One of the main reasons for doing these web sites is to try and explain to everybody the history of the footplate grades, the conditions they had to work in and the creation of the A.S.L.E.F. branches within the Brighton & Sussex area.

I am therefore very grateful for people sending me personal photos from their personal collection and for allowing me to display them on the web sites. But unfortunately what is missing, are the stories that accompany them. What I want to do is to try and remedy this by starting to record the remaining stories that are still out there, before they too are lost in the midst of time.

I have added some information about some of the drivers that I know and the comments that have already have been sent to me.

If you too have any stories about your own working life on the footplate, the people that you worked with and the conditions you had to work in please send me and I will post, on the web site.

If you are interested in helping me in capturing these stories by any means possible please let me know.

Click on the icon above for

the history of the Brighton Branch of ASLEF 

Click on the icon above for

the Brighton Motive Power Depot



MARCH 1888


Battersea, London, 

February 18th, 1888.

Dear Sir,—On February 12th, 1888, a meeting was held at The Two Brothers, Battersea, under the auspices of the A.S.L.E. & F. The room was comfartably filled, and a L.B. & S.C. driver was voted to the chair, and, after a few well chosen remarks, called upon the organising secretary, Mr. Ball to explain the objects and benefits of the Society, under whose auspices the meeting had been called. Mr. Ball then said he was very pleased to see such a meeting as the one before him, and by the time he had done he hoped to be able to show what benefits could be derived by the combination of  such a body as the enginemen and fireman of the United Kingdom. He also gave in detail the trial of Taylor and Davis, and as he told us of the great pains and trouble taken by the general secretary (Mr. Sunter), to see justice done to those members, it brought, forth shouts of applause, and his zeal was highly appreciated by all present. After Mr. Ball had done, five came forward and had their names enrolled, and several others promised to join at their earliest convenience.Several questions were asked and satisfactorily answered by the organising secretary, and with a vote of thanks to him, the chairman, and the representatives of the various London branches present, one of the most encouraging meetings of enginemen and firemen was brought to a close.

I remain, yours truly, J. B. 




PAGE 222

Battersea, London, 

July 19th, 1888.

Mr. Editor,
Sir,— On Sunday, July 1st, a general 
meeting of enginemen and firemen was held at the Two Brothers Inn, under the auspicies of the A. S. L. E. & F. , when Mr. C. E. Stretton, consulting engineer, and Mr. T. G. Sunter, general secretary of the Society, attended and addressed the meeting. The chairman of the branch presided, and after a few remarks asked Mr. Stretton to address the meeting. That gentleman then gave a very interesting address, he also alluded to his position as consulting engineer to the Society, and, expressed his pleasure at belonging to such an organisation, as in his opinion the travelling public were greatly indebted to enginemen and firemen for their safety. He also hoped to have the pleasure of again visiting this branch in the near future. After speaking for about thirty minutes he resumed his seat amidst applause. Mr.T.G. Sunter then gave a stirring address on the objects and benefits of the Society, and spoke of the progress the Society was making, which he felt sure was an augury that enginemen and firemen were beginning to realise the necessity of being of connected with an organisation composed of their class, and in response to his appeal to the non-members present to join our ranks, a number of enginemen and firemen gave in their names, one of them expressing an opinion that he felt sure from what he had heard that night that this Society was the one for enginemen and firemen. A vote of thanks was then given to the speakers, and the meeting was brought to a close.

I am, yours faithfully.

