Ministers of Transport, Prime Ministers, Trade Union leaders and major landowners sometimes have had a major effect on railway development. This page mainly reflects their malign interference (Dalhousie and Huskisson are honourable exceptions) and will be be mainly activated by publications in journals like Backtrack rather than by biographies official or otherwise.
Ashley, Wilfrid William
Born in London on 13 September 1867; died of Parkinson's disease at Broadlands on 3 July 1939. Educated at Harrow School and at Magdalen College, Oxford, which he left without taking a degree, and then travelled widely, including in Africa and the Americas. Following his family's Liberal tradition in politics, Ashley acted in 1899 as private secretary to Sir Henry Campbell-Bannermann when he was leader of the opposition. Ashley served in the South African War but was invalided home, and then sought a Conservative seat in parliament and was elected for Blackpool in 1906, in spite of the Liberal landslide. He held that seat until the general election of 1918, when he became member for the Fylde division of Lancashire. In 1922 he was returned unopposed for the New Forest division of Hampshire, in an earlier form a family seat, which he represented until 1932. During WW1 he commanded the 20th battalion of the King's Liverpool regiment in 1914 in the rank of lieutenant-colonel, but returned from France in 1915 to become parliamentary private secretary to the financial secretary to the War Office. He reached office in 1922 under Bonar Law as parliamentary secretary to the office of works and Ministry of Transport. The following year, when Baldwin became prime minister, he was transferred to the War Office as under-secretary of state. In 1924 Ashley had been made Minister of Transport and sworn of the Privy Council. He held the post until the Baldwin government relinquished office in 1929. He was responsible for the reorganization of that ministry at a time of greatly increasing road traffic and growing competition between road and rail. He introduced one-way traffic schemes and roundabouts in London and then in other large cities. He designated arterial roads, the precursors of motorways. He consolidated the lighting regulations for motor vehicles, previously subject to local variations. He worked, through legislation and administratively, for the expansion of the electricity supply, particularly in rural areas. His attempts to provide for the building of a further bridge across the Thames near Charing Cross did not come to fruition during his tenure of office. In January 1932 he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Mount Temple of Lee. From ODNB entry by E.J. Feuchtwanger. Clearly Ashley was geared to the need for road improvements, yet Mullay notes that at the centenary celebrations at Darlington in 1925 to commemorate the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway Ashley, was quoted by the Railway Gazette as saying "that he believed that for all time in this country the iron horse and iron road would be supreme for transportation purposes". [Mullay's italics]. Mullay adds that these words were spoken by a transport minister who must surely have been aware that the licensing of goods vehicles was increasing by 14% annually at that time and that railways would soon suffer the resulting loss of business. It is not as if Ashley was inexperienced; he held the post of transport minister for some 56 months, making him the third-longest holder of the appointment and fully justifies Mullay's 'rather unprincipled persons' (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 537-41).
Barnes, Alfred John
Born on 17 July 1887 in Plaistow, London, the youngest of seven children of William Barnes, a docker and coffee-house keeper, and his wife, Lucinda Margaret Smith. At the age of eight he lost a leg in a fairground accident. He was educated at the Star Road Boys' School, at the Northampton Institute from 1905, and at the London County Council School of Arts and Crafts. After serving his apprenticeship he became a skilled designer and worker in precious metals. He established his own silversmith's business, which he relinquished in 1922 on his election to parliament.
From an early age he sought to improve the living conditions of the people of east London through co-operation and political action. In 1908 he joined the Stratford Co-operative Society and the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Barnes was an industrious and reliable person who gained widespread respect for his integrity which ensured his quick promotion; by 1910 he was secretary of the East London Federation of the ILP. He was elected to the management committee of the Stratford Co-operative Society in 1914 and became its president in 1915. In 1920 he played a major part in the founding of the London Co-operative Society, and served as its first president from 1920 to 1923. On 5 March 1921 Barnes married Leila Phoebe Real (b. 1900/01): there were three daughters of the marriage.
World War I gave Barnes the opportunity to achieve one of his aimsthe establishment of a Co-operative [political] Party with representatives at Westminster and on local councils. By 1917 co-operators were in revolt from one end of the country to another (A.J. Barnes, The Political Aspects of Co-Operation, 1922, 14) because of the unfair treatment received from the coalition government regarding taxation (of dividends); allocation of supplies; representation on wartime fuel and food committees; and unjust decisions from military tribunals which exempted many owners and managers of small businesses from military service but denied similar concessions to managers of co-operatives. At the 1918 general election the party fielded ten candidates, but only one was elected. He was elected to the Co-operative Party's national committee in 1920, and was its chairman from 1924 to 1945.
At the general election of November 1922 Barnes was elected as MP for East Ham South, one of four Co-operative Labour candidates to be returned to parliament. On the opposition benches at Westminster they were swamped by 138 MPs who were elected on the straight Labour Party ticket. Barnes, the realist, recognized that the situation had changed. Barnes won increasing recognition from his colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party because of his pleasant manner and transparent sincerity. Between his election to the Commons in 1922 and the loss of his seat at East Ham South in the general election of 27 October 1931, he was appointed parliamentary private secretary to William Graham at the exchequer (19224), Labour whip (192530), and junior lord of the Treasury from 11 June 1929 to 23 October 1930. In the general election of November 1935 Barnes regained his old seat and retained it until his voluntary retirement in 1955. Although he followed the Labour Party line in domestic politics, in the late 1930s co-operative society and party members, led by Barnes and Sydney Elliott, editor of the Co-operative Press Sunday newspaper, Reynolds News, took an independent position. They favoured the creation of an anti-aggression peace pact of all peace-loving members of the League of Nations to resist fascist states that violated the sovereignty of other countries. Barnes held no ministerial office during the Second World War, but remained active in the co-operative movement.
Barnes piloted the Transport Bill through parliament, one of the major nationalization projects of the Attlee Labour government. He was appointed minister of war transport on 3 August 1945 and, when the department changed its name, minister of transport in 1946. The aim of the Transport Act, 1947, was to bring inland transport under comprehensive control through the British Transport Commission. This had supervision of the six executives for the six different forms of publicly owned transport, of which the Railway Executive was the most important. Barnes had little difficulty in gaining approval for the nationalization of the railways, as both Lloyd George and Churchill had advocated it as early as 1918. He had less success with his plans for the control of road freight haulage through the Road Haulage Executive.
For the management of the new undertakings established under the Transport Act, 1947, parliament adopted the policies of Herbert Morrison, lord president of the council. These took the form of the corporatism exemplified by Morrison's London Passenger Transport Act, 1933, rather than of the mutualism (workers' and transport users' participation) advocated by the Co-operative Party. In his Socialisation and Transport (1933) Morrison had urged that members of publicly owned boards should be appointed by the minister responsible primarily on suitable grounds of competence as by these means Parliamentary action against a Board would be reduced to the minimumwhich is much to be desired.
After his Transport Bill had passed through all its stages Barnes supported cautious consolidation of the public ownership measures so far achieved. He was one of the members of the cabinet who, on 7 August 1947, favoured the postponement of the introduction of the Steel Bill to the session 19489. He knew that the workforce in the steel industry was less committed to public ownership than were those employed in the coalmines or on the railways. On the other hand Barnes's more left-wing colleagues believed that he who controlled the citadel of steel would control shipbuilding, the motor industryin effect British industry as a whole. In the event, to placate the left the Iron and Steel Bill, which became law at the end of 1949, was a compromise measure which Barnes loyally supported.
In the general election of 25 October 1951 Barnes retained his seat, but nationally the Conservatives secured a narrow majority and returned to power. The Churchill government rushed through the Transport Act, 1953, which provided for the return to private ownership of the road transport assets of the road haulage executive. The former minister of transport, who held that office for a longer period of time than any of his predecessors, was powerless to prevent the undermining of an important part of his main legislative achievement. He decided to retire from parliament at the end of the 19545 session. He died at Walton on the Naze, on 26 November 1974. ODNB entry by Philip S. Bagwell
Arthur Pearson's Man of the rail (p. 114) states that Alfred Barnes never stood out in my [his] mind as a really able Minister of Transport, but for that matter neither did Lennox-Boyd, Boyd-Carpenter or Watkinson, who in turn succeeded him, although one admired the urbanity of Lennox-Boyd and the latent efficiency of Watkinson. When one got to know Alfred Barnes one found he was a simple man. He was interested in slides of scenes in London, and he came to the theatre we had at Euston to see our material. This was typical of his tastes. One thing about him I shall always remember: during his period of office as Minister of Transport he rarely interfered with the day-to-day work of the Commission or the Railway Executive. This Ministerial restraint ended when he gave up the post.
