Copyright
Clement Edwin Stretton.

The history of the Midland railway online

. (page 1 of 36)
Online LibraryClement Edwin StrettonThe history of the Midland railway → online text (page 1 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


LIBRARY



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.



Class



THE HISTORY OF
THE MIDLAND RAILWAY




SIR ERNEST PAGET, BART.

CHAIRMAN OF THE MIDLAND RAILWAY COMPANY



THE HISTORY



OF THE



MIDLAND RAILWAY



BY

CLEMENT E. STRETTON



WITH ONE HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS AND SIX DIAGRAMS



METHUEN & CO.

36 ESSEX STREET W.C.

LONDON

1901



PREFACE



IT is hardly to be wondered that the subject of communication
in the Midland Counties has always interested me, for
our family has long been connected with the railways, canals,
and tramways of Leicestershire. As a boy I lived at New
Found Pool, Leicester, close to the Leicester and Swannington
Railway, and much of my time was spent on the .line. My
interest in this railway was strengthened when I was told
that it was the key to the inner history of the Midland
Railway Company. Shortly after, I became an engineering
pupil, and obtained permission, through the courtesy of
Mr. Edward Shipley Ellis, to make copies of the plans,
sections, ' diagrams of locomotives, and other documents be-
longing to this Company. My first contribution to the history
of the Midland Railway was made as long ago as the
1 7th July, 1867 the thirty-fifth anniversary of the opening
of the Swannington line when I read a paper at Leicester,
entitled " Notes on the Leicester and Swannington Railway."

The first part of this History deals with the various
independent lines which now form the Midland Railway
and events that took place prior to 1865. It has been
compiled almost entirely from the books and papers form-
ing the " Stretton Railway Collection," which, after being
sent to the Chicago Exhibition of 1893, was presented by
the author and his son to the nation, and is now to be
found in the Museums at South Kensington, Leicester,
Liverpool, Loughborough, and Holyhead. The later History
of the Railway, from 1865 to the present day, is based upon
records which I have most carefully kept of every event

227989



vi PREFACE

as it occurred, my intimate knowledge of the history of the
line enabling me to arrange this material in a way which,
I trust, is likely to be interesting and valuable, not only to
engineers and railway men, but also to the general public.

The fact that the Midland line has been built up by
amalgamations, extensions, and purchases, has rendered the
work more difficult than it would otherwise have been ; it
has been necessary to give, not only the names of these
small lines, but also the reason why they were acquired,
together with a short account of their previous history. The
extent of these amalgamations may be gathered from the
tabulated statements on pages 348 and 349.

Though the book treats mainly of the origin and growth
of the Midland Company, many of the sections are of a
wider interest ; e.g. those dealing with the invention of the
first Edge-rail-way by William Jessop, and the "Outram-way"
introduced by the Outrams of Alfreton. On page 259 a
chart will be found showing the administration of the railway,
that will probably be new to the majority of readers.

I wish to express my thanks to the Midland Railway
Company for the loan of several very interesting photographs,
to the Chairman and the officials for their courtesy and for
lending photographs to illustrate the details of the depart-
ments. I am also indebted to Mr. G. R. Stephenson and
Mr. W. H. Ellis for the loan of portraits ; and to Messrs.
R. Stephenson and Co., Messrs. Sharp, Stewart, and Co., The
Butterley Iron Company, the late Mr. James Ellis, and the
descendants of Mr. Stenson, Mr. Jessop, and Mr. Outram,
for lending records which have enabled me to verify my
information.

C. E. S.

SAXE-COBURG HOUSE, LEICESTER



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I.

PAGE

THE BIRTH OF A RAILWAY . . . . . . i

CHAPTER II.
OPENING OF THE LEICESTER AND SWANNINGTON RAILWAY . . . 20

CHAPTER III.
THE MIDLAND COUNTIES RAILWAY . . ... 32

CHAPTER IV.
THE NORTH MIDLAND RAILWAY . . 47

CHAPTER V.
THE BIRMINGHAM AND DERBY JUNCTION RAILWAY . . . 62

CHAPTER VI.
DIFFICULTIES SOLVED BY AMALGAMATION . . . 67

CHAPTER VII.
THE MIDLAND RAILWAY COMPANY . . 73

CHAPTER VIII.
A POLICY OF EXPANSION . . . ... 76

CHAPTER IX.
EXTENSIONS AND PURCHASES . . . ... 87

CHAPTER X.
GREAT RIVAL SCHEMES . . . ... 91

CHAPTER XI.