Branch Chairman



APRIL 1911

PAGE 181


The members of the above branches had their annual dinner at the Masonic Hall, Stanley's Restaurant, on Monday, March 6th, when a most enjoyable evening was spent. Our organizing secretary, Mr. Warwick, took the chair in the absence of Mr. Fox. The health of the chairman was submitted by Brother P. Turner and was received with musical honours. In reply the chairman said he hoped this dinner would be the means of increasing the members of our Society. Brother T. Higgins then proposed the toast : “Prosperity to the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen." Brother Stevenson, from Slade’s Green, in his response, said he heard the London and South Western railwaymen had made a stir in the right direction and he hoped they would continue to be active. (Hear, hear.) In their grievances the members would always have the assistance of Mr. Fox and the whole of the Executive Council. Brother A. Harrison proposed the toast of the London solicitor: " Mr. A. Tippetts." He said he had that evening received a wire from Mr. Tippetts, and he was sure all that night missed the fam liar face which had been in the chair at previous dinners, and assured them that although Mr. Tippetts was not present in person his mind was undoubtedly with them, and at the request of all present he had sent Mr. Tippetts a telegram wishing him health, wealth, and prosperity. The toast of “The Press” was proposed by Mr. H. Hancock, and amongst those who contributed to the harmony were Brothers F. Symonds, F. Atkinson, A. Philpot, G. Mannell, A.J. Reade, C. Deller, A.F. Densley, W. Suckling, and our old veteran the “Clapham Giant,” otherwise known as “Teddie.” Brother A. Finch gave some tasteful solos on a one stringed violin of his own construction. The programme was brought to a conclusion with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.”





PAGE 532


 It is not often a report appears in the Journal from this branch, but that fact does not imply that we are not alive. At a meeting recently held it was decided to have an outing to Brighton, on October 8th, and seeing that business at times can be coupled with pleasure, it was also decided to take advantage of the occasion and hold a meeting there as well. All being arranged, we left Victoria by the 8.50 a.m., in two saloons which our locomotive outdoor superintendent had favoured us with, and arrived at Brighton up to time and in good spirits. We all made our way to the good old seashore and had our photographs taken. Lunch was afterwards served at the Grand Rink Restaurant, and as it is not often we have time, peace and comfort in taking our meals, we all did full justice to the good things provided and thoroughly enjoyed them as well. Having satisfied the inner man, we journeyed to the Drill Hall, Church Street, which we had been granted the use of for the meeting. This was a very successful part of our day's outing, as about 500 were present. After hearing speakers from members of both the Battersea and Brighton Branches, the following resolution was carried unanimously :—

" That this meeting expresses its appreciation at the united and determined stand made by our colleagues in the northern district at the call of their Executive Councils, in August last, against the many and varied grievances under which we have long been suffering, and further desire to assure them that we pledge our support in any action the Joint Executive Council may decide in future.” 

After the usual votes of thanks, this meeting was brought to a close, after two hours and a half, which must have been interesting to everyone, as not one man left before time. Having again refreshed ourselves, We broke up into groups and had a stroll round the town, meeting again at the station to catch the 9.35 p.m., when all expressed themselves as having spent a very enjoyable day in sunny Brighton. The last business we had to conduct before we separated was to say farewell to one of our firemen, who was sailing for Australia the next day. I might mention that we have now to call upon our Executive Council to provide three of their special medallions, which proves that sometimes “ silence is golden,” as in this case 75 new members have been added to our ranks by three of our members.





PAGE 516


SIR, - Will you please insert in the Journal for the information of our members that at the meting of the conciliation board of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, Mr. A. Fox, General Secretary, was elected secretary of the board.







In connection with the above branch a dinner was held on January 9th, at the Queen Hotel, Robertson Street, to commemorate the concessions granted by the board of directors on October 16th last. Every credit is due %o our host for the excellent spread he put before us, and which, like we sometimes are ourselves, was ready up to time. The green flag having been waved, all present at once commenced to satisfy themselves. This being done, we all settled down to enjoy a musical evening. This was provided by the following artistes:—Messrs. G. Mar- mell, C. Lloyd, F. Atkinson, T. Harrison, A. Gallard, W. Potter, B. Smith, C. Friend, A. Pointer, W. Suckling, W. Sadler, W. Kitchingman, J. Satchwell, W. Baldwin, and " Fighting Mac," otherwise known as the "Clapham Giant," while one of our brethren from Slades Green, D. Hocking, also assisted. During the evening reports were given by the chairman of the depu- tation, Brother A. E. Harrison, and Brother J. Cordrey, delegate, which were much appreciated. The toast of the A.S.L.E. & F. was also proposed by our old friend, Brother J. Bliss, or, as he is sometimes called, the " Battersea Bishop," and seconded by Brother Warwick, organ- izing secretary. We had with us two of the delegates from Brighton, one of whom has done good work as corresponding secretary. At the close a hearty vote of thanks was given to them and likewise to our host. Will our members please note that our meetings are held every Friday at the Queen Hotel, Robertson Street, Battersea, and we hope ere long to again have a few evening similar to the above. Wishing one and all a Prosperous New Year, more concessions, and hoping to see the tail end bein put on our week’s holiday in 1913 is the wish of




