Latest archive & research newsletter

Newsletter no. 8 from our Archive and Research team at the Museum.

Sign up to receive these updates to your inbox in future.

Work Rest and Play conference

Work, Rest and Play: Exploring the Extended Railway Family A joint conference between the National Railway Musuem and Your Fair Ladies - Saturday 19 September 2015

The 'railway family' is a term that many may be familiar with, but it's a term that can have many meanings. It has been used to variously denote the extended 'family' of workers and colleagues, the 'family' of people working for a particular company, or simply a family whose main breadwinners worked on the railways for several generations. Exploring and studying these various facets of the railway family can shed new light both on the railway industry itself, and the conditions its employees encountered. A greater understanding of the railway family enriches the personal stories of past family members and adds some unexpected depth to the railway world which on the surface seems so familiar.

The third annual archives conference, once again in association with family history specialists Your Fair Ladies, is aimed at the family historian, the researcher, and anyone interested in going beyond the world of locomotives and rolling stock. Building on the themes of last year’s 'Making the Connection' conference, there will be a packed programme setting the railway family firmly in the context of social history to illuminate past lives: PhD student Hannah Reeves will tackle the complex issue of defining the railway family; Helen Ford from the University of Warwick's Modern Records Centre will explore railway unions and their archives; Dr. Mike Esbester of Portsmouth University will look at the rise of railway health and safety culture and how one part of the railway family began to look after its own; Dr. Dudley Clarke will look at the interplay between railway workers and religion; and folk song historian Colin Bargery will present a unique view of the railway family as it was portrayed in popular verse.

In addition, National Railway Museum archives staff, Your Fair Ladies and the Friends of The National Archives will present case studies as practical examples of what can be uncovered in various archive collections. The conference will take place in the our Evening Star Theatre on Saturday 19th September. Registration is at 9.30am and the event ends at 5.30pm. For more on the programme and speakers, see our website.

We are extremely grateful to the Friends of the National Railway Museum for supporting the conference; their generosity means we have been able to keep the ticket prices the same as last year. Tickets cost £35 and include refreshments and lunch (for the Friends of the NRM, tickets are available at the discounted rate of £30). 

Tickets are limited, so we advise early booking. This promises to be an exciting and informative day, which will showcase some ground-breaking historical research done under the National Railway Museum's banner.

New Research Fellow: Oliver Betts

National Railway Museum research and archive newsletter

A new recruit to the team is Research Fellow, Dr Oli Betts, who has joined the team from a teaching post at the University of York. Oli's role will include undertaking research in support of the museum's exhibition programme and publications, alongside working with the museum's academic partners and our expanding cohort of masters and doctoral students.

Oli has a particular interest in nineteenth and early twentieth century history. His current work includes a study of the railway's transformation of urban communities in south London over the course of ninety years between 1850 and 1939, while Oli's first encounters with our collections have already provided plenty of material for future investigation.

More data added to list of Fallen Railwaymen

National Railway Museum research and archive newsletter

Our First World War archive volunteers have now added over 1800 new details of men who died in the First World War to our list of over 20,000. We have now fully indexed the Great Central Railway Journal and are working on the London and North Western Railway Gazette. We have uncovered some fascinating and tragic stories of bravery and loss. Keep checking the list for updates

You can see some of our most recent research discoveries and  best stories on our blog.

Do you have information about a railway ancestor who served in the First World War? We would be interested in hearing from you:

Revolving Words: railway literature festival. Bedale, North Yorkshire 23-25 October 2015

National Railway Museum research and archive newsletter

This celebration promises to be an insightful and action packed weekend for all the family. Among the speakers will be our Librarian Karen Baker, who will be talking about researching railways and the National Railway Museum archives. 

See festival website for ticket information and a full list and biography of speakers.

Institute of Railway Studies seminar - 12 November 2015

National Railway Museum research and archive newsletter

The next IRS seminar is planned will feature three presentations from past and present researchers. Unconfirmed topics are: the Southern Railway and road competition; History of the Liverpool Road Station site in Manchester and a Study of railway carriage prints. 

For more information and to get your free ticket, please visit the event page.

New Acquisition: Watercolour and Pen and Ink collection depicting the construction of East India Railway

National Railway Museum research and archive newsletter

We've recently purchased an interesting and vibrant collection of fourteen drawings and paintings from the personal estate of the East Indian Railway's Chief Engineer, George Turnbull 1851-1862. It shows the building of the railway between Calcutta to Benares. George Turnbull, a Scottish engineer, spent his early career working in London under Thomas Telford. He had a significant engineering career in Britain, which included many railway structures, before his appointment in India.

This collection sheds light on his work in India; gives a glimpse of working life and the impact the coming of the railways had for India and its people. 

Please contact Search Engine if you would like to view this collection

Background: Suitcase with railway luggage labels