Friday, 27 January 2012

The Lineage of Railway Managers - Passing on Management Practice

I am always interested in the idea of railway managers having a linage of sorts, whereby one great railway manager trained another. Indeed, I think there one major lineage that runs like a thread through British Railway history that goes is follows:

Captain Mark Huish (1808-1867) - Huish had served with the British army in India and on return became secretary of the newly formed Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway in 1837. In 1841 he became Secretary of the Grand Junction Railway and when it merged with the London and Birmingham and Manchester and Bitmingham Railways to become the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR) in 1846, he was appointed as its General Manager. He kept this post until 1858. Here he pioneered many managerial techniques and was one of the industry's first influential chief executives, exerting considerable control over company policy. Under him was...

Sir Edward Watkin (1819-1901) - Watkin worked with Husih as his assistant. In December 1853 he left the L&NWR to become General Manager of the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR). Watkin reformed the company's management and reduced its costs. From 1864 to 1894 he was the company's chairman and was largely responsible for its London extension in the 1890s. However, during his career he also became a director of the Great Western and Great Eastern Railways, chairman of the Metropolitan Railway and Managing Director of the South Eastern Railway. However, at the MS&LR, he had under him...

Sir Charles Scotter (1835-1911) - Scotter was rose to the position of Commercial Agent on the MS&LR under Watkin, managing all of the company's shipping traffic through the company's Grimsby Docks. In 1873 he was made the company's goods manager. In 1885 he was appointed as General Manager of the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) and reformed the company's management, making it one of the most successful British railway companies of the late 1890s. In 1898 he became a director, and in 1904 its Chairman. Under him was...

Sir Sam Fay (1856-1953) - Fay started his L&SWR career in 1872  and worked as a clerk in the at various stations until being transferred to the Traffic Superintendent's office in 1884. He quickly became Chief Clerk and in 1891 he was made the company's Storekeeper. In 1892 was seconded to the Midland and South West Junction Railway as General Manager and Secretary. Almost bankrupt, he restored the company's solvency, and in 1899 returned to the L&SWR as Superintendent of the Line. In 1901 he became General Manager of the Great Central Railway (Formerly the MS&LR), and did well to keep the poorly performing company 'above water.' He served as deputy on the Railway Executive Committee between 1914 and 1919, organising Britain's Railways for war, and became 'Director of Movement' at the War Office in 1917 and Director-General of Movements and Railways in March 1918.

Therefore, I have shown how good management practice was passed from manager to manager and disseminated through the industry. Nevertheless, a more detailed study of 'who worked with who' would reveal more such linkages in the industry.

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