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Sunday, 29 January 2012

"It has long been considered necessary" - The London and South Western Railway Orphanage - Part 1

In the mid-Victorian period a strong community spirit grew amongst railway workers of all grades, with one of the most community-orientated railway companies to work for being the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR). Its employees banded together to form a Widows and Orphans Fund in 1861 to support families of railway workers who had been killed on the railways.[1]  Furthermore, the company’s staff magazine, The South Western Gazette, was established by railway workers to support this charitable cause.[2] Yet, if the father and husband had not subscribed to the fund, in the event they were killed at work their families were did not receive any money from it. Thus, with the support of many of the L&SWR’s managers and employees, the ‘London and South Western Railway Servants’ Orphanage’ was established in early 1886 to support these railwaymen's children.

Prior to 1886 there was only one orphanage for railway worker’s children in Britain, run by Midland Railway employees at Derby from 1875 and housing children from all over the country.[3] In November 1883 a letter to The Hampshire Advertiser noted that the daughter of William Parker, a L&SWR platelayer who had been killed the year before, had been admitted this home.[4] Like the L&SWR employee’s orphanage would be, the Derby institution was independent from the Midland Railway and was run on voluntary contributions.[5] Yet, by1883 it was reaching capacity and this fact may have been the impetus for an orphanage being started for the children of L&SWR employees.[6]

In 1884 the Rev. Canon Allen Edwards, who was known as the ‘railwaymen’s parson’, set about raising support and funds.[7] An article in the Gazette in January 1885 noted that many important individuals, both inside and outside the railway company, had already volunteered contributions. The list included names such as the company’s ex-General Manager, Archibald Scott, its Deputy Chairman, Wyndam S. Portal, the Right Honourable the Lord Cairns, and the Bishop of Winchester. In total, twenty-one notable individuals had given financial support, with nine individuals pledging to contribute in the future. The goal of the orphanage was given as the following:

‘It has long been considered necessary that a home should be provided for the orphans of men who, at the time of their death, were in the service of the London and South Western Railway Company, leaving families unprovided for, such accident being the result of accident or natural cause.’

The orphanage’s organisation was headed by a small committee of railwaymen, none of whom were L&SWR managers. Furthermore, there were sub-committees at each of the principal stations to put up children as candidates for entry into the home. These candidates were voted on by the subscribers, who each received a vote for each five shilling donation to the orphanage. The regional committees were also responsible for raising funds for the orphanage’s operations and the sending of a representative to the central committee.[8]

The orphanage opened in March 1886 at a private house in Jeffreys Road, Clapham; the initial intake being ‘ten fatherless girls’ under the age of fourteen.[9] The next elections for entry came in October 1886 and the Gazette listed the circumstances of eight children who had been candidates for entry. The circumstances of the three that successfully entered the home were as follows:

1. Nellie Short, Father, a porter was killed in 1885. Mother has seven children, one in service; the rest she provides for by her own labour. – 504 votes
2. Ellen Elizabeth Hicks, Father, a brakesman, died in 1886. Mother has three young children and provides for them almost entirely by her own labour. – 412 votes
3. Edith Flora Burningham, Father a horse inspector died in February this year. Mother has eight children, three of whom are earning a little money. – 266 votes[10]

As the number of children in the home increased more space was required. Thus, the orphanage committee acquired the house next door in 1894, allowing it to accommodate a total of fifty girls. Yet, by this point it was felt that a home for boys was required, and a year later another house in Jeffreys Road was purchased, which by the start of 1896 was housing twenty-six boys. But the number of orphanages housed continued rising and in 1900 the committee purchased a larger house in Guildford Road, South Lambeth, to which all the girls transferred.[11]

While many of these developments were funded by the contributions of railway workers, large donations were made by individuals from within the railway company. The General Manager of the company between 1885 and 1897, Sir Charles Scotter, and his wife, Annie, were major supporters of the orphanage. The new home for boys in 1895 was purchased with a donation of 100 guineas from Scotter and for this reason Annie’s name was on the building.[12] Furthermore, the new home for girls in 1900 was purchased with a contribution of 500 guineas from the L&SWR’s directors.[13] Lastly, funds were also raised through fairs, such as one at Basingstoke in 1887,[14] and concerts, for example one the Duchess of Albany attended at Eastleigh in 1892.[15] Thus, the activities supporting the orphanage exemplified the community spirit that existed within the L&SWR between railway workers themselves, and between the company’s management and their employees.

