Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library

RAILWAY SERVANTS - RAILWAY MEN

Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library (1972), 63, (1), 12–16.

Abstract

- 12 REPORT BY A COURT OF INQUIRY CONCERNING WAGES POSITION IN THE COAL MINING INDUSTRY, 1924 (Buckmaster). REPORT OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE COAL INDUSTRY (Samuel), 1926. OFFICIAL HISTORIES. such as: Are many also and provide a valuable source of reference, COURT, W.H.B., H.M.s.o. and Longmans, London, 1951. ~; REFERENCE BOOKS. pp. 422. There are books of reference, such as: COLLIERY YEAR BOOK and COAL TRADES DIRECTORY. Louis Cassier & Co. Ltd. The material not yet fully explored for many more books on tho minors' struggle exists in the two-and-a-half centuries of British newspapers: and material could be found if people would only go painstakingly through it. Robin Page Arnot (with the assistance of Beulah Walker and Hywel Francis) * * * * * • • * * * • * • * RAILWAY SERVANTS - RAILWAY MEN Tho railways of Britain have been the focus of much attention of late, and their history repays study, for the light it throws on the workings of British capitalism, in itsyouth, growth and decline, and the changing attitude of railway workers to the vital service they perform. The railway industry, as such, developed relatively late- only in tho 1830's. Earlier, the products of the factories, the raw materials and fuel for their production and the food for their growing populations had been transported by road or inland waterway or coastal steamer. Already in 1693, however, when tho "Revolutionary Parliament" of merchants, bankers and landed gentry took away mineral royalty rights from the Crown and gave them to the lord of the manor, landowners whose acres contained coal began to make wagon-ways from pits to rivers, canals and ports. The discovery in the 1780's of how to make malleable iron rails, and the improvement effected by Stephenson, in the first quarter of tho 19th century, on previous experiments in steam locomotive construction, fairly launched the now means of transport - at first almost exclusively in tho coalfields and the property of the colliery owner, but soon, by virtue of its speed and load capacity, taking on wider dimensions. The promotion of railway cocpanies began. These new scions of private enterprise fought and overcame (or bribed or bought out) some of the hostile hunting squires, stately homo owners and canal companies; persuaded others to take up shares in the railways; waged ferocious battles (at staggering cost) against each other in Parliament for legal sanction to open lines; and astheir profits increased, became attractive fields of

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, F.B.