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



APRIL 1913

PAGE 185


page 271

An open meeting of the above branch was held on Sunday, April 27th, when electric train driving, that all important question to locomotive-men, was dealt with. The correspondence up to date was read, while a report of the interviews which  have taken place was given by our delegate, Brother G. Pullen. There was a large amount of correspondence, which took one hour and a quarter to read. One or two members of the N.U.R. “Never United Railwaymen" is, I know, the wrong interpretation of those letters, but personally I don't think it is were present, and by the questions they asked the delegate, it was plainly seen that they were there to stir up party feeling, which I am pleased to say has never been entertained in this branch on this subject, that is: " Electrification as it affects Locomotive-men." One question from a N.U.R. man was to ask whom the deputation consisted of, and the reply he got was:  That it consisted of men capable of looking after his interests," which' he could not deny, and after a receiving such truthful and honest replies as that, these few who are in the wrong society soon appeared to get a bit more Tight-minded in the way of thinking. There were a few young firemen in the room, some of whom asked for proposal forms. I am pleased to say that we have been asked for a good number of these forms already this year, which goes to show that we are once again looking upwards. At present I don't think there is any other system where this electrification affects the locomotive-men the same as it does at New Cross. I say at present, because I am convinced that a few years hence it will become more generally adopted. I trust that the men on other lines will take the advice Brother J. Membery gave when he paid us a visit from West Brompton a short time ago. It was to the effect that the front of those "trains should be the place of a locomotiveman, and that we were fools if we stood by, with our guns loaded and afraid to fire, and see those men, whom they want us to call brothers, take the job away from us, thus depriving us of our living. But after hearing from our delegate the strenuous efforts the deputation is making on our behalf, the locomotive-men here have unanimously decided to support any action-its members choose to take. I hope the locomotive-men of the country will soon realize that they must mind their own business and trust their affairs in the hands of men capable of looking after their interests.





page 455


Hello folks! New Cross speaking from Norwood. Just another little brain wave on the Company’s part has made our members remove from West Croydon, Stewarts Lans, Redhill, Bricklayers’ Arms and Eastbourne, to Norwood Loco. As I anticipated, the opening of this shed is a complete chaos so far as locomen are concerned - insufficient staff provided, overtime too bad for words, no system of working in operation - making our lives on the job very uncomfortable, which is a disgrace to the company’s officials who handled this matter, seeing that two years is the time they have had to get down to the opening of Norwood Loco. A fairly well attended meeting of the A.S.L.E.F. men has been held, and their interest in the matter spells good for Norwood Loco. May it continue. We have transferred to Norwood some live wires. I have transferred from a live depot, and it is a pleasure to see that I have gone amongst men who promise to be just as live as New Cross men. Keep it up, friends; it will be needed. Our official L.D.C. candidates Bro. Jowitt, from West Croydon and Bro. Coulter, from Battersea; and the humble support of the men is all that is needed to make our job - a difficult one - into a fairly easy one. We promise opening a Norwood Branch of A.S.L.E.F. at the end of 1935, and I trust all members will make the arrangements necessary with their branch secretaries for a transfer. An official opening night will be arranged, and no doubt Jack Bromley will be able to give us the pleasure of his company on that evening. New Cross branch members can pay their contributions to me until the end of the year. We have some capable officials at the West Croydon branch, and I don’t think we shall want to alter things much, when we have men such as Henderson, Jerome, Barnaby, and many others holding the reins. I had one West Croydon member pulling me up at the opening meeting. Let me say that I appreciated his remarks, also his acceptance of my answer; he is the chap we want, may we al do it to all we think entitled to be pulled up, is my wish. Maitland, Gumbleton, White and Foy are our Foremen and Supervisors, and if they all turn out as white as Foy can be , we can say amen to a depot that will be a credit to us. 

A presentation is being arranged for our late Foreman, Mr. Hollins, of New Cross; let it be a success. If you want to know why, I’ll tell you, if you care to ask me. Mr. Hollins has got a rise in the world; how, I don’t wish to know; but Mr Edge is edging out and Mr. Hollins is edging in. 

Jim Bradley has retired from Section Council work, and though perhaps he has not always pleased us. I trust we shall show our appreciation in a suitable manner for the good work we know he has done. Bro. Sands is having a “go” from New Cross; support him is my request, he has taken on a job which does not interest me. 

A very good A.A.D. this year, the left wing element on the increase; it is needed, in our organisation. Bromley is going, others are coming; they have a job to do, see that they do it; don’t be; asking in your support, but do everything you can to help get back the conditions of service we have lost. 

Our continental outing this year was a great success. We had “Trade Horn” with us, and can’t that boy trade! I’ll say he can! We shall stage another trip to Paris, and any A.S.L.E.&F. member in the British Isles who desires to attended should let me know at the earliest. The outing will take place in June 1936 and will leave London at 11 p.m. on a Friday night, arriving back in London on the following Monday night at 6.30 p.m. Other particulars can be obtained from you humble. The number is limited, so don’t delay in having your name down if you desire a trip.

Our effort in regard to roping in the “Nons” at New Cross was very successful. Our branch secretary, Bro. Eaton, deserves every praise; he along with myself, has received the E.C. and T.U.C. medallions for the work and the success it has achieved. 

A suitable evening to show our appreciation must be arranged; and to all my friends at New Cross may I express my thanks for the associations that have existed between us, and will I know still exist, but one today, to keep his job, has got to be prepared to move. Don’t lose your job through want of applying. I hated shifting, but I was compelled to apply to be on the safe side, and I haven’t forgotten those who did apply and were not successful, though they should have been; it will be a matter for discussion at a later date, and you may still reach Norwood loco. and get that position you have been entitled to for some years now, but which has been denied you, viz., a regular rostered job as a firman.

So long, folks; best wishes to all old and new friends of the 1935 A.A.D. We shall meet again, says.

P. K. Willshaw,

New Cross Branch Chairman        

As a result of electrification extension of 1935 to the East Coast. A number of the junior enginemen/firemen found themselves having to move across the company with some re-locating at the newly opened Norwood Loco Depot. 


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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