By the early 1900s the two homes were again reaching capacity and a new site was sought. Indeed, with £2,800 bequeathed from Mr Thomas Parker Harvey a new orphanage was opened in Woking in 1909. The building of this institution, and its work in the 1920s, will be the subject of the next post.[16]


[1] South Western Gazette, 7 July 1888, p.4
[2] South Western Gazette, June 1881, p.5
[4] The Hampshire Advertiser, Saturday, November 24, 1883; pg. 6; Issue 3907
[5] South Western Gazette, December 1886, p.187
[6] The Hampshire Advertiser, Saturday, November 24, 1883; pg. 6; Issue 3907
[7] Unknown Author, ‘London and South Western Servants Orphanage’, South Western Railway Magazine, Vol. VII No. 70 (January, 1921), p.2
[8] South Western Gazette, January 1885, p.3
[9] Unknown Author, ‘London and South Western Servants Orphanage’, p.2
[10] South Western Gazette, December 1886, p.187
[11] Unknown Author, ‘London and South Western Servants Orphanage’, p.2-3
[12] South Western Gazette, 1 January, 1911, p.9
[13] Unknown Author, ‘London and South Western Servants Orphanage’, p.2-3
[14] The Hampshire Advertiser, Wednesday, July 20, 1887; pg. 2; Issue 4288
[15] The Hampshire Advertiser, Saturday, April 09, 1892; pg. 8; Issue 4782
[16] Unknown Author, ‘London and South Western Servants Orphanage’, p.2-3

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Dynamics of Cab Fares from Waterloo Station in 1864

Recently, I received through the post a map of the London and South Western Railway that I suspect was published around 1863 or 1864 as part of a publically sold timetable. The map itself is very interesting. However, on one reverse of the item was a list of all the ‘CAB FARES FROM WATERLOO STATION.’ From the industry’s birth the railways of Britain always established relationships with road transportation companies so that passengers could continue their journeys after leaving the station. Therefore, indulge me for this post while I deviate away from railways and analyse the fares that cabs charged between Waterloo and places in London.

The document (Shown) listed approximately 150 different destinations that cabs could take passengers to from Waterloo. Five fare prices were listed: six pence, one shilling, one shilling six pence and two shillings. Only a journey to the West India Docks cost two shillings six pence. Using this data, I thought I would investigate the cost of journeys per mile and determine which trips were the best value. I used the ‘get directions’ function of Google Maps to measure the distance of each journey. Of course, many roads have changed since 1864 and this means that my results are not as accurate as if I had a map of London from that year. Yet, given London is a very old city and many roads have not changed, I considered that this wasn’t a bad way to find the distances out. At the same time as measuring the journey’s distances, I noted in which direction they were going to reveal if this affected the fare prices.

After sampling 100 journeys, the results clearly showed that the fare structure for journeys of different distances was as follows:

Less than 1 mile (9 recoded): 6s
Between 1 and 1.9 miles (41 recorded): 1s
Between 2 and 2.9 miles (38 recorded): 1s 6d
Between 3 and 3.9 miles (11 recorded): 2d
Above 4 miles (1 recorded): 2s 6d

However, of the 100 fares to destinations surveyed, nine journeys had rates that existed outside this price structure. Some of these anomalous returns may just have been because of the distances provided by Google Maps. For example, the Corn Exchange on Mark Lane, two miles from Waterloo on Google Maps, cost 1s to get to. Also, the fare to get to the London Hospital, which was three miles away, was 1s 6d. Therefore, if these journeys had been just 0.1 of a mile shorter the fare quoted would have been correct for the distance.