THE ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH CANAL AND TRAMROADS AND THE LEICESTER

AND SWANNINGTON EXTENSIONS . . ... 98



viii CONTENTS

CHAPTER XII.

PAGE

COMMUNICATION BETWEEN BRISTOL AND BIRMINGHAM . . . 105

CHAPTER XIII.
THE LEEDS AND BRADFORD RAILWAY . . . . . 116

CHAPTER XIV.
GIGANTIC SCHEMES AND AN ANCIENT TRAMWAY . . . 124

CHAPTER XV.
A COMING STORM. MR. HUDSON RESIGNS . . . . 130

CHAPTER XVI.
MR. JOHN ELLIS ELECTED CHAIRMAN . . ... 140

CHAPTER XVII.
THE NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY COMPANY . ... 147

CHAPTER XVIII.
LEICESTER AND HITCHIN . . . ... 153

CHAPTER XIX.
How THE MIDLAND ENTERED MANCHESTER . ... 160

CHAPTER XX.

BEDFORD TO LONDON . . . . ... 174

CHAPTER XXI.
THE LONDON DISTRICT AND A WAR OF RATES TO LONDON . . 187

CHAPTER XXII.
IMPORTANT EXTENSIONS AND NEGOTIATIONS . ... 193

CHAPTER XXIII.
A MASTER-STROKE . . . . ... 201

CHAPTER XXIV.
SETTLE TO CARLISLE AND THE FORTH BRIDGE . ... 209

CHAPTER XXV.

SUGGESTED AMALGAMATIONS AND A SECOND MAIN LINE . . . 222

CHAPTER XXVI.
NEW WORKS . . . . . ... 231



CONTENTS ix

CHAPTER XXVII.

PAGE

THE LOCOMOTIVE WORKS AT DERBY . ... . 234

CHAPTER XXVIII.
THE CARRIAGE AND WAGON WORKS . . ... 251

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE MIDLAND RAILWAY, WITH SOME ACCOUNT

OF ITS ADMINISTRATORS . . . ... 257

CHAPTER XXX.
THE GENERAL MANAGEMENT . . . ... 279

CHAPTER XXXI.

FINANCE DEPARTMENT . . . ... 306

CHAPTER XXXII.

THE LOCOMOTIVE DEPARTMENT. WAY AND WORKS. SIGNALS AND
SIGNAL WORKS. THE CARRIAGE AND WAGON DEPARTMENT. THE
STORES. THE HOTELS AND REFRESHMENT DEPARTMENT. THE
DETECTIVE DEPARTMENT . . . . . . 312

APPENDIX.

THE MIDLAND RAILWAY INSTITUTE. UNDERTAKINGS ACQUIRED BY THE
MIDLAND. JOINT RAILWAYS. MIDLAND RAILWAY DIVIDENDS.
THE COAT OF ARMS . . . ... 347