Bonavia The birth of British Rail was highly critical of Barnes: "an uninspiring character", but one who was not easily shaken and could be shrewd and quite tough. Bonavia considered that Barnes choice of his choice of people to run the British Transport Commission was poor. Mullay in his survey of Ministers of Transport gives extensive coverage of Barnes' (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 537-41) noting Gourvish's criticisms. Mullay considers that Reith would have been better equipped for the task of Minister. Mullay is also critical of Hurcomb's inadequte technical skill considering cab signalling and track circuits as rival safety systems.
Boyd-Carpenter, John Archibald
Born on 2 June 1908 in Harrogate; died Highclere, near Newbury, Berkshire, on 11 July 1998. His father was Unionist MP for North Bradford (191823) and Coventry (19249), and was briefly financial secretary to the Treasury and then paymaster-general in the Conservative government of 19224. The Subject (son) was educated at Stowe School and Balliol College, Oxford, called to the bar in 1934, and practised on the London and south-eastern circuit until the outbreak of WW2, during which he served in the Scots Guards and rose to the rank of major. His legal experience was deployed when he served from 1943 to 1945 with the allied military government in Italy, for whom he acted as a president of military courts. Boyd-Carpenter entered parliament at the general election of 1945 as a Conservative MP for Kingston upon Thames, a constituency which he represented until 1972. In opposition from 1945 to 1951 he established a reputation as an effective and pugnacious debater in the Commons and attracted the attention of the party leadership. When returned to power in October 1951 he was appointed financial secretary to the Treasury, and in July 1954 he was promoted to the (non-cabinet) position of Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation. He set in motion the building of Britain's first major length of motorway, the M1, which was completed under his successor Ernest Marples. In December 1955 he was moved to be minister of pensions and national insurance, which he occupied until July 1962. In 1972 he had aspired to become speaker of the House of Commons, but the Labour opposition supported the election of Selwyn Lloyd. Disappointed, Boyd-Carpenter resigned his seat to take up the position of chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and he was made a life peer, as Baron Boyd-Carpenter. As chairman of the CAA Boyd-Carpenter was responsible for granting the certificate of airworthiness to Concorde, and he was a passenger on its first commercial flight to Bahrain in 1976. He left the CAA in 1977, having in 1976 taken the post of chairman of Rugby-Portland Cement, of which he had been a director since 1970. He held this position until 1984. He also held directorships of two financial institutions, the Orion insurance company from 1969 to 1972, and the CLRP investment trust from 1970 to 1972. Although business was his primary interest after he left the Commons, he remained politically active. Although he never reached the highest levels in politics, Boyd-Carpenter was a substantial political figure. In his memoirs, Way of Life (1980), he noted that When I was young I was a long distance runnernot fast but I could go on for ever (p. 204), and used this as a metaphor for his career. As a description of a solid but unexciting political career it was very apt. .ODNB biography by E.H.H. Green. Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 630) merely lists him, but the ODNB showd that he had aninterest in transport, but that it was in motorways and supersonic aircraft!
Burgin, Edward Leslie
Born on 13 July 1887 in Finchley, the elder son of Edward Lambert Burgin (18581941), solicitor, and his wife, Marian Kate, née Showler (18621933). He was educated at Christ's College, Finchley, and the University of London, where he gained first-class honours in law in 1908; he also studied in Lausanne and Paris. The following year he took top place in the Law Society's final examination and joined his father's firm, Denton, Hall and Burgin of Gray's Inn, London, and Rue Sainte-Anne, Paris. The firm specialized in international commerce, and Burgin drew on his growing practical experience of probate to inform a London University doctoral (LLD) thesis, The Administration of Foreign Estates, which was published in 1913. On 30 May 1912 he married Dorothy Theresa (18881975), third daughter of Charles Henry Cooper, a Finchley trimming manufacturer; they had one son and four daughters.
During WW1 Burgin put his linguistic talents to use as an intelligence officer and was awarded the croce di guerra for his work on the Italian front. On his return to London he combined a successful legal practice with part-time teaching for the Law Society, and served for some years in the mid-1920s as its principal and director of studies. Burgin was also an active member of the International Law Association and the Grotius Society and took a particular interest in bankruptcy law, campaigning without success for the adoption of an international bankruptcy convention. In collaboration with his colleague Eric Fletcherlater Lord Fletcher of Islingtonhe published The Student's Conflict of Laws (1928), a textbook based on A. V. Dicey's classic study, which went through three editions. In 1929 he took over as senior partner.
Alongside these professional commitments, Burgin became increasingly active in politics as a member of the Liberal Party and the League of Nations Union. His political sympathies lay with the former Liberal prime minister, H.H. Asquith, and in November 1921 he stood as Liberal candidate for Hornsey in a by-election on a traditionalist platform of free trade, retrenchment, and fewer armaments. Burgin lost out narrowly to the Conservative Viscount Ednama highly creditable result in a historically Tory constituencyand fought the seat again in the 1922, 1923, and 1924 general elections, but the hoped-for Liberal breakthrough never came. In 1926 he came third in another by-election in East Ham North. Burgin was finally rewarded for his tenacity when he was adopted for the more winnable seat of Luton, which he captured from the Conservatives in 1929 with a majority of more than 3000.
As one of fifty-nine Liberal MPs in the 1929 parliament, Burgin tolerated David Lloyd George's leadership and acquiesced in his strategy of keeping the second Labour government in power. In February 1931, however, he played an important role in scuttling the government's Trade Disputes Bill by moving an amendment which confirmed the illegality of a general strike. When the National Government took office in August 1931 to deal with the budget deficit, Burgin followed Sir John Simon into a new Liberal National group which promised to support protection. He explained to Luton Liberals that he still regarded tariffs as dangerous expedients, but believed that ministers needed a free hand at a time of national peril (Manchester Guardian, 26 Sept 1931, 11). Though local tories were wary of Burgin, Conservative Central Office secured him a free run against Labour, and he was comfortably re-elected in both 1931 and 1935.
As a relatively young and talented Liberal National, Burgin was now well-placed to ascend the ministerial ladder. After ten months as a charity commissioner in 19312, he became parliamentary secretary to the Board of Trade, where he helped Walter Runciman implement the government's tariff policy. Burgin spent much of his time overseeing bilateral trade negotiations, especially those leading up to the 1933 Anglo-Argentine agreement, and managing representations from cotton manufacturers and other affected industries: he also addressed a host of Chamber of Commerce dinners and luncheons. Burgin's five years at the Board of Trade (19327) were generally considered successful, though his long-standing acquaintance Raymond Streat worried that he was becoming increasingly vain, unpopular with his officials, and notorious for his speeches, which aim at verbal brilliance so painstakingly, that the subject matter is often lost sight of (Lancashire and Whitehall, 1.362).
Burgin entered the cabinet in May 1937, when the prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, appointed him minister of transport in succession to Leslie Hore-Belisha. Hore-Belisha had raised the ministry's profile by launching a major road safety drive, including the introduction of the famous Belisha beacons, and taking responsibility for major trunk roads away from local authorities. Burgin was by nature less flamboyant than his predecessor, but he had the advantage of being a keen motorist at a time when car ownership was soaring. In January 1938 he visited Germany to examine the new autobahn network in the company of the Nazi engineer Fritz Todt, and on his return he announced his support for an experimental stretch of motorway between Carnforth and Warrington in Lancashire, though he was unable to secure Treasury funding for the project. Burgin also faced the more immediate task of preparing the road and rail networks for war, and showed himself sympathetic to the railway companies' Square Deal campaign for the deregulation of freight charges.
Throughout this period Burgin supported Chamberlain's policy of appeasementfor instance, he backed the prime minister in cabinet in the run-up to Munichbut he was in no sense central to the government's dealings with Germany. In April 1939, however, Burgin moved into the forefront of political controversy when Chamberlain made him minister of supply, with responsibility for equipping the enlarged army which a continental war would require. In many respects it was a poisoned chalice, not only because the army had been badly neglected in the initial rearmament programme but also because many MPs had hoped that Winston Churchill would be given the post; Harold Nicolson, for instance, thought the impression was deplorable because it demonstrated Chamberlain's continued reliance on yes-men (Diaries and Letters, 1.399).