Nevertheless, five out of the 100 fares seem to make no sense. The 1.7 mile journey from Waterloo to St John Church, Horsleydown, cost 1s 6d when it should have been 1s. Furthermore, the 2.6 mile journey to Cambridge Terrace cost 2s, when the correct price was 1s 6d. I cannot proffer an explanation for these fares, so their cause will have to remain a mystery.

From my research I have also determined that the longer an individual’s journey, the better value it was. This is illustrated by comparing the best and worst value journeys in the sample. If we exclude the anomalous results, the best value journey was to Shoreditch Station, which was 2.9 miles from Waterloo and cost 1s 6d. This meant travellers on this route paid 6.24d per mile. The most expensive cab rides were those that cost 1s for a 1 mile trip. These went to Freemason’s Tavern (now Arms) in Covent Garden, Charing Cross Station and the Bank of England (now the Old Bank of England pub) on the Strand.

Furthermore, I worked out the average price of all the journeys in each distance range. This further confirmed my thesis that the further an individual went, the more value they received. The averages per mile for journeys in each distance range are as follows:

Less than a mile: 7.83d/mile
Between 1 and 1.9 miles: 8.53d/mile
Between 2 and 2.9 miles: 7.90d/mile
Between 3 and 3.9 miles: 7.05d/mile
Above 4 miles: 6.52d/mile

Lastly, I wished to look at whether the cost per mile of journeys was affected by the direction of travel, for example South East, North, etc. The results shown in the table clearly suggest that they were not.

With exception of cabs going to the South and South West of London, for each of the directions of travel the range in the cost of journeys was large. This suggests that price structure above was applied across London. This is confirmed by looking at the average cost per mile for the journeys in each direction. The highest average cost per mile was found on journeys to the North and West of London (8.16d). Whereas, those cabs going to the South and South West of London cost the least per mile (7.32d).  However, this latter result may have been affected by the small sample size. Therefore, given the difference between the highest and lowest average cost per mile was small, only 0.84d, and because the lowest average cost per mile was because of a limited sample size, it again confirms that the fare structure was the same for journeys going in every direction.

Overall, I can say that unless passengers were lucky enough to travel to a place for which the fare was especially good value for money, cab rates from Waterloo were standardised based on the distance of the journey. Furthermore, the direction passengers travelled did not affect how much they paid for conveyance. The only variable in the cab fares was that those going further were paying less per mile for their travel.

Lastly, as this is a railway blog, I thought I would end with a minute from the London and South Western Railway’s Traffic Committee that amused me. On the 10 November 1886 it recorded:

‘The General Manager recommended that W.C. Accommodation be provided in the above arch [at Waterloo] for the use of the cabmen at a cost of about £45.’[1]


[1] The National Archives, RAIL 411/255, Traffic Committee Minute Book, Minute No. 1091, 10 November 1886

Sunday, 15 January 2012

From Railway Clerk to Railway Manager - Changes in the Route to Management 1840-1910

One of the questions that I ask in my PhD is how exactly did people get promoted into managerial positions within the London and South Western Railway’s (L&SWR) Traffic Department? This is important, as understanding who was making policy within the company allows me to better appreciate the factors behind the decisions the company made.
The vast majority of the company’s senior Traffic Department managers, which included Superintendents of the Line, Traffic Managers, District Superintendents, District Goods Superintendents and Wagon Masters, originated from the company’s primary labour market (PLM). This labour market consisted of the clerical staff and included office lads, junior clerks, telegraph clerks, clerks, station masters, chief clerks, inspectors, goods canvassers and goods agents. A ‘rough’ promotional tree in the department is shown. Furthermore, only a few of the department’s managers came from external sources or the secondary labour market (which encompassed all non-clerical posts).

Therefore, future manager’s careers was largely determined by the position they started in. Research on the position in which L&SWR’s Traffic Department managers started their railway careers is shown in the table below and the data is presented by the decade in which they joined the company.

