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    Post GWR : Great Western Railway

    Just a note to let BG Forum members know that here at the Local Studies and Family History Collection, at Swindon Central Library, we have a full bound run of the GWR staff magazine (1891-1947), plus the British Rail Western Region magazine that followed it (1947-).

    (We also have a complete run of The Railway Magazine from 1897)

    They can be VERY good for obituaries, promotions, appointments, accidents and retirements within the company. Many entries feature photographs. While not comprehensive, we have often managed to find results. Please feel free to contact us directly or through this site.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    Remember that GWR staff records themselves are held in the National Archives, Kew.
    Great Western Railway Company: Staff Records
    Covering dates 1835-1962
    Availability Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
    ---------------------------------------------------------


    Best Wishes,
    Swindon Libraries.

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    Hello



    Could I ask if there's anything in your magazines about a gentleman named John Henry Chapman, particularly if he's mentioned with anyone by the surname of Faulkner. He was a 19 year old Cornish man living in Oxford Street in 1901 and was a "Railway Engine Examiner". By 1911 he's moved to Paddington but still worked for the railways. Failing that any information on, say, his 'job description' would be very welcome.

    Many thanks
    Browneyes

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    What a wonderful offer - I hope you don't live to regret it when you get inundated with requests ....!!

    I wonder if there is anything about two of my grandmother's brothers in the magazines; one certainly worked for GWR, the other probably did:

    Ernest William Benney, born 1879, Truro - working as a "railway engine stoker, Great Western Railways" according to the 1911 census, and living at that time in Exeter. Finding him (and my grandmother!) in Exeter in 1911 was quite unexpected, since I had not hear anything from my grandmother about her living there; presumably that was something to do with his job.

    The other brother, Harold Francis Benney, born 1884, Truro, was working as a "railway engine fireman" in 1911, and living in Stroud. That was not such a surprise, since my father had always said he moved away from Truro, but then lost track of him and his family.

    Any information would be gratefully received!
    Thanks
    Barbara

    Life isn't waiting for the storm to pass - it is learning to dance in the rain

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    Barbara and Browneyes, thank you both for your replies.

    We know of someone currently creating a complete surname index for the GWR staff magazine, but until this becomes more widely available there are limitations to how broad a search we can conduct.The annual bound volumes often DO have their own index but it is mostly a subject and place index and features only the most prominent names - the top brass.

    If you know the approximate year of a GWR employee's retirement, or the date of death (either during their time at GWR or after a long career), then we can check the range of years. Each issue often has 4-6 pages of staff events mentioning hundreds of staff. The size of these entries can vary, from large features with portrait photographs, right down to the list of staff changes and transfers, with minimal detail.

    To begin, I would try and obtain a copy of staff records from Kew. This should give the key starting/finishing dates, and presumably any promotion or incident. We can then track down any possible mention in the staff magazine.

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    Thank you for your reply. I'll see what I can find out from Kew and then go from there.

    Browneyes

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    Many thanks!
    I have no further information at present - just idle curiosity! I will try other avenues - and may be back ....!!!
    I still think it is a wonderful offer though ......
    Barbara

    Life isn't waiting for the storm to pass - it is learning to dance in the rain

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    Well it would ge great to find some entries for you.

    The GWR magazine is a remarkable source of biographical information and it should be on the list of sources for any genealogist with GWR connections. If you have dates of death for longstanding employee there are frequent obituaries for even long-retired staff. But just like searching local newspapers for bmd announcements, there is never any guarantee of inclusion.

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    I mentioned an in-progress index. Well, the execllent Berks FHS site also mentions this:

    Mr David Colcomb of 38, Roundway Park, Devizes SN10 2ED, is working his way through the GWR magazines, extracting names in reports of presentations, retirements etc. From the records of the GWR Enginemen and Firemen’s Mutual Assurance Society and Superannuation Society he has extracted details of 41,000 members. Mr Colcomb will deal with postal enquiries on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope and a donation to the Dorothy House Hospice.
    • Also, Ancestry has (if you look very hard!) a 5 year chunk of the GWR staff mag name-indexed (late 1930s to mid 40s)

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    Hi

    I have before me a British Rail publication from around 1975, about the Swindon works. It was published to "commemorate the 150th aniversary of the passenger carrying Stockton and Darlington Railway company and Swindons contributions".

    There is quite a variety of items in there (the name Swindon either comes from "the town on the hill" OR "down of swine", due to the preponderance of pigs in the area !) including a works outing photo in 1974, names from the photo are W N Pellow, S A S Smith, H G Johnson, H R Roberts, C T Roberts, F W Hawksworth and K J Cook. Other names mentioned are Alfred Williams (poet and steam hammer operator), H F S Morgan, W Stanier.

    At the time of the publication the works were described as "still aplant to be considered".

    Apparently trades on the railways included artificial limb maker, caller-up, chaff cutter, dings seperator and shingler.

    There is even a mention of the monster of Swindon (a Pliosaurus Brachysponddylus !) excavated in 1975, and a bloke called Raggy Powell.

    Now dont you just love the junk info I sometimes unearth !

    The publication is about to be handed over to the Institute of Highways and Transportation, if any names mentioned ring bells for you, pm me your email details and I will try and scan a page or two, but be quick cos it will be handed over soon.

    has the Swindon Library got a copy ?

    Brian

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    Hello BrianB

    Is it this?:

    Swindon Works open day, September 7th 1974 : brochure /
    British Rail Engineering Ltd., 1974.


    If so, we already have copy in our local studies collection. So as long as it goes to a good home!

    Some of those names are very famous: - the writer Alfred Williams; Hawksworth, and Stanier were very senior local GWR figures; And the James "Raggy" Powell bloke ( ) is a major figure in our local council's history.

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