View Full Version : Railway workers, Suffolk 1830's to Thirsk
02-07-2010, 7:24 PM
Hope a railway history buff out there can help me!!
My Great, Great, Grandfather was born in Benhall, Suffolk in 1818 but married in Thirsk, Yorkshire in 1840. Between 1840 - 1880's, Census records show his jobs as Railway worker / Platelayer. Having been born in a farming area he clearly moved for work..... what a distance back then...how did he get the job & what railway? What did a platelayer do?
Thanks in advance
02-07-2010, 7:45 PM
Hello Yvonne - welcome to Brit-Gen,
According to the Index of Old Occupations (rmhh.co.uk/occup/p.html), a Platelayer "laid and maintained railway track. Once a railway was built by contractors, the railway company employed platelayers who worked in gangs under a ganger or foreman. Each gang was responsible for the maintenance of a particular length of track - in the 19th Century it was common for rails to be replaced one at a time between trains."
You may well find the book "My Ancestor was a Railway Worker (http://www.parishchest.com/shop/index.php?cmd=viewproduct&cat=&id=P87593&pageOffset=4)" to be of great help to you. :smile5:
02-07-2010, 8:06 PM
Thanks for the welcome & info.... lot of reading of do I think!! Great site - only found the site this afternoon!
02-07-2010, 9:55 PM
welcome Kriywan. Only this afternoon I found that one of my ancestors moved from Norfolk to Yorkshire and also worked for the railways. You will find that a lot of people from East Anglia moved "up North", probably looking to earn more money. There was a lot of development on the railways in the mid 1800s, (Stephenson's Rocket was built about 1829) so work would have been available.
05-07-2010, 12:56 PM
Hi and thanks for droping me a line, am trying to 'put the flesh on the bones' of all this data' as they say in Family History and understand how he made the move, travelled that distance, etc., etc.....easy these days but back then!!! I'll let you know if I find out any useful info! Thanks again
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