Burgin set to work with the aid of the veteran civil servant Sir Arthur Robinson, but after war broke out he faced growing criticism from Churchill and the service chiefs for deficiencies in munitions production. In discussions of military strategy he was generally a cautious influence, though he did promote an abortive plan to disrupt the Soviet economy by bombing the Caucasian oilfields. Burgin was never popular with the opposition parties, and when the coalition was formed in May 1940 Churchill replaced him with his leading Labour critic, Herbert Morrison, a decision which came as a disappointment and a shock (Churchill and Gilbert, 6.356). Thereafter he represented Luton on the back benches until he retired at the 1945 election. By this stage he was already ailing from cancer, and he died at his home in Harpenden on 16 August 1945.
In his own way, Burgin was not only an intelligent but a charismatic man, dark, genial, and shrewd (The Observer, 6 June 1937, 21), with an easy charm and remarkable linguistic dexterity. He was an enthusiastic mountaineer and cricketer, and in his younger days was considered one of the best athletes in the House of Commons; he was also an active Methodist and a lay preacher. Yet what he possessed in talent he sometimes lacked in dynamism and political purpose, and he was perhaps too reliant on the patronage of Neville Chamberlain and Sir John Simon to emerge as a major figure in his own right. As with Chamberlain and Simon, his earlier achievements came to be overshadowed by his association with appeasement and the military debacle of 1940. Cato cast him as one of the guilty men who had taken Britain to the brink of disaster, and his reputation never recovered. Peter Sloman ODNB
During 1938 the summer meeting of thee ILocoE took place on 8-12 June to coincide with the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow. Guests included Dr Dorpmuller, the German Minister of Transport and fourteen officers of the German State Railway. The British Minister of Transport, Dr. E.L. Burgin was also present. Stanier was in attendance. The Institution's Dinner was held in the evening of 9 June in the Grosvenor Restaurant, following a cruise to Inverary on the Duchess of Montrose. Both the Ministers of Transport spoke at the dinner. Dr Burgin called for simpler controls on the locomotive and Dr Dorpmuller noted that Britain relied for steam for her railways more than any other country.. This was from a report in Locomotive Mag., 1938, 44, 206. In a rather fuller account in Journal Institution Locomotivr Engineers in which it is noted Dr Dorpmuller travelled to Scotland with Sir Nigel Gresley on the Coronation. Nevertheless relationship with the LMS remained good. In July 1938 he openeed the School of Transport in Derby (Locomotive Mag., 44, 237) and in the following Spring travelled on the footplate of No. 6226 Duchess of .Norfolk, with the down Royal Scot Express as far as Blisworth. A special stop was made there for Dr. Burgin to alight and return on a homeward run. (Locomotive Mag., 1939, 45. 124).
Campbell, Sir Hugh Hume
Born in Edinburgh in 1812; succeeded his father in Baronetcy in 1833. Educated at Trinity College in Cambridge. Member of Parliament for Berwickshire 1834-47. Died in London on 30 January 1894. Assisted construction of Berwickshire Railway by donating land. Buried Polwarth Castle. Nisbet, Alistair F. The Berwickshire Railway. Backtrack, 2011, 25,. 664-70.
Anthony Howard has written a ludicrously unobjective biography of Barbara Castle in the ODNB which utterly fails to appreciate her contributions, good or bad,to transport, but does within its stilted style proffer the basic background of her life. She was born Barbara Anne Betts in Chesterfield on 6 October 1910 the youngest of three children of Frank Betts (18821945), tax inspector, and his wife, Annie Rebecca, née Farrand (18831990). She was educated at Bradford Girls Grammar School and St. Hugh's College, Oxford where she studied PPE and became involved in politics. In 1944 she married Ted Castle and in 1945 she won the Blackburn seat in the Labour landslide election. Ted Castleennobled by Harold Wilson in 1974, as Baron Castle of Islingtondied at their home on Boxing day 1979: Barbara refused to use the title Lady Barbara. In 1990 she was made a life peer: Baroness Castle of Blackburn. She died at 3 May 2002 at her home, Hell Corner Farm, Grays Lane, Ibstone, Buckinghamshire.
She was a fiery politician, but it is too easy to forget the damage to the railway network which was inflicted during her period as Minister of Transport (KPJ). But for her Hawick might still have a railway station with links to both Edinburgh and Carlisle.
Geoffrey Skelsey's "Not King Canute...": Barbara Castle and the railways, 1965-8. Backtrack, 2020, 24, 268-75 is an excellent appreciation of Barbara Castle's achievements as Minister of Transport in the Harold Wilson Government which states that Castle's lasting achievements were:
Her treatment of the City of Ripon is another major political blemish: Backtrack. 2017, 31, 164.
Copeland, William Taylor
Born in London on 24 March 1797; died at Russell Farm, Watford on 12 April 1868. Pottery manufacturer with Josiah Spode. Director of London & Birmingham Railway and instigator of Trent Valley Railway. Politician: MP for Coleraine and later for Stoke-on-Trent. Invested in Fenton Park Colliery. ODNB entry by R.E. Graves and Helen L. Phillips. Mathams and Barrett. Backtrack, 2014, 28, 4
Dalhousie, Marquess of (Ramsay, James Andrew
Born at Dalhousie Castle, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, on 22 April 1812. Accompanied parents to Canada in 1816 but returned home in 1822, entering Harrow School in 1825. In 1829 he went up to Christ Church, Oxford. In 1837 he was elected MP for East Lothian, but his father's death led him to the Lords as the tenth earl of Dalhousie where he came to the notice of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel, who in 1841 became Conservative prime minister. Dalhousie declined an appointment to the queen's household, but in 1843 his chance came with the offer of the post of vice-president of the Board of Trade when Gladstone became president.
His appointment coincided with the railway mania which confronted the Board with a huge workload. Gladstone gave Dalhousie a free hand, allowing him an insight into railway business of great value later when he dealt with schemes in India. In 1845 he succeeded Gladstone as president, and eventually joined the cabinet. If Dalhousie had had his way, he would have subjected the construction and management of railway schemes to the co-ordinating control of government. He failed, however, to win Peel's support and devised instead a mechanism for the close scrutiny of each new scheme before sanction was given. Ellis British railway history notes that Gladstone's Advisory Board (which only had a brief existence) consisted of Lord Dalhousie (Chairman), General Pasley, D.O'Brien, G.R. Porter and Samuel Laing (last two acting as secretaries). The railway companies termed them the 'Five Kings'.
In the following year Dalhousie accepted Russell's offer of the governor-generalship of India in succession to Viscount Hardinge, on the understanding that it would not compromise his political loyalties. A factor in his decision was the insecure financial position he inherited (a debt by now of £48,000): the governor-general commanded a substantial salary. He sailed for India in November 1847 and was sworn as governor-general in Calcutta on 12 January 1848. At thirty-five he was the youngest man to have held the appointment; small and short but well made in stature, with dark brown hair and a rich resonant voice, he had a quiet dignity coupled with a nervous force backed by obvious strength of mind and character.
The changes made in the administration of the law sprang from the same desire for more effective, impartial, and therefore secure rule, for example by bringing Europeans within the jurisdiction of local criminal courts (they already came under local civil courts), although Indian law needed modification to be acceptable to Europeans. Dalhousie undertook some of the most important domestic reforms ever introduced into modern India. Most significant was probably his railway scheme, contained in a seminal minute of 1853 which drew much on his previous British ministerial experience and was heralded by the Friend of India newspaper as the text book for all future Railway projects in India (8 Sept 1853). The minute also embodied proposals that had been impossible at home. Dalhousie wished to establish a strategic scheme for the whole country, embracing a rational assessment of political, military, and commercial needs and, while making the most of private capital, reserved the right of the government of India to take over lines after twenty-five or thirty years. He was also careful to decide on only one gaugeof 5 ft 6 in.after careful weighing of the technical and financial arguments, rather than the standard of 4 ft 8½ in. established after the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. Dalhousie took care to make the best use possible of expert opinion and worked closely with Colonel John Pitt Kennedy, who had been appointed consulting engineer for railways in 1850. In 1853 the first line in India was opened over the 20 miles from Bombay to Thana. In 1855 Dalhousie himself inaugurated the first section of the East Indian Railway from Calcutta to Raniganj. By 1858 there were 400 miles of railway open and another 3600 planned throughout the subcontinent.