Overall, only three of the seventy railway managers sampled started their careers on the secondary labour market (4.28%), two beginning as porters and one as a ticket inspector. Indeed, those who began their employment in clerical positions dominated.

However, one feature of the table that should be noted is that the proportion of future managers who started their L&SWR careers in positions higher in the hierarchy, for example clerk or chief clerk, diminished over the period. The proportion in the 1830s and 40s was 57.1%, while in the 1850s it was 83.3%. However, as the criteria to become a clerk became stricter, being increasingly restricted to school-leavers, these proportions declined, and only 40% of future managers joined the company in senior clerical positions in the 1860s. Therefore, by the1870s no future managers started in any position in the hierarchy above ‘Junior Clerk’, ‘Lad’ or ‘Messenger.’

The result of the policy of increasing restricting entrance into the PLM to school leavers was that as the railway industry matured the age most managers joined the company also declined through the decades. The table below shows the ages that seventy-one Traffic Department managers started their careers between 1850 and 1900. The data is sorted by the decade in which they joined the company.  

The future managers who had begun their L&SWR careers in the 1830s and 40s had a wide range of ages, with 46.7% joining the company when they were beyond their teenage years. But, because of the changes outlined above, the proportion joining above twenty years old diminished. In the 1850s it was 38.4% and in the 1860s 21.0%. Thereafter, all those who became middle or senior traffic managers on the L&SWR were in their teens when they joined the company.

The effect of these changes was that as the decades progressed, the length of time it took individuals to become middle or senior managers grew longer. The table below shows the average number of years that it took the managers to reach their first middle or senior management post. The data is collated according to the decade in which they reached that point.

While in some decades the sample sizes are small, and this would have affected the figures, there was a clear change in the 1880s. In the very early years of the L&SWR new middle or senior managers had on average only served the company for a short time.  While in the 1850s, 60s and 70s, individuals who were appointed to managerial posts had been employed for an average of between twelve and sixteen years. However, thereafter, all new middle or senior managers had been with the company above an average of twenty-five years.

Therefore, what the three sets of suggest is that there is a change in the starting position, starting age and length of career of new middle and senior managers around 1880. Before then managers could have begun their careers in fairly senior positions, above the age of twenty and would have gone into management after a short space of time. However, thereafter, new middle and senior managers had started their railway careers in their teens, usually in the position of junior clerk or lad, and had worked their way through the ranks of the company.

Therefore, the evidence shows that in the company’s early years, large numbers of people were appointed to more senior posts in the PLM, such as Clerk, Station Agent or Chief Clerk. This reflected the emergent nature of the industry and the fact that trained railway professionals were in short supply. Yet, as the company matured there were increasingly enough people being promoted up the hierarchy from below to fill any vacancies that appeared. Consequently, fewer people were appointed directly into higher positions. Consequently, after the 1870s the, only way to enter the company’s PLM, and have the chance of rising into management, was to join it out of school at the lowest point on the promotional ladder.

All data from company staff records, and the L&SWR’s Staff Magazine, ‘The South Western Gazette.’

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Explosions, Crime and Rewards - Stories From The Victorian Station Waiting Room

The waiting room was an early feature of British railway stations. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which opened in 1830 and was the world’s first inter-city railway, built waiting rooms at its two termini. Nevertheless, at the stopping places in between they were not present and other early railways also placed little importance on providing waiting room accommodation.[1] Francis Wishaw, who surveyed all the railways in Britain being planned or under construction in 1842, rarely mentioned them.[2]