INDEX . . . . . . 353



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



PAGE

Sir Ernest Paget . frontispiece

The Bell Hotel, Leicester . . 6

Mr. Robert Stephenson . . 7

First Register of Proprietors . . 9
The Seal (Leicester and Swannington) 1 1

West Bridge Station, Leicester . 13

Glenfield Tunnel . . .15

Rails, Chairs, and Sleepers, 1832 . 16

Plan of stone blocks . . 17

The Comet Locomotive, 1832 . .18

,, ,, (front view) . 19

Open Carriage, 1832 . . .21

Brass Ticket, 1832 . .23

First-class Carriage, 1832 . . 24

Glenfield Station, 1832 . , 25

The "Samson" Locomotive, 1833 . 26

The First Steam Trumpet, 1833 . 27

Hotel, "Long Lane," 1833 . . 28

Swannington Incline, 1833 . . 29

,, Winding Engine, 1833 30

The "Atlas" Locomotive, 1834 . 31

The Sun Inn, Eastwood . -33

Nottingham Station, 1839 . . 39

Second-class Carriage, 1844 . . 40

Leicester Station, 1840 . . 41

The Avon Viaduct, 1840 . . 43

George Stephenson . . 49

Chesterfield . . 53

Long Boiler Locomotive . . 59

Goods Engine (North Midland) . 61

The " Derwent " Locomotive . . 64

First-class Carriage, 1839 . . 65

Second-class Carriage, 1839 . . 65

Derby Station . 69

Derby, Midland Hotel . . 75

The Outram Way . . . 101

Locomotive " No. 42 " . . 104

American Engine, 1840 . . 107



PAGE

Bristol Quay . . . 1 1 1

Midland Broad-gauge Carriage . 113

Contour, Derby to Bristol . .115

Bradford Station and Hotel . .121

Carriage and Horse, 1848 . .127

Sharp's Engine, No. 60 . -136

Wilson's Engine, No. 26 . .137

First-class Carriage, 1848 . .138

Second-class ,, ,, . .138

Ingleton Viaduct . . 149

Ambergate Junction . . .162

Willersley Cutting (Matlock) . 163

Miller's Dale . . .164

Miller's Dale Viaduct . .165

Modern Dining Carriage . .168
Ashwood Dale and the Buxton

Express . . 169

Third-class Dining Carriage . . 171

Liverpool Central Station . 173

Contour, Leicester to Liverpool . 173

St. Pancras (Roof of Station) . 181

St. Pancras (Hotel) . . 183
Dining Car, Third-class (interior) . 207

Contour, London to Carlisle . . 213

Bogie Carriage, 1875 2I 5

First-class Joint Dining Carriage . 220

Third ,, ,, ,, ,, .221

Harringworth Viaduct . . 225

Sheringham . . .227
Edale . ... 229

Contour, London to Leeds . . 230

Heysham Towers (Hotel) . . 233

Derby Works (Wheel Shop) . . 237
Standard Express Engine, " Single " 240

Derby Works (Fitting Shop) . 241

American Engine, 1899 2 49

Composite Brake Carriage . . 253

Map of the Midland System . 258



Xll



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



PAGE

Mr. John Ellis . . 269

Mr. Edward Shipley Ellis . . 273
A Modern Train . . . 275

Mr. G. H. Turner . . . 285

Mr. E. W. Wells . . 288

Mr. Mugliston . . . 289

Gloucester Station . . .291

Mr. Adie . . . . 298

Lawley Street, Birmingham . .301
Standard Goods Engine . . 302
Mr. Shaw . ... 303

Mr. Charles . . . 307

Mr. Doughty . . . 309

Standard Express Engine, " Coupled "313
Standard Passenger Tank Engine. 315
Goods Engine, Mr. Kirtley's . 319



PAGE

Mr. S. W. Johnson . . 322

Express Engine (without bogie) . 324

Ilkley Bridge . . . 325

Clifton Suspension Bridge . . 326

Mr. McDonald . . . 329

Block Signal Diagram . . 332

,, ,, Instruments . . 332

Mr. W. Langdon . . . 335

Tramway Junction, Gloucester . 336

Leicester New Station . . 337

,, ,, (interior) 339

Mr. Clayton . . . 340

Mr. Morrall . . . 342

Mr. Towle . . . 343

Derby Institute (Reading-room) . 347

The Coat of Arms . . .351



THE HISTORY

OF THE

MIDLAND RAILWAY

CHAPTER I.

THE BIRTH OF A RAILWAY

THE system of railway traction which has revolutionised the world
can hardly be said to have been created, and it is more in accord
with historical accuracy to describe it as having dawned to have, in
fact, been evolved out of primitive and very elementary systems for
facilitating the transport of minerals. But whilst these ancient systems,
which were in operation on a small scale in a limited number of dis-
tricts, form the foundation and the exciting cause for better and more
efficient methods, it was, of course, the introduction of a new system
of traction and the harnessing of a new force by means of steam loco-
motives that led to the birth of modern railways.