Dalhousie supplemented railways with the electric telegraph, which revolutionized the tempo of both commercial and official business. He also established a public works department and colleges of engineering, key agents in development policy, especially of roads and irrigation. Social measures included the initiation of a complete scheme of public education in both English and the vernaculars (framed before Sir Charles Wood's famous Education Despatch of 1854), action against thuggee, suttee, dacoity, and infanticide, concern to improve the lot of Indian women, and reform of prison administration.
All this effort, and it was also a period of considerable unrest and Imperial expansion, led to Dalhousie becoming worn out and on 13 May 1856 he arrived at Spithead having, typically, spent the voyage composing a major review of his Indian administration. Dalhousie travelled to London and, although very ill, received a number of friends at Claridge's, including Gladstone. Dalhousie received a letter of thanks for his services from Queen Victoria, and the directors of the East India Company voted him a pension of £5000 per year. In August he moved north to Arrochar and from there to Edinburgh (Dalhousie Castle being in the hands of builders). His health remained precarious; in December 1856 he wrote, My progress is so slow and my condition such, that there is no probability of my return to public life, under any circumstances, for a long time to come, if ever. During 1857 his health was further eroded by the news of the mutiny in India; a sea cruise to Malta brought little improvement. In September 1857 he recorded that I can hardly bear to think of the horrible scenes that have been acted. A year later he was back in Edinburgh and, as the alterations to Dalhousie Castle were by then complete, he took an interest in the running of the estate. India was never far away, however, and the factor on the estate recorded how Dalhousie often talked of the mutiny and considered that, if he had still been in Calcutta, the turmoil would not have happened. Dalhousie's health remained poor, and in 1860 he gave up the duties of lord warden of the Cinque Ports (assumed after the death of the Duke of Wellington in 1852). He died peacefully at home on 19 December 1860 from Bright's disease of the kidney. He was buried next to his wife in the Dalhousie vault in the old churchyard at Cockpen.
Dalhousie was frustrated in developing a political career at home, and India gave him the opportunity to make his mark from a sense of both patriotic duty and ambition for his family tradition. He proved himself a superb, lucid, and indefatigable administrator who was at once a master of detail but also a strategic thinker. He did not set out for India with any preconceived ideas of modernization, Westernization, or annexation. Instead he used his immense skills and energy in a pragmatic way to tackle the fundamental problem of closing the gap between the reality and fragility of company power on the one hand and the expectations vested in it on the other. Based largely on David J. Howlett contribution in ODNB biography which includes a portrait by Sir John Watson-Gordon, 1847> Jack Simmons also contributed an excellent concise sketch in the Oxford Companion.
Fraser, Thomas (Tom)
Born in Blackwood, near Lesmahagow on 18 February 1911, the son of Thomas Fraser, a coalminer; died after a short illness at Law Hospital, Carluke, Lanarkshire, on 21 November 1988. He attended local schools and started work in the mines when aged fourteen On 31 December 1935 he married Janet Muncie Scanlon:: they had a son and a daughter.
Fraser,was an underground coal worker and was a branch official of the National Union of Scottish Mineworkers from 1938 to 1943, when he was selected as the Labour Party candidate for parliament at a by-election in Hamilton. Fraser won the election, in January 1943, but was unusually young for a miners' MP, and thought himself insufficiently qualified to enter parliament. Hugh Dalton found him pleasant, though curiously unassertive, with a sense of humour, and a non-drinker who might go quite some way (War Diary, 7023, 3 Feb 1944). In 1944 Fraser was appointed parliamentary private secretary to Dalton, then president of the Board of Trade in the wartime coalition government, whose responsibilities included the preparation of plans for the post-war reconstruction of British industry. His department took the major lead in ensuring the passage of the Distribution of Industry Act (1945), which introduced government controls on the location of new industry in the regions previously affected by the structural decline in the older industries of coal, iron, and steel.
In 1945 Fraser was appointed joint parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Scottish Office, a position he held until Labour's defeat in the 1951 election. Throughout his period in office he held the development brief, promoting the policy of industrial reconstruction generally and pressing the United Kingdom's economic ministries on the need to relocate industry from the midlands and south of England specifically. Throughout 1946 he took a leading part in securing government support for the siting of Scotland's first new town at East Kilbride. He was greatly concerned that the life of the Lanarkshire coalfield was limited and that by the mid-1950s an estimated 20,000 miners would be either unemployed or required to migrate elsewhere to find work.
Although ultimately unsuccessful, Fraser's dogged pursuit of regional policy and the needs of the Lanarkshire coalfield led to Harold Wilson, the president of the Board of Trade in 1950, agreeing to support the establishment of a subsidiary factory for Rolls-Royce at East Kilbride. It was a move that secured the town's industrial base and created an image of a new town firmly wedded to engineering and new technology.
In opposition between 1951 and 1964, Fraser's pragmatic and open style of politics led him to identify with the right wing of the Labour Party, taking a strongly anti-Bevan line in March 1955. From the autumn of 1955 he was consistently elected to the shadow cabinet, the only Scottish MP to achieve that position. Not surprisingly he took a lead in parliamentary debates on the economic reconstruction of Scotland, most notably between 1957 and 1958 over the government's eventual decision to site an integrated strip steel mill at Colvilles, Motherwell, a decision that secured the future of 5000 steelworkers on the Clyde.
On the return of the Labour government in 1964, Harold Wilson appointed Fraser Minister of Transport. The ministry came under considerable pressure from Labour MPs who believed firmly that the government should introduce an integrated transport plan based on the railway network. However, Fraser's acknowledgement that private transport, particularly the motor car, held greater public support led to the erosion of back-bench support. His failure during 1965 to produce a plan for the co-ordination of transport contributed to his downfall. He continued the Beeching plan of rail closures, though he was reluctant to permit the closing of lines in major conurbations, in isolated rural areas, or where alternative bus services could not be provided. Former Bevanites within the government, such as Barbara Castle and Richard Crossman, wrote disparagingly of his abilities, unfairly regarding him as a union hack. After he supported the view that nationalized railway workshops should not be allowed to compete for outside business, Castle commented that he was too ready to accept the inherited arguments of the civil service (Castle Diaries, 196470, 22, 22 March 1965), while Crossman thought his performance pretty disastrous (Diaries, 1.204, 18 April 1965). The mantra was "integrated transport" and Lord Hinton was appointed to report on it, but according to Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 630) this proved an impossible task.
In 1967 Fraser resigned his Hamilton seat, which he had held continuously since 1943, to become part-time chairman of the Highlands and Islands Electricity Board, a post he held until 1973. He combined it with part-time membership of the Highlands and Islands Development Board until 1970, when he refused to be considered for a further term. He believed that the latter board wasted considerable public funds on projects with little long-term benefit to employment. His other posts included membership of the royal commission on the reform of local government in Scotland (19669) and chairing the committee that oversaw the transfer of staff between authorities consequent on local government reform in 1975. In 1973 he was appointed chairman of the local government commission set up to deal with the transfer of staff involved in the reform of local government.
Fraser was generally well liked by those with whom he came into contact. Unusually, perhaps, for a miners' MP in an area known for its political radicalism, he conducted public office with an open mind and a sense of reaching the right decision based on practical politics. His obvious sense of duty towards the party derived from a deep sense that the labour movement needed to remain united if it was to avoid the deep schisms of the early 1930s, but it also created a view that he lacked the enterprise and drive necessary to maintain ministerial support. Ian Levitt ODNB
Geddes, Ross Campbell [Lord]
Son of Sir Auckland Geddes was born on 20 July 1907; educated at Rugby and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and died whilst at sea on a cruise on 3 February 1975. Listed in steamindex as Chairman of Committee on Carriers Licensing to which Beeching submitted comparitive costs of road and rail arguing that rail was cheaper even if newly constructed for freight transport. Geddes had interests in insurance, shipping, Shell and asphalt. No wonder Beeching's observations were steam-rollered into oblivion (Who Was Who). See also Edward Gibbins Backtrack, 2013, 27, 556.
George, David Lloyd
Born in Chorlton upon Medlock, Manchester on 17 January 1863. In the honours list of 1 January 1945 it was learned that Wales's great commoner would become Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor. It did not enhance his reputation among his admirers. On 26 March he died of cancer in Ty Newydd. Four days later, in a simple service, he was buried beside the River Dwyfor in Llanystumdwy. A great boulder marks his grave. There is no inscription. Kenneth O. Morgan ODNB. He was undoubtedly a towering politician and greatly noted for his oratory. The ODNB enters him under Gorge rather than Lloyd-George which is the form adopted by Wragg who unlike Morgan notes his stance as a young solicitor against the LNWR for discrimination against its Welsh speaking employees: otherwise Morgan is better on railway matters and far more besides.
