway company and was awarded £1,250.

William Leatherland (of the Broughton Astley line of Leatherlands) settled in Peterborough. In 1871 he was a railway fireman in Leicester, in 1881 an engine driver in 1891 a railway engine driver with wife Sarah and children at Gladstone Street, Peterborough.

Albert Richards (my grandfather on my dad's side) worked on the railways all his life. Tragically he was killed on the tracks a few months after my parents married. He worked as a porter in his youth, becoming a goods yard inspector. He was living in Railway Cottages, Holmwood Heath at time of marriage. At the time of his death he lived in railway cottages in Wharf Lane, Staveley. He died at the age of 58 in an accident on a foggy December day near Staveley Central railway station.

His grandfather, William Richards (1829-1901) was a railway labourer in 1881, aMidland Railway plate labourer in 1891 and a labourer at the station in Bulwell in 1901.

Thomas Russell married Sarah Whiteman's sister Annie in Kilsby. In 1881 he was a railway labourer living in Railway Terrace, Rugby. On his marriage in 1883 and in 1901 he was a railway fireman. By 1901 he was a railway engine driver in Rugby. The 1911 census shows that he drove for the LNWR. Sarah's nephew Thomas Whiteman was a railway carman in Ashby de La Zouch in 1891.

George Salsbury (son of Simeon who married Ann Leatherland) became a locomotive driver in Willesden (1881 and 1891). By 1901 he remained a train driver but was in Cardiff.

Joshua Walpole (son of Emma Warpole nee Leatherland of the Pailton line) was a railway fireman in Rugby when he married in 1879 and in 1881. By 1891 he was a locomotive driver with the LNWR and remained an engine driver in 1901 and 1911. His son, Samuel, was a railway clerk in 1901 (but later became a methodist minister).