The development of this new source of power in the service of
mankind vastly increased the resources not only of this country, where
it first was discovered, but it led practically to the creation of a new
world or at least a world vastly different to that before this new power
was called into being. It enabled the commerce of Britain to expand
and develop as it had never done before ; and with extended trade and
the provision of cheap and speedy communication from one part of
the country to another it proved an instrument for the elevation and
advancement of all ranks and conditions of men.

Without railways England under modern conditions would be im-
possible, for not only are railways indispensable for the trade and
commerce of the country, but they are absolutely essential for the
conveyance of food for the inhabitants of our great industrial centres.

It is only seventy years ago that the first modern railway was opened ;



2 /. t^Ji : HISTORY. OE THE MIDLAND RAILWAY

but since the time of that great experiment the country has been
covered with a network of lines from one end to the other. In this
great expansion which has become of world-wide importance the
Midland Railway has played a very important part. Some of the lines
and systems which it owns to-day were amongst the earliest lines of
any kind that were constructed, and they form important parts of those
methods of traction by means of horses which led to the introduction of
modern railways.

The new system was hailed with joy and wonder in all those towns
and places where in early days it was introduced ; and although
familiarity may have in these days somewhat obscured our eyes to the
beauty and grandeur of a train in rapid flight and a locomotive in
full steam, yet it is by no means difficult to understand the astonish-
ment of those who for the first time witnessed so great a revolution.
In recording the history of the Midland System it will be necessary
to give the reader glimpses from contemporary records of what was
at the time so wonderful a spectacle.

The Midland Railway Company, as we know it to-day under its
present style and title, was incorporated by an Act of Parliament passed
on May loth, 1844, by virtue of which three previously existing inde-
pendent railway companies, namely the "North Midland," " Midland
Counties," and " Birmingham and Derby Junction," were on and from
that date dissolved, and their railways and capital became consolidated
and incorporated as "The Midland Railway Company."

Strictly speaking, it will be seen that the present Company has existed
for a period of over fifty-six years, but actually the ways, works, and
traffic of the undertakings which it took over, as well as those which
it afterwards acquired, date back to a far more remote period. In
order, therefore, to fully understand the reasons why the original lines
were made and the causes which led to the "consolidation" in the
year 1844, it is necessary to investigate the histories of the three
independent companies above mentioned.

The first portion of the Midland Railway constructed on modern
principles, worked by locomotives, and conveying passengers as well as
minerals, was, beyond all question, the line from Leicester to Swanning-
ton. It was the earliest line of railway now belonging to the Midland
constructed by George Stephenson and his son Robert on the same
plan which they had previously introduced with such great success
between Liverpool and Manchester. Not only the engineers, but the
first manager, Mr. George Vaughan, the locomotive men, the man
to work the incline, the platelayers, the guard, were all brought from
the Liverpool and Manchester line to instruct the local men to become



THE CHARNWOOD FOREST CANAL 3

proficient in railway management ; and the rules and regulations of the
Liverpool and Manchester were also adopted. The only difference
between the two railways was that whereas the Liverpool and Man-
chester was a double line and had both passenger and goods trains, the
Leicester and Swannington was a single line and had mixed trains
carrying both passengers and minerals. By this means the new railway
system was brought down from the north, where it had hitherto alone
existed, into the very centre of England.

For many generations coal mines have been worked in the Swanning-
ton and Coleorton district of Leicestershire, also in the Erewash Valley,
Nottinghamshire, and for very many years the only means of conveying
the coal to the various towns and markets was by horses and carts
upon the common road, a method which proved expensive and un-
satisfactory.

The colliery owners in both Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire
were anxiously looking for an improved means of communication, and
favoured the introduction of canals ; but they were both equally anxious
that the canals should be constructed so as either to give exceptional
advantages to their own particular coalfield, or, failing that, then to give
equal facilities to both.