Gladstone, William Ewart
Born on 29 December 1809.into the Scottish commercial community in Liverpool. He died at Hawarden on 19 May 1898. The family accepted the offer of a state funeral and, after Gladstone's body had lain in state for three days in Westminster Hall, he was buried in the statesman's corner of Westminster Abbey on 28 May. ODNB entry by H.C.G. Matthew who is aware of Gladstone's influence on railways..Gladstone is almost certainly the most influential British politician to be positively involved in railway development. Hodgkins, David. Gladstone and railways. J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2007, 35, 501; and 574
Born Marazion, Cornwall, and baptized at St Hilary's Church on 24 September 1761, the son of Pascoe Grenfell of Marazion, merchant and consul to the states of Holland, and his wife, Mary, third child of William Tremenheere, attorney, of Penzance. Educated at Truro grammar school, he was sent, through his father's connections, to learn banking with the firm of Hope Brothers of Amsterdam. He returned to London, entering into business with his father and uncle as merchants and dealers in tin and copper ores. He later became involved with the copper magnate Thomas Williams, acting as his agent on a sales trip to France. Most of information from Edmund Newell ODNB entry.
A close association developed from this involvement with Williams. Grenfell became a shareholder in Williams's enterprises, and by the late 1780s he was running Williams's newly established office in London. Their business relationship was further extended in 1794 when Grenfell went into partnership with Williams's son Owen to buy Cornish ores, primarily to supply Williams's Middle and Upper Bank smelting works in Swansea. Following Thomas Williams's death in 1802 Grenfell and Owen Williams took over these works. Owen Williams withdrew his interest in 1829, which led to the establishment of the family firm of Pascoe Grenfell & Sons, which remained a major copper producer for most of the nineteenth century.
Grenfell's association with Thomas Williams extended into politics. Having purchased Taplow House, Grenfell succeeded Williams as MP for Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, from 14 December 1802 until 29 February 1820. He subsequently served as MP for Penryn, Cornwall from 21 April 1820 to 2 June 1826. In the Commons Grenfell associated himself with the Grenville party and his strong evangelical faith and friendship with William Wilberforce led him to speak against the slave trade. Recognized as an expert on financial matters Grenfell was instrumental in the introduction of the periodical publication of accounts by the Bank of England, of which he was a vigilant observer. He was also governor of the Royal Exchange Assurance Company and a commissioner of the lieutenancy for London.
His activities as an early railway promoter are described in an article (with portrait) by Penny Watts-Russell in J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2011 (210), 34-46. These activities are not mentioned in the ODNB entry. Further article by Penny Watts-Russell Travelling steam... J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2013 (217), 10-20.
Grenfell married twice. His first wife, his cousin Charlotte Granville, died in 1790. They had two sons, the younger of whom, Charles Pascoe Grenfell (17901867), was born in London on 4 April 1790.
The second wife of Pascoe Grenfell, whom he married on 15 January 1798, was Georgiana St Leger, seventh and youngest daughter of St Leger St Leger (formerly St Leger Aldworth), first Viscount Doneraile of the second creation. They had two sons, Pascoe St Leger Grenfell (17981879) and Riversdale William Grenfell (18071871), both of whom were closely involved in Pascoe Grenfell & Sons and became prominent figures in Swansea.
Pascoe Grenfell died at 38 Belgrave Square, London, on 23 January 1838.
Hore-Belisha, Isaac Leslie
Born in London on 7 September 1893. He died on 16 February 1957 in France at Rheims, where he was leading a British parliamentary delegation. Educated at Clifton College and then sent to Heidelberg and Sorbonne for short periods of study before going up to St John's College, Oxford, in 1913. Commissioned in Army Service Corps and in November 1914 went to France, where he saw heavy fighting at Neuve Chapelle. A year later, with the rank of captain, he was attached to the Third Army and showed ingenuity in handling supplies. That led to a posting to Salonika in the early months of 1917 and, in turn, visits to Cyprus and Egypt. He was promoted to the rank of major. In March 1918 he was invalided home with malaria. He resumed his Oxford career with comprehensive enthusiasm and in 1919 became the first post-war president of the union. He won Plymouth Devonport for the Liberals in 1923. It was gratifying to the chancellor of the exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, and galling to free trade Liberals, to have Hore-Belisha, now a Liberal National, spending his time expounding new tariff arrangements and the benefits to be derived from the Imperial Economic Conference held in Ottawa that summer.
In 1934 Hore-Belisha became Minister of transport and arguably the first politician in the fifteen-year life of the ministry to grasp that the post could advance a career. He began to grapple with the motor car. Pedestrians needed to be able to cross roads in relative safety and he backed illuminated amber globes on black and white posts at appropriate crossing points to allow them to do so. They quickly became known as Belisha beacons. He also thought it appropriate that new motorists should pass a driving test and would benefit from a revised highway code. He believed that trunk roads were too important to be left in the hands of local authorities. In these and other respects his flair for publicity was used to good effect. Sworn of the privy council in 1935 and raised to cabinet rank in October 1936, he put the Ministry of Transport on the political map. His contribution to railway history appears to heve ben minimal: guest of honour at LMS Silver Jubilee celebeation lunch: see LMS J., No. 34 pp. 52-4.
In May 1937 the prime minister Neville Chamberlain made Hore-Belisha secretary of state for war. At forty-three he was one of the youngest men to hold this appointment. Even more significant, perhaps, was that, unlike most of the cabinet, he had seen active service in the First World War. It was not an appointment casually made. The prime minister had a view that the War Office was wedded to obsolete methods and needed the invigorating shake-up that Hore-Belisha would be sure to bring. The new minister's priorities soon became clear. An army needed to recruitin the absence of conscriptionand with considerable success he set about making enlistment more attractive. Keith Robbins ODNB. Mullay, good though he is, cannot detect much to add: his pedestrian crossings certainly eased access to railway stations (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 537-41).
Born 1796; died 11 July 1876. Lived in Annandale: MP (Tory) for Dumfries: 1830-47 and 1857-65. Very active in promoting Annandale route for WCML (Caledonian Railway Dawn Smith states first chairman); also promoted Moffat Railway, but long pre-deceased its opening.
Huskisson occupies an unfortunate position in railway history being fatally injured on the opening day of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. His death is the subject of an excellent article by George Smith in Backtrack, 2010, 24, 420 which includes illustrations of two of the memorials to hime: one at Parkside (the site of the fatal accident when he was knocked down by the Rocket) and one in Chichester Cathedral. He is also included in the ODNB where A.C. Howe celebrates his life. He is not in the Oxford Companion. He was born on 11 March 1770 and died on 15 September 1830. His life was spent in public service, much of it as a Member of Parliament, latterly for Liverpool. Memorial statues located in and around Liverpool see Backtrack, 2011, 25, 740 See also Simon Garfield's The last journey of William Huskisson.
Born 26 December 1888 in Norwich with surname Lathan, but changed it to Latham to avoid confusion with a broth who also entered politics; died in London on 31 March 1970. He worked as a railway clerk in Norwich, and later moved to London where he became involved in trade union activities. He helped to form the London Labour Party in 1914, and was President of the National Union of Clerks in 1916. During WW1 he fought in France with the Royal Sussex Regiment. He was a member of the London County Council and eventually became Leader. He was a member of the London Passenger transport Board from 1935 and the first Chairman of the London Transport Executive. On 16 January 1942 he had been created Baron Latham, of Hendon in the County of Middlesex. During the debate on the 1953 Transport Act Churchill was critical of both Hurcomb and Latham which led to the latter's resignation. Mainly Wikipedia, but also Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 630)
Leathers, Frederick James
Born in East London on 21 November 1883. Joined the Steamship Owners Coal Association which was eventually taken over by William Cory where he became general manager. Minsister of War Transport under Churchill which recognised his contribution to the management of shipping and was created a peer. His great success was in 1943 when he negotiated with Amerioan Administration for the supply of 200 ships as Britain had the sailors, but lacked the ships to convey vital supplies from America. Died in Ealing on 19 March 1965. ODNB entry by Francis Keenlyside, revised Marc Brodie. Also Mullay. Backtrack, 2017, 31, 537 and 630.
