Monday, 13 February 2012

PhD Snippet - Early Railway Directors

Bonavia argued the railway industry's early years that the boards of companies were formed from local individuals who had ‘a financial interest in better transport’. Indeed, he related how the formation of the Great Western Railway (GWR) was through a committee of Bristol-based businessmen representing various local bodies, such as the ‘Bristol Corporation, the Society of Merchant Venturers, the Bristol Dock Company, The Bristol Dock Company and the Bristol and Gloucestershire Railway.’ [1] Casson argued that these committees formed the basis of the early boards of directors, but those chosen for them were more likely to have some ‘practical business experience.’[2] Furthermore, Pollins stated that the directors of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway were ‘all important Liverpool and Manchester merchants, traders and civic figures.’[3]

I wrote a post on this topic in October 2010. - Commerce and Finance in Railway Promotion - To Bristol and Southampton we go!

[1] Bonavia, Michael, R. The Organisation of British Railways, (Shepperton, 1971), p.10-11
[2] Casson, The world’s first railway system, p.284
[3] Pollins, Harold ‘The Finances of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway’, The Economic History Review, New Series D (1952), p.90

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