Friday, 6 April 2012

Testimonial to a Railwayman - 1854

The increasingly professional early railways also saw the the development of a community spirit amongst railway workers. Indeed, this was exemplified by the testimonial, where groups of railway workers would present their colleagues with gifts to celebrate their long service or achievements. Indeed, this case, from 1854, is a prime example that shows how managers could be respected by their piers and subordinates:

"We have much pleasure in recording a gratifying tribute of respect and esteem which has been paid to Mr Ashbee, the worthy and efficient superintendent of the Gloucester branch of the Great Western Railway, by the clerks porters, and general servants on that portion of the company's line extending from Swindon to the junction with the Hereford, Ross and Gloucester line. The event to which we allude took place on Friday, at the Wellington Hotel, near the Great Western station, where a number of clerks and servants of the company, stationed between Gloucester and Swindon, assembled under the presidency of Mr Forbes, the manager of the goods department at Paddington. The testimonial consisted of a handsome silver teapot, sugur-basin, and cream-ewer, from the manufactory of Mr Mann, the Cross, and bore the following inscription:- "this tea services is presented to John Ashbee, Esq., as a token of the high esteem in which he is held by the men employed under him on the Gloucester branch of the Great Western Railway, Jan. 20, 1854"[1]


[1] Jackson's Oxford Journal, Saturday, January 28, 1854

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