To attain this object, as long ago as the year 1776 the Loughborough
Navigation Company was formed to improve parts of the River Soar
and make a canal from the River Trent to Loughborough. In the
following year, 1777, the Erewash Canal Company commenced the
construction of their undertaking, which extended from Langley Mill
and the Nottinghamshire coalfield to the River Trent. Shortly after-
wards it was proposed to form a Leicester Canal Company to extend
the communication from Loughborough to the West Bridge at Leicester.
In other words, by means of these three canals and the River Trent,
the Nottinghamshire coal was to be brought to Leicester, and the
Leicestershire coal would thereby be completely shut out of its own
market. The Leicestershire coal owners naturally fought against such
a scheme, and were powerful enough to prevent its being carried out
until the Leicester Canal Company undertook to make a branch canal
and tramroads extending from near Loughborough over the Charnwood
Forest to the Swannington coalfields. By this means it was thought
equal facilities would be conferred on both, and when, on October 27th,
1794, the canal was opened to Leicester for coal traffic, two boats
arrived together, bringing loads from the rival districts.

However, the Leicestershire coal owners were destined to be dis-
appointed, for in the winter of 1799 the banks of the Charnwood
Forest Canal burst, the works were seriously damaged, and the whole



4 THE HISTORY OF THE MIDLAND RAILWAY

of the water ran away and flooded the surrounding district. The canal
was not repaired, but the bridges and other works can still be seen and
the track traced, after having been disused for over a hundred years.

Thus the failure of this branch canal effectually shut out the
Leicestershire coal and gave the entire trade to the Nottinghamshire
and Derbyshire coal owners, a condition of things which remained
unaltered for no less than thirty-three years.

Ultimately, in October, 1828, Mr. William Stenson, one of the
partners in the Whitwick Colliery, Leicestershire, paid a visit to New-
castle-upon-Tyne and the Stockton and Darlington Railway, where he
was so much impressed with the value of railways and locomotives for
the conveyance of coal that he returned home determined, if possible,
to obtain railway communication between Whitwick and the town of
Leicester.

He first examined the route for a direct line, but found the gradients
far too severe ; so, taking his theodolite, he walked over the country in
the direction of Bagworth, Desford, and Glenfield, and on arrival at
Leicester reported to his partners, Mr. Whetstone and Mr. Samuel
Smith Harris, that he had found a suitable route, and after a long con-
sultation it was decided that " Mr. John Ellis, of Beaumont Leys, near
Leicester, was the best person to assist them in the project."

Mr. Stenson at once wrote a long letter to Mr. Ellis, fully explaining
that the Leicestershire colliery owners at Coleorton, Swannington, and
Whitwick found that coal was being sent by canal from Derbyshire and
Nottinghamshire to Leicester, and that their coal was practically shut
out of its own market. He added : " Our carting beats us, but I see
a way to relief if we can but get up a railway company. I've tried the
ground with my theodolite and find no difficulty in making a railway,
though a tunnel will, I think, have to be made through the hill at
Glenfield, and further that there will have to be a severe incline near to
Bagworth." Mr. Ellis at once saw the importance of the undertaking
to the town and trade of Leicester, and having gone over the proposed
route with Mr. Stenson, he decided to make a journey to Liverpool in
order to consult his friend, George Stephenson, who was then engaged
in the construction of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. After
travelling upon one of the contractor's engines to Rainhill cutting, Mr.
Ellis found Stephenson engaged in directing the men how to overcome
a difficulty in the construction of the Rainhill bridge.

The object of the visit was explained, and Mr. Stephenson was asked
to go over to Leicester to inspect the route and to become the engineer
of the proposed new line. To quote the words of Mr. Ellis, "Old
George " was cross, and replied, " I have thirty-one miles of railway to



GEORGE STEPHENSON CONSULTED 5

make, and the directors think that that is enough for any man at
a time."

