Questions about my 2nd Cousin

Discussion in 'Railway Workers' started by The Artful Dodger, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Ontario, Canada
    Arthur Joseph Rowledge was born 24 July 1877 and baptised 19 August 1877 @ Kensington St. James, Norlands in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

    On 30 December 1895 he started work as an Engine Cleaner at Paddington Yards. This was his occupation when he married Bessie Annison on 8 November 1896. At the time of the 1901 census he was a Patient @ Kensington Infirmary and his occupation was a Fireman at a pay rate of 4 shillings [was this a weekly wage?]. While he was in hospital, his wife and and his sister and his 2 children - aged 1 year and the other 2 weeks can be found - RG13/30/86/83. He progressed and his employment records with the Great Western Railway shows that by December 1906 he was an Engine Driver @ Wallington Yards, Oxfordshire and involved in Shunting.
    At the time of the 1911 census, he was living @ Cuxham Road, Wallington, Oxfordshire and his rate of pay was 6 shillings.
    On 13 August 1918 he received a Commendation for extinguishing a Fire on the Platform before much damage could be done.
    Between August 1919 and April 1922 his rates of pay ranged from a low of 15 shillings to a high of 17 shillings and 10 pence in 1921 before dropping back to 15 shillings and 8 pence in 1922. There is no indication of why this happened and I presume there was a demotion involved. How do I find out?

    Between 1922 and his retirement on 24 July 1937 there is no indication of where he was working and what his occupation and pay was. How can I find out more on this?

    He was aged 60 when he retired after 41 years and [not quite] 8 months working for G.W.R. Ihave 2 questions:
    1] Was retirement at age 60 mandatory?
    2] Would he have received a pension and if so what would it have been?

    Thank you
  2. Last Resort

    Last Resort Active Member

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    Buckinghamshire, UK
    I'm not sure I can answer all your searching questions, Artful, but I'll make a start and others might be inspired to join in.

    I should think that the wage of 4 shillings was indeed a weekly wage at that time. Note the differential with the wage in 1911, when he had become a driver. I expect you know, but others might not, that a fireman employed by the GWR (God's Wonderful Railway, according to some!) was not there to put out fires but to make them. To be precise, to make them in the fireboxes of steam locomotives. You can easily find online films of firemen at work, either in archive footage or else in recent footage of restored engines which still have occasional chances to pull special excursion trains on the main line.

    Regarding your question on fluctuations in pay between 1919 and 1921, you do not say where you got the figures you quote or what they claim to be. I would not assume that any reduction was down to demotion. If the amounts were total pay, the fluctuations could merely reflect levels of overtime which your relation was able to work. If the figures are basic pay, then you should bear in mind what a difficult time the 1920s was economically, with lots of unemployment and a general strike in 1926. It is not difficult to see that reductions could have been imposed for economic reasons.

    I don't know where you find out more about his later service, but see comments below.

    I very much doubt that retirement was compulsory at age 60. It would have been an attractive proposition to many working men and perhaps your relation would have jumped at the chance if he had sufficient resources to survive.

    I am not aware of many, if any, occupational pensions before the 1940s. He would have received a pension from the state, but not until the age of 65 (unless perhaps he was disabled).

    The history of the GWR has many fans and followers, and you could do well to tap into websites (eg forums) that meet their interests. Also, you are probably aware of another family history forum (formerly sponsored by Parish Chest) where the Wiltshire Record Office used to be rather helpful on the Wiltshire county forum. They are based in Swindon, where the old engineering works of the GWR were, and they probably hold a lot of files relating to the railway.

    Good luck on an interesting quest! :)
    The Artful Dodger likes this.

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