Lennox-Boyd, Alan Tindal
Born on 18 November 1904 at Loddington, Bournemouth; killed through being knocked down in Fulham Road on 8 March 1983. Educated at Sherborne School and Christ Church, Oxford. Became MP for Mid-Bedfordshire in 1931. Served in Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve during WW2 on motor torpedo boats. ODNB entry by Philip Murphy which notes that he was a very reluctant Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation during the Churchill post-WW2 administration. Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 630) is critical, mainly through the obervations of others, of the lax approach to costing and control railway modernisation.
Liddell, Sir Thomas Henry
Sixth Baronet 1775-1855 of Ravensworth requested Geiorge Stephenson to build a steam locomotive for the Killingworth wagonway: Blucher was the product. PJGR in Dictionary of Business Biography.
Born 10 June 1763 in Woodside, Wreay, near Carlisle. Educated privately; went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1782, and graduated BA in 1786; entered Lincoln's Inn, and, after being called to the bar in 1789, began to practise on the northern circuit. Great friendship with William Wordsworth, whom he had met in 1795 at a gathering of radical friends (including George Dyer, William Frend, William Godwin, and John Horne Tooke). He also became a friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey.
In 1799 he settled as a barrister in Newcastle upon Tyne, rapidly acquiring a reputation as a man of strict integrity and sound judgement, whether in the courts or as an arbitrator in industrial disputes. As a Unitarian he was debarred from holding civic appointments or public office, but, following the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828, for the annulment of which he had campaigned, the corporation of Newcastle in 1832 invested him with the highest judicial function in their gift, the recordership, and shortly afterwards with the honorary freedom of the city.
Losh was an active reformer and philanthropist. Among the causes which he promoted were abolition of the slave trade, Catholic emancipation together with total religious freedom, and parliamentary reform. Chairman of Newcastle & Carlisle Railway from 1825 until 1833. Losh died in Greta Bridge, Yorkshire, on 23 September 1833. ODNB entry by T.S. Dorsch. Rennison, R.W. The Newcastle and Carlisle Railway and its engineers; 18291862. Trans. Newcomen Soc., 2001, 72, 203-33.
Maclay, John Scott
Born in Glasgow on 26 October 1905; died Kilmalcolm on 17 August 1992. Member of ship-owning family who performed public service. Educated at Winchester College and Trinity College, Cambridge. Elected MP for Montrose Burghs in 1940 and then for West Renfrewshire which he represented for fourteen years. Churchill appointed Lord Leathers as co-ordinator of transport, fuel and power with lesser beings to report on transport in the Commons. The first such was Maclay, but he suffered from ill-health and did not last long under Churchill. But he fared considerably better under Macmillan and as Christopher Harvie in the ODNB concludes his excellent biography "Maclay's career was enigmatic. From occupying only minor officeand without enjoying any great success in ithe became, during his five-year tenure of the Scottish secretaryship, the essential creator of the institution as it was to preside over Scottish affairs between then and the creation of a Scottish parliament forty years later. A modest and unpretentious man, he was motivated by a strong sense of public duty, and was described by a former parliamentary private secretary as the most saintly character I knew in politics". Harvie notes that he was responsible for the Ravenscraig steel strip mill and for the automotive plants at Linwood and at Bathgate, and for the Forth and Tay road bridges, but saw the collapse of the North British Locomotive Co, and the severe reduction in the Scottish railway network. Sadly Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 630) dismisses Maclay rather quickly.
Macquisten, Frederick Alexander
Born 23 July 1870: died 29 February 1940. Educated Glasgow University. Solicitor; Member Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh, 1909; called to Bar, Grays Inn, 1920; contested Leith Burghs, 1910; Glasgow (St Rollox), 1912; MP (Conservative Unionist) Springburn Division of Glasgow, December 191822, Argyllshire 1924 until death (Who Was Who). According to Hamilton Ellis Some classic locomotives (page 149) was highly anti-railway, partly due to the toll imposed by the LMS for crossing the Connel Ferry Bridge.
Born 2 April 1757; changed his name to Robertson on marriage, but subsequently became Baron Majoribanks. Stockbroker and MP for Berwickshire between 1859 and 1873. Lord Lieutenant of County 1860-1873. Assisted construction of Berwickshire Railway by donating land. Buried Polwarth Castle. Nisbet, Alistair F. The Berwickshire Railway. Backtrack, 2011, 25,. 664-70.
Mangles, Ross Donnelly
MP for Guildford 1841-58. Director LNWR and Chester & Holyhead Railway. Keith Hill. On trtack to Westminster. Backtrack, 2003, 17, 523
Marsh, Richard Willisam
Born on 14 March 1928 in Swindon; died on 29 July 2011 at Wimbledon. He was the only child of William Marsh, coremaker on the Great Western Railway, and his wife, Elsie, née Ball. He was educated at Jennings School, Swindon, and then moved aged fourteen to Greenwich, south-east London, where he worked for a cable manufacturer and later as an apprentice electrical engineer, taking classes at Woolwich Polytechnic. At sixteen he joined the Erith Labour Party. Following national service (1945-8), he was briefly employed as a clerk at the Labour Party's headquarters at Transport House, before winning a scholarship to study economics at Ruskin College, Oxford. In 1951 Marsh joined the National Union of Public Employees. Within two years he had become the union's organizer for the National Health Service and joined the Whitley Council for the Health Service, where he gained valuable negotiating skills. A prominent member of his local Labour Party during the 1950s, he was elected MP for Greenwich at the general election in October 1959. He made an early impression at Westminster, and topped the poll for private members' bills in December 1960. Following Labour's re-election in March 1966 Marsh was appointed to the Ministry for Power with a seat in cabinet. His two years in the department were dominated by the renationalization of the steel industry, which he carried through with determination, winning him further recognition. He was motivated less by a doctrinaire faith in nationalization than a desire to bring order to a fragmented industry. His handling of steel nationalization was characterized by a willingness to engage with figures from the private sector and led him to appoint the Conservative financier Lord Melchett as British Steel's first chairman. More alarming, particularly to Labour MPs from mining constituencies, was his initiation of a programme of reduced coal production, leading to the closure of around 100 pits. His two years at the Ministry of Power also witnessed the Aberfan mining disaster, in October 1966, after which he gave strong support to the chairman of the National Coal Board, Lord Robens. An enthusiastic supporter of Labour's former leader Hugh Gaitskell, Marsh became increasingly critical of what he saw as the party's leftward drift, and the policies of cabinet colleagues such as Barbara Castle.In April 1968, and against his will, Marsh replaced Castle as minister for transport: I could not see the slightest reason why I should be shifted into a Ministry about which I knew nothing and cared less (Marsh, 123). He inherited Castle's controversial and wide-ranging Transport Bill that proposed a comprehensive and coherent approach to road and rail transportationof which Marsh approvedalongside measures, including the installation of tachometers in lorries, of which he did not. The role of the ministry was not, in Marsh's opinion the proper utilization of scarce national resources. His dislike of parts of the bill led Castle to criticize Marsh as cynical, superficial and lazy and to urge that he be sacked. Mullay Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 630) states that Marsh considered the Waverley route closure his "biggest mistake".