However, as the time passed they were gradually introduced. Indeed, larger stations started being equipped with separate waiting rooms for men and women and the different classes of passenger. Liverpool Lime Street Station in 1836 had five waiting rooms for first and second class men and women, and one simply designated a ‘ladies’ waiting room.’ Five was also the number at Edinburgh Princes Street in 1896, where the fifth room was simply a ‘general waiting room.’ Most small stations could not be said to have such commodious facilities, most only possessing ‘first class ladies’ and ‘general’ waiting rooms. Inside them there was usually a fire and seating, which if you were lucky was upholstered.[3] Indeed, waiting rooms were were variable in quality and a common cause of complaint. In 1867 a passenger travelling from the London and North Western Railway’s (L&NWR) Huyton Quarry Station stated that the waiting room was unpainted, a ‘fusty’ odour hung in the air and in the winter months the room’s ‘occupants are ingeniously roasted by the fire on one side and exposed on the other to cold blasts.’[4] Nevertheless, the facilities for passengers in country stations were usually better in quality, tended to as they were by dedicated staff.[5]

While the history of waiting rooms’ themselves in the Victorian period is essentially uninteresting, they were places where people met and from which stories emerged. Therefore, a bit of a dig in nineteenth century newspapers has revealed some interesting stories.

Clearly, exploding waiting rooms were a problem given the gas lighting. On the morning of Monday 14 October 1869 at Newton Abbot Station a gas leak occurred in the waiting room. On discovering the leak a Mr Hemmett, the station’s inspector, went looking for it and did this by ill-advisedly lighting a lamp. Unsurprisingly, the gas that had collected in the ceiling exploded, causing Hemmett some injury.[6] A similar event occurred at 5 O’clock on Sunday 2 November 1873 at Kew Gardens Station. On the up side of the station the porter had lit the lamps in the station’s two waiting rooms. Evidently this was done poorly and gas started to accumulate in both. Thus, when another porter began lighting the external lamps this caused an explosion which blew out the rooms’ windows and doors and destroyed the ceilings. A booking clerk and several passengers narrowly escaped injury or death, with the damage coming to around £200.[7]

While possible death by explosion was clearly a risk, the waiting room could also be the site of crimes. On the 23 January 1871 at Shanklin Station on the Isle of Wight, Charles Colenutt was found sleeping in a chair. The station master, James V. Sully, led him out with the assistance of a porter. Yet, Colenutt returned ‘two or three times,’ and on the last struck Sully’s hat with his fist ‘rendering it unfit for further wear.’ At the Hampshire Petty Sessions on the 5 February, Colenutt was fined thirty shillings for the assault, fifteen shillings costs and ten shillings damages.[8] Clearly, for Colenutt the waiting room was a warm place to sleep the day away.

However, sleeping in a waiting room was not a cause of crime in the case of Alexander Thompson who ‘dropped off’ in the Chesterfield station waiting room on 1 August 1896. On that day, while Thompson was asleep there, Linther and Walter Hall entered the waiting room and stole his pocket watch which was worth £15. On rising from his slumber, the victim became aware that his watch chain was hanging down with nothing on its end. A search was conducted and the watch was found nearby. The blame was quickly placed on the Halls, who were arrested shortly after. At the trial, Walter blamed Linther, saying that the former had told him of the crime while in the “House of Correction.” Yet, Linther argued that Walter was trying to save himself, then launched into ‘a torrent of invectives’ against his brother and lastly claimed that Walter had asked for a pardon from the prison Chaplin. Both were found guilty and they imprisoned for four months with hard labour.[9]

With so many people coming and going from waiting rooms, it is unsurprising that incivility also occurred. One passenger in September 1865 complained bitterly about the ‘female official in charge’ of the Ladies Waiting Room at Newcastle Central Station. She described how a lady ‘who held a first class ticket’ for a journey north arrived at the station early and proceeded to the waiting room where she placed her basket on the long side table. The attendant quickly pronounced that “the company don’t like such things placed there.” Having used the table for its purpose, the passenger ignored the comment. Yet, she quickly received another shortly after; “You must take it off the table the company don’t like things there.” The passenger, somewhat confused, asked what the purpose of the table was if it was not for putting things on. The attendant carried on with her work while mumbling and the traveller put the basket on her knees to end the ‘annoying conduct’. The same attendant also accosted two women who entered the waiting room when their train was late. Once they had passed through the doors, she placed herself in front of them stating that “This room is for no one but those going by train.” On the women informing her that their train was late, the attendant’s response was that “People should enquire whether trains were late before coming – the company did not like persons sitting there.” She attendent then proceeded to pace about, muttering. Lastly, another passenger went into the waiting room’s inner room for a little water. The attendant followed her and rudely stated that those who wished to have a drink usually went to the refreshment room.[10 – see below for some thoughts on this case.]