APRIL 1913

PAGE 185


Sir, - Brother F. North wishes me to thank the members of the Benevolent Fund for the sum of £38 which he has received, and hopes the members of our Society who do not belong to this Fund will see their way clear to join as soon as possible, for none know whose turn it will be next to meet with misfortune.






PAGE 428


An open meeting was held at the Battersea Town Hall on July 27th, and was largely attended. Mr. Arborne was in the chair, and speeches were delivered by Messrs. A. E. Harrison and J. Cordrey (Battersea), J. Enves (Brighton), G. R. Pullen (New Cross), A. Marshall (East- bourne), R. Atkinson (Neasden), and R. Spice (Peckham). This meeting was called to protest against the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway officials promot- ing other than locomotive drivers or firemen to motormen. Mr. A. E. Harrison explained that two from the traffic department were now acting as motormen who were not twenty-one years old, and were standing senior to men who had been in the company’s employ over fifteen years, and that out of fifty-two vacancies only eighteen had been filled by locomotive-men, and this had a serious effect on locomotive-men. Some drivers were being reduced to firemen, and in consequence they suffered a reduction of 2s. per day. This required consideration and a determination to prevent any further reductions when the extension now being proceeded with was completed. He also explained that most of these men were members of a trade union, and had so far departed from the principle of trade unionism as to learn motor-driving in their own time. Letters were read that had passed between our Head Office and Mr. Williams, general secretary of the N.U.R., and surprise was expressed that the actions of trade unionists in learning motoring in their own time, free of expense to the company, were not repudiated. Brother J. Cordrey, in his remarks, asked all present, if they did not know any particular part of the road, was it likely that they would be prepared to ride on the engine in their own time? He maintained it was the same thing. He likewise stated these men were stealing from us the front of the the train, which was ours by right. Theother speakers enlightened those present of the grave position which might be caused by these traffic men continuing to be employed as motormen. Mr. J. Cordrey then moved the following resolu- tion, which was seconded by Mr. R. Atkinson, and carried unanimously:— " Seeing by the half-yearly report of the honourable board of directors to the shareholders that the electric traction is to be extended very considerably in the near future, and taking into consideration the serious results likely to accrue to the enginemen, owing to the electric traction taking the place of steam power and subsequent displacement of locomotive- men, the men are of the opinion that in every vacancy occurring on the electric system it should be filled by a footplate- man ; and to allow this being put into practical operation, we suggest that any vacancy as motormen occurring on the electric system an approved driver be allowed to fill the position; and should the electrification be the means of displacing any senior men, they should be given work on the electric system at the maximum electric rate. This suggestion we consider would not in any way deplete the locomotive staff, as it would only be filling up vacancies from the men displaced. This would also make sure of the company always having a competent staff to deal with the electrification, who could at any time or for any reason be transferred to the electric system or vice versa." Questions were asked and answered satisfactorily. Among those present were some of the traffic motormen and leading members of the N.U.R. Battersea Branch. I was pleased to see that they thought the resolution a just one, as they did not oppose it or ask questions against it. A similar thing might occur when other companies' lines are electrified, and my advice to the locomotive-men is : Beware lest you have your job stolen from you with your eyes wide open by your so-called brothers in unity. The motto is : Join your own Society, otherwise your outlook for having charge of the front end of the train is endangered. Remember the electric fever is on all railways, and ere long good bye to our locomotives. So wake up is the advice of




Click on the icon above for

the history of the Brighton Branch of ASLEF 

Click on the icon above for

the Brighton Motive Power Depot

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