As an opposition MP from June 1970, Marsh made clear his intention to leave parliament for a career in industry. The following year he accepted an invitation from the Conservative minister for transport, Peter Walker, to become chairman of British Rail, and resigned his seat. As with steel and transport Marsh's brief at British Rail was rationalization. Marsh's five years at British Rail were defined by industrial and wage disputes, from April 1972, and by repeated interventions by Conservative and (from October 1974) Labour governments which he criticized as antithetical to a viable long-term business strategy. He was also frustrated by the failure to invest sufficiently in new technology, principally the high-speed train and the advanced passenger train, and Labour's cancellation of the Channel Tunnel project in 1974. Two years later Marsh stepped down as chairman, to be replaced by Peter Parker. He had been knighted earlier the same year.On leaving British Rail, Marsh succeeded Lord Goodman as chairman of the Newspaper Publishers' Association, a post he held for fourteen years. This was a period of protracted dispute between print unions and employers, which saw Rupert Murdoch's removal of his News International titles to Wapping, and the decline of Fleet Street. By the late 1980s there was also increasing public and parliamentary concern at the levels of press intrusion. In 1981 Marsh was appointed by Margaret Thatcher to the House of Lords, where he sat as a cross-bencher. Four years earlier he had surprised and angered many former Labour colleagues by stating his intention to vote at the next election not for the party he was once tipped to lead but for the Conservatives. ODNB Philip Carter
Moore-Brabazon, John Theodore Cuthbert (Lord
Born in London on 8 February 1884, the younger son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Arthur Henry Moore-Brabazon (18281908), landowner, of Tara Hall, Co. Meath, Ireland; died at Grangewood, Longcross, near Chertsey, Surrey, on 17 May 1964. educated at Harrow School (18981901) and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read engineering but did not take a degree. Attracted to early internal combustion engines, he spent his university vacations as an unpaid mechanic to Charles S. Rolls, the pioneer of motor cars. On leaving Cambridge, Moore-Brabazon became an apprentice in the Darracq works in Paris, from which he graduated as an international racing driver. In a Voisin aircraft resembling a huge box kite he became the first Englishman to pilot a heavier-than-air machine under power in England. The flight took place over the Isle of Sheppey in May 1909, lasted rather more than a minute, and ended in a crash which nearly cost him his life. This courageous enterprise brought him, in March 1910, the first pilot's certificate to be issued by the Royal Aero Club. He served with the Royal Flying Corps on the western front and specialized in the development of aerial reconnaissance and photography. His qualities of leadership and mechanical flair brought him the regard and friendship of that exacting commander Hugh Trenchard. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, was awarded the MC, received three mentions in dispatches, and became a commander of the Légion d'honneur. In 1918 Moore-Brabazon's brother officer Lord Hugh Cecil encouraged him to stand for parliament as a Conservative. He was elected for the Chatham division of Rochester, a seat which he held until his defeat in 1929. From 1931 to 1942, when he was created a peer, he sat for Wallasey. Fearlessly ebullient, he delivered his maiden speech within two days of entering the house and in 1919 was rewarded by an invitation to become parliamentary private secretary to Winston Churchill, in October 1940 he replaced Lord Reith as minister of transport in the wartime coalition and was sworn of the privy council. After seven months spent largely in making good the dislocation caused by enemy air raids he became minister of aircraft production. He had many friends in the industry and both in and out of office kept abreast of its technical developments, particularly the jet engine invented by Frank Whittle. He also restored a more orderly regime in the ministry after the inspired piracy by which his predecessor, Lord Beaverbrook, had ensured a desperately needed flow of fighter planes. ODNB entry by Kenneth Rose. Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 537-41) notes that he owned a two inch gauge model railway illustrated in Bassett-Lowke's Model railway handbook. Sean Day Lewis's Lzst giant of steam (page 152 plus plates) describes the naming ceremony at Eastleigh on 10 March 1941 of 21C1: one of the pictures shows Brabazon with driver's hat leaning out of the cab with Bulleid behind.
Morrison, Herbert Stanley
Born in Brixton, London, on 3 January 1888; died died in Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, Kent, on 6 March 1965. His father, Henry Morrison was a police constable of Conservative politics. He was a voracious reader and throughout his life often got the best of an argument through being well-briefed. In 1906 he joined the Independent Labour Party and in 1915 he became secretary of the London Labour Party. As a councillor in Hackney in 1919-25 he became its mayor in 1920. He served on the London County Council as representative for Wandsworth from 1922. He was elected Labour MP for South Hackney in 1923, was defeated in 1924, but re-elected in 1929. In the first Labour government of 1924 Morrison served as Secretary of State for the Colonies. Until the late 1920s Labour Party thinking was that future publicly owned industries should be run as departments of state, like the Post Office. Morrison considered that they should be run by independent corporations, as in the case of the BBC from 1926. As Minister of Transport in the Labour government of 1929-31 he put these ideas into practice in the National Government's London Passenger Transport Act of 1933. Harold Clay, for the transport workers, argued at Labour Party conferences in 1931, 1932, and after 1945 that employees in the industry should be given a major part to play on the corporate boards that were planned, so that they should feel a real involvement in their industry; but Morrison preferred management by a predominance of 'outside' business experts. Morrison was Home Office Minister and Minister of Home Security in the coalition government in WW2, and Lord President of the Council in 1945-51, when he had influential oversight of nationalization. It enabled him to carry through this policy for the Railway Executive (1948-62) which ran the nationalized industry under the British Transport Commission, and continued after 1962 under the British Railways Board. Morrison's plans for integrated transport in which there would be an appropriate balance between road and rail were undermined by the Transport Act of 1953, which privatized the Commission's Road Haulage Executive. Morrison was created Baron Morrison of Lambeth in 1959. Philip Bagwell in Oxford Companion except birth & date (David Howell ODNB). Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 537-41). "The exception to the overall mediocrity of so many of the ministers of transport was Herbert Morrison, who succeeded Ashley in 1929, briefly holding the ministerial position during part of Ramsay Macdonald's government tenure until 1931 and, unusually, striking up a friendship with his ministry's PS, Hurcomb. With the latter's involvement, Morrison was responsible for laying the foundations for a city-wide authority to control London's transport, the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB). His book Socialisation and Transport shows a constructive approach to logistical problems, although he had little time to introduce his innovations, many of them adopted by subsequent administrators of a different political hue".
Son of an innkeeper, Morrison was born at Middle Wallop in 1789. He was employed by a London haberdasher, and probably as a result of marrying his employer's daughter became rich and in 1830 became the MP for St. Ives, then Ipswich (1832-7) and Inverness Burghs from 1840-7. He died at Basildon Park, one of several estates owned by him, on 30 October 1857. He invested in American railways, but investigated the finances of British railways: chairing Parliamentary Select Committees which brought him into conflict with Hudson. He established a notable collection of Italian and Dutch old masters and contemporary English paintings and was one of the richest commoners in the nineteenth century according to Charles Jones (ODNB). His railway work is considered by Robert S. Sephton: J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2003, 34, 364 and 467
Mulley, Fred [Frederick William]
Born in Leamington Spa on 3 July 1918, the elder son of William John Mulley, general labourer, and his wife, Mary, née Boiles. His father came originally from Wisbech but met his wife, a domestic servant, of Whitnash, near Leamington Spa, whilst serving in there during WW1. Mulley was educated at Bath Place Church of England school before winning a scholarship to Warwick School, which he left at the age of eighteen with the higher school certificate. He was unable to go to university because his father was unemployed. Between 1936 and 1939 he was an accounts clerk under the national health insurance scheme. He joined the Worcestershire regiment as a lance-sergeant in 1939, but was taken prisoner at Dunkirk. While a prisoner of war in Germany, 1940-;45, he obtained a BSc in economics and qualified as a chartered secretary. After the war he was admitted as an adult scholar to Christ Church, Oxford, on the basis of an essay on the economics of a prisoner-of-war camp, which explained how cigarettes became currency. He gained first-class honours in philosophy, politics, and economics in 1947. Subsequently he was a research student at Nuffield College, Oxford, and also a research fellow in economics at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, in 1950 he became member of parliament for the Park division of Sheffield, a seat that he held for over thirty years. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1954.
In 1962 Mulley published The Politics of Western Defence. In October 1964 he became deputy to Denis Healey, secretary of state for defence. His ministerial career then extended throughout the Labour governments of 1964-70 and 1974-9. From December 1965 he was minister of aviation. From January 1967 he was a minister of state at the Foreign Office. He was then minister of transport, from October 1969 until June 1970. In March 1974 he returned as minister of transport under the secretary of state for the environment, Anthony Crosland, before joining the cabinet as secretary of state for education and science in June 1975. His final appointment, in September 1976, was as secretary of state for defence.
Mulley was one of the few people of working-class origin who both achieved cabinet status in Labour governments and survived the course. Unlike George Brown and James Callaghan, he had won a university education. Unlike George Brown, he was of a disposition that enabled him to work with colleagues. But unlike Brown and Callaghan, his manner and personality were curiously retiring for a politician, let alone a cabinet minister, and his influence was mainly exercised in the background of Labour politics. In that role he showed tolerance of those who differed from him, combined with a determination to preserve the unity of the Labour Party. Thus, though of the Labour right, he opposed Gaitskell's demand in early 1955 that Aneurin Bevan should lose the whip. It fell to him to preside, as chairman of the Labour Party, over the special party conference on Europe called on 26 April 1975, shortly before the referendum on British membership. Himself a committed European the emphasis of Mulley's own contribution was on the importance of party unity.