However, waiting rooms were not just used for waiting for trains. In the Gateshead Station Waiting Room on the 2 October 1887 the local Railway Servants Temperance Union held a meeting at which Mrs J.J. Gurney gave an address. [11] In 1878 at the Kew Gardens Station waiting room, which I presume had been repaired by then, the life of a sick animal was ended. On the 7 October a ‘large black retriever dog in a state madness took possession of the ladies waiting room.’ The station master contacted the Metropolitan Police and very soon police constable No.302, John Smith, arrived with a gun. Nothing more could be done than to shoot the poor animal.[12] Furthermore, like today, passengers also left things in waiting rooms. In May 1869 a resident of Richmond (Surrey) offered a reward of five shillings for a ‘large bundle of MS. Pamphlets, Plays, &c’ with paper which was ‘stamped with a coronet’, which had been left in the station waiting room. [13]

I have only mentioned a few events, amongst millions, that occurred in Victorian station waiting rooms. Indeed, what are missing are descriptions of the more mundane meetings between Victorians as they went about their daily lives. However, I will leave you with the following article from an 1894 edition of Hearth and Home, which describes, through the life of a waiting room mirror, the coming and going of passengers.[14]


I will be doing a talk on 17 January at 6.30 pm at Kew Public Library on Victorian Railwaywomen, looking at who they were, where they worked in the industry and their pay and status. Refreshments a provided, all for a mere £1. If you would like to attend, call the library to book a place on 020 8734 3352 (Opening Times: Tues - 10-1, 2-6; Wed 2-6; Fri 2-6; Sat 10-1, 2-6) or email 


[1] Biddle, Gordon, ‘Waiting Rooms’, The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, (Oxford, 1997), p.553
[2]Whishaw, Francis, The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland: Practically Described and Illustrated, (London, 1842), reprinted (Newton Abbot, 1969)
[3] Biddle, ‘Waiting Rooms’, The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, p.553
[4] Liverpool Mercury, Thursday, 21 November 21, 1867
[5] Biddle, ‘Waiting Rooms’, The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, p.553
[6] Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser, Wednesday, 14 October 1863
[7] The Pall Mall Gazette, Monday, 3 November 1873
[8] Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc, Wednesday, 8 February 1871
[9] The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 28 October 1896
[10] The Newcastle Courant etc, Friday, 8 September 1865 – NOTE: On reflection I believe that the attendant at Newcastle was probably suffering from what now would be recognised as mental health problems. Indeed, given that the woman was probably a widow of a railwayman who had been killed in the course of his work and was probably living in poverty with dependents, these factors may have had an effect. The sad thing is that a letter such as this would probably have ended her employment, pushing her into even more hardship. Indeed, I have recounted a similar case HERE which ended up with in attendant going onto the workhouse.
[11] The British Women's Temperance Journal, 1 December 1887 p.134, Issue 60 and 12
[12] The Sporting Gazette, 12 October 1878, p.973
[13] Judy, Wednesday, 19 May 1869 p.38
[14] Hearth and Home, Thursday, 8 November 1894, p.923

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Looking forward to 2012 with Turniprail (and a thanks to all)

I thought that I would use this first post of the year to lay out some personal goals for the blog, my research and myself over the coming twelve months. I really hope that all come true, but I doubt it.