It has been assumed that George Stephenson gave utterance to the
celebrated dictum that " thirty-one miles of railway were enough for any
man to make at a time." But this is not so. The facts were that
George Stephenson, in 1826, entered into an agreement with the
directors of the Liverpool and Manchester line, under which he
accepted the post of engineer-in-chief of their railway at a salary of
;i,ooo per annum, and to devote practically the whole of his time
to its construction ; and further, that he was to undertake no other line
until their works were completed. It must be remembered that George
Stephenson in 1826 was comparatively a poor and unknown man, but
in 1829 he had become celebrated, and the reason for his being
"cross" was that, having already had to decline the offer to make
several other lines, he was practically compelled to decline another
proposal. George Stephenson by this time was far too great a man
and had too thorough a grasp of railway engineering to limit his
energies unless compelled by circumstances to do so to the con-
struction of thirty-one miles of line. On a previous occasion he had
asked the directors to allow him to undertake to make a railway from
Canterbury to Whitstable, but he was refused the necessary permission,
and it was on this occasion that the Chairman of the Liverpool and
Manchester Railway and not Stephenson delivered himself of the
famous saying, " No ; thirty-one miles is enough for any man to make
at one time." This is further confirmed by what immediately followed,
for it will be seen that George Stephenson himself and his son, Robert
Stephenson, who had also been engaged on the Liverpool and Man-
chester line, both returned with Mr. Ellis to Leicester.

Mr. Ellis decided not to take Stephenson's refusal as a final answer,
but determined to wait for a few hours until Stephenson had completed
the difficult task upon which at the moment he was engaged, and until
the two could dine together at the inn only a short distance from the
bridge.

After dinner Mr. Ellis again commenced to explain the object of his
visit, and read to Stephenson the letter which he had received from
Mr. Stenson. A map was produced showing the proposed route ; Mr.
Stephenson became interested in the subject, and agreed that there was
"something in the scheme." Ultimately "Old George" remarked,
"When are you going back to Leicester?"

"To-night," was the prompt reply of Mr. Ellis, to which Mr.
Stephenson answered, "Then I will go with you."

On arrival at Leicester, Mr. Stenson accompanied Mr. Ellis and



6 THE HISTORY OF THE MIDLAND RAILWAY

Mr. Stephenson and his son Robert over the proposed route, and when
Mr. Stephenson was shown building-sand near Glenfield, granite at
Groby, coal at Bagworth, Whitwick, and Swannington, brickworks at
Snibston, granite at Bardon Hill, and lime at Ticknall all of which
were required in the town of Leicester he came to the conclusion that
a very useful railway could easily be constructed, and accordingly pre-
pared a special report in favour of the projected line, which he con-
sidered could be made for "the sum of .75.450 or thereabouts."

Mr. Ellis invited his friends and those persons likely to join in the
scheme to meet him at the Bell Hotel, Leicester, when he, Mr. Stephen-




THE BELL HOTEL, LEICESTER
(Birthplace of the Leicester and Swannington Railway).

son, and Mr. Stenson fully explained the objects and details of the
proposed railway. The meeting unanimously resolved to form itself
into a provisional committee to obtain an Act for the making of the
proposed line, and decided that the share capital should be "90,000
in i, 800 shares of 50 each, with power to raise 20,000 by loan if
required. To ascertain how the money was to be raised was the next
consideration ; in fact, to find how much each one present was really
interested in the railway. Taking a large sheet of paper, and with pen
in hand, Mr. Ellis remarked, "Now, gentlemen, how many shares?" to
which George Stephenson immediately replied, "Put me down for fifty."
This gave the list an excellent start, and all went well till nearly 60,000



GEORGE STEPHENSON RAISES MONEY 7

had been subscribed ; then the matter hung fire. Mr. Ellis remarked
that most of the rich men of Leicester had their money in canals, and
that he feared they would not be likely to assist the railway. This
caused George Stephenson to exclaim, " Give me the sheet, and I will




MR. ROBERT STEPHENSON
(Engineer, Leicester and Swannington Railway).

raise the money for you in Liverpool " ; and the sheet was accordingly
handed to him.

Mr. Thomas Paget, a well-known local banker, further strengthened
the hands of the promoters by then expressing his willingness to provide
a sum of ^20,000 on loan if necessary.



8 THE HISTORY OF THE MIDLAND RAILWAY

The financial part of the business being thus settled, Mr. Stephenson



Online LibraryClement Edwin StrettonThe history of the Midland railway → online text (page 1 of 36)