In their diaries Richard Crossman and Barbara Castle were patronizingly dismissive of Mulley. In 1982, when the Labour Party had moved violently to the left, Mulley was deselected as parliamentary candidate by his constituency party, a harsh judgment for so loyal a representative. After the general election of 1983 he was elevated to the Lords and passed the remainder of his life in the comfortable obscurity that, despite his considerable ability, he appeared to cherish. He died in Sheffield on 15 March 1995. ODNB entry Edmund Bell. Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 630) mrtrly lists him.
Peel, [Sir] Robert
Born Bury (presumably Lancs) on 5 February 1788. He died on 2 July 1850 following a riding accident. John Prest ODNB who states nothing on railways other than Peel's fear of railway building in Ireland (he had a great hatred of the Irish and of Catholics). Wragg (Historical dictionary) notes that he was instrumental in fanning the Railway Mania by getting rid of Dalhousie's board. Eager advocate of Trent Valley Railway as MP for Tamworth and would speed reinforcements against Irish: see Mathams and Barrett (Backtrack, 2014, 28, 4).
Born on 19 November 1919 in Hackney, the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia. His early years were spent in poverty; as a child he suffered from rickets. He was educated at Hackney Downs County Secondary School. He went on to Chelsea Polytechnic, where he studied science. There he joined the Young Communist League because, as he later explained, "to be a Jew in 1930s Britain was to be alienated. The world proletariat offered us a home." In 1937, aged 17, he volunteered for the International Brigades to fight as a machine-gunner for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil war. As a gifted linguist (he became fluent in at least five languages), Sherman was given the task of translating the orders of the battalion's Red Army instructor into English, French and Spanish. He took part in the battle of Fuentes del Ebro in the lower Aragon before being captured by Franco's Italian allies and sent back to Britain. After the Second World War, in which he fought with the British Army in the Middle East, Sherman enrolled at the London School of Economics, where he became president of the student Communist Party. In 1948 he was due to deliver a paper on politics in Yugoslavia, following a visit to the country, when news came of Stalin's break with Tito. Sherman was asked to amend his paper, but, when he refused, he was expelled from the Party for Titoist deviationism. In 1974 he co-founded, with Sir Keith Joseph and Mrs Thatcher, the conservative think-tank, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), and became its first director. He was ousted from the CPS in 1984 after he fell out of favour with the Tory leadership. In 1993 Sherman became an adviser to the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, a position which gave him a new opportunity to pour scorn on former allies in the Tory Party who regarded Karadzic as a war criminal. He was extremely anti-railways: see Skelsey Backtrack, 2016, 30, 216. Died 26 August 2006. Telegraph obituary. ODNB.
Born on 12 December 1839 at Pimlico, London; died in London on 28 October 1920. Associated with Hull banking family: Samuel Smith, Bros & Co. In October 1895 he was appointed governor of Western Australia (hence biuography by F.K. Crowley in Australian Dictionary of Biography). Leading promoter of Hull & Barnsley Railway (see Deacon. Rly Archive, 2015 (46), 2). At time of his death was director of the San Paulo Railway Co. in Brazil. Freemason. No mention of involvement in Australian railways. See also Mike G. Fell Hull's Alexandra Dock. Backtrack, 2015, 29, 674-81. .
Thomas, James Henry [Jim, Jimmy]
Born 3 October 1874 at Newport, Monmouthshire, illegitimate son of Elizabeth Thomas, domestic servant; brought up in poverty by his grandmother, Ann Thomas, a widowed washerwoman. He attended St Paul's elementary school, working part-time as a shop errand boy from the age of nine. After leaving school when twelve, had various jobs and in 1889 joined Great Western Railway as an engine cleaner, and was promoted to fireman five years later. Joining the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS), he quickly proved himself a talented organizer and speaker. By 1897 he was chairman of his local union branch and president of the Newport Trades Council, and in 1898 became a delegate to the ASRS annual conference. In 1898 married a childhood friend, Agnes Hill; they had three sons and three daughters, one of whom died in infancy. Transferred by the GWR to Swindon, he eventually became an engine driver in the marshalling yards. He again presided over the local trades council, and in the 1901 municipal elections defeated his own GWR superintendent. On Swindon council he was chairman of the finance and law committee from 1904 to 1905, and of the electricity and tramways committee from 1905 to 1906. As a trade unionist, he was among the first to benefit from a career structure leading up through a well-established organization and into labour politics. In 1902 he was elected to the ASRS national executive committee, in 1905 as its youngest ever president, and in 1906 as organizing secretary-a full-time post which brought his resignation from the GWR, and moves to Manchester, Cardiff, and finally London. As Labour MP for Derby from the general election of January 1910 and ASRS assistant secretary from September of that year, he became nationally prominent during the late Edwardian labour unrest. Was member of Labour governments, and was Secretay of State for the Colonies, but had to resign in 1936 due to disclosure of budget information. Guest at Great Western Centenary: see Locomotive Mag., 1935, 41, 292. Died in London on 21 January 1949. Philip Williamson ODNB and Philip Bagwell Oxford Companion..Was instrumental in capital loans which led to Westbury and Frome cut-offs, etc: see Backtrack, 2015, 29, 54. His involvement in inquiry into the Ais Gill accident and the reaction of the Midland Railway's grandees is considered in great depth by the late Peter Robinson in Backtrack, 2014, 28, 666 and 2015, 29, 46.
Wallace, (David) Euan
Born in London on 20 April 1892; died of cancer of the liver and stomach on 9 February 1941 in London. Wealthy background, partly from Baird industrial activity. Educated at Harrow School and, from 1910, at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was commissioned into the 2nd Life Guards in the following year. In September 1913 he inherited a further £1,000,000 and three Ayrshire estates. Wallace himself served on the western front during the First World War, and was mentioned four times in dispatches. On 20 October 1915, while at Warneton, Belgium, he was severely wounded by shrapnel and evacuated to England. He returned to the front line at the start of 1917 and served as adjutant to his regiment's commanding officer. In July 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross. Euan Wallace served briefly as ADC to the governor-general of Canada before leaving the army to enter politics in 1922 as Unionist member for Rugby. In 1924 he was elected MP for Hornsey, Middlesexwhich he represented until his deathand now began his progression through the ranks of the Conservative and Unionist Party. Between 1931 and 1934 he served as a parliamentary private secretary at the Admiralty and attracted attention in 1934 for his thoughtful contribution of the Durham and Tyneside section of the Ministry of Labour's Report of Investigations on Depressed Areas (Cmd 4728). A keen motorist, in April 1939 Wallace was appointed as minister of transport by Neville Chamberlain. As war approached he was responsible for the successful planning and operation of the evacuation of children by rail and sea, and headed the railway executive by which the country's four railway companies were brought together on the outbreak of war. He and his wife (the second was related to Lutyens) constructed a country house at Kildonan, near Barrhill in Ayrshiire, designed by James Milller, comprising five wings and more than sixty-five rooms, and completed in 1923. ODNB entry by Robin Woolven. Mullay (Backtrack, 2017, 31, 537-41) merely mentions him.
James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie was born on 1 November 1776 and sat as an MP until created Baron Wharncliffe. He died on 19 December 1845. He introduced legislation to protect railway shareholders and was influentail in supporting the Great Western Railway Bill. See Fenwick and Bloomfield J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2008 (203), 179. ODNB entry by by G. Le G. Norgate, revised H.C.G. Matthew makes no mention of railway activity but notes his becoming a Catholic and his Scottish origins. His son John Stuart Wortley was Chairman of the GIPR..
Born in Huddersfield on 11 March 1916; died in London on 23 May 1995. Key to his future successful political success was his winning in 1934 a history exhibition at Jesus College, Oxford. It is worth remembering that during his premierships the worst of the railway closures took place. It was then that the train service through Hawick was destroyed and never looks like being restored; that the railway service to Plymouth became subject to disruption by heavy seas, and motorways (presumably of limited utility) were constructed where there had formerly been train services. The devastation was particularly severe in "Wilson's North of England". It is particularly ironic that Wilson is one of the few Prime Ministers to have contributed to the literature on railways (he was the winner of a Gladstone Memorial Prize with an essay on the 'The state and the railways in Great Britain 182363) and accordsing to his ODNB biographer, Roy Jenkins loved to talk about railway timetables. Perhaps the most poignant comment in Jenkins' biography comes at the end: "He kept the train of government on the rails over difficult stretches of country" when so much of Britain lost its train services.