PhD: I am actually in the last stretch of my PhD and I have to submit the thing by October. However, my academic task in the next few months is to take the eight chapters I have crafted over the last five and a quarter years and turn them into a coherent piece of work that can be submitted in draft form to my supervisor.  Theoretically, this should be easy, as in my head my thesis, which is on the management of the London and South Western Railway between 1870 and 1910, is pretty complete. The reality is that a lot of work needs to be done, especially to brush up on a bit of background reading. But I’ll get there, I have no doubt.

Blog: I have to warn you, given that these are the last ten months of my PhD, my blog may suffer due to a diminished number of updates. Already, the frequency of my posts has dropped to one a week and it is quite possible that as October nears I may need to reduce this further.

This said, I am committed to the blog and will hope to do some original research for it at points (naturally I may gush forth after October with a plethora of posts because of the freedom I will have). More importantly though, while I have made some wonderful friends through it, and hope to make more, it entertains many who read it and also helps my ultimate career goals (see below).

I don’t think the topics of my posts will change much. I am still interested in railway management, even though I may be sick to death of it by October. My continuing interest in Railwaywomen will feature, not just because I have already written a post on this topic for the future, but because I find it a fascinating area to study with new revelations coming forth every time do more work on the subject. I will also want to look at a bit more at the railways before 1870, as this area of railway history has received little investigation. Ultimately, however, all of Victorian railway history is still fair game for blogging about, and I hope to choose varied and interesting subjects to post on throughout the year.

Work:  As I have mentioned elsewhere, I work in a public library part-time to fund my PhD. Unfortunately, like all who work in libraries, I possibly may loose my job by March. Therefore, it should not surprise anyone that one of my hopes for 2012 is that this doesn't happen. Yet, given this has been a possibility for some while, and to avoid not having the finance to fund my PhD, I have already paid off my university fees.

Nevertheless, one interesting thought has crossed my mind. If I am made redundant I’ll be able to finish my PhD early given the free time. Clearly that would not be in any way ideal, firstly, because this is not the way I hoped my career would progress (see below), but also because I genuinely love helping people at the library.

Career: I suppose I had it in my head that in this year my career would begin – whatever would be. I’ve had two main ideas since my PhD commenced; the first to be academic, the second to be a journalist and freelance writer. The former is an option. However throughout my PhD I have not done any teaching (and therefore have had time to write the blog). I would be very willing to teach if it was to lead me to better things, but I have never been over-keen on the idea. I dunno, maybe I’d love it when I get there. Furthermore, I have always considered that there may be an opportunity to get an research grant to do a project, perhaps on the early railways, so I may look into that as an option.

However, I think I am more interested in becoming the journalist and freelance writer (while keeping firmly in touch with academic developments). Firstly, given the cuts, I am not sure that positions in the academic world will be flowing as easily as they did in years past, especially for an early career historian. But secondly, I so enjoy writing my blog and would love to do something similar for some money (don’t worry, I love writing my blog so much that that will always remain). Originally, before the crisis hit, my idea was that I was going to keep the part time job in the library while building up my profile as a writer. Then, when I was getting enough regular work to sustain me, I would reconsider my position at the library. However, if I do lose my job, parts of this plan may have to be advanced. Nevertheless, whatever happens, I suspect I will be on that career road before the end of the year.

Love: I am sure I will secure the love of many new friends in 2012 whatever happens, as that is what occurred in 2011. Indeed, one of the joys of 2011 has been that I have met so many good, kind, supportive and loving people.

Indeed, I want to wish everyone a happy and productive 2012. I love writing my blog for such wonderful, supportive, generous and friendly readers and Twitter followers. I am always buoyed by your positive comments, your support for my work and your friendship. I cannot begin to thank you all enough.  You are all so lovely.

And now for some blog stats from 2011:

Most visits on one day: 24 December – 284
Lowest number of visits on one day: 22 April – 12
Week with most visits: w/b 18 December - 576
Month with the most visits: December – 1,783
Total visits: 13,201 (Average - 36.17/day)
Unique visits: 9,651 (Average – 26.44/day)
Page views: 21,399 (Average – 58.63/day)
Pages per visit: 1.62
Average time on the site: 1 minute 13 seconds

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