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Booking Clerks

Selected biographies

J Cairns
C Clarke
H Ellingworth
E Hawker
E A Hogg
W G Johnson
G Thompson
G J Warner
J Watkins
F T Goodman

The post of Booking Clerk was first seen in place in 1872. It might be continuity of the Assistant Stationmaster post which was created in 1864 but which had disappeared by 1872. Fifteen holders of the post are known during the period. The first ten and one of the last four were in post for a very short time, five resigning and six quickly moving on elsewhere. Of those who completed their assignment at Ashchurch and went to another post elsewhere most continued as railway clerks for as long as they can be followed. Three (Cairns, Johnson & Goodman) became station masters elsewhere; the same may have been the case with Thompson. One (Watkins) was the son of the stationmaster at Ashchurch. He must be considered the star of the Ashchurch organisation. He remained at Ashchurch until the outbreak of war, then had a brilliant service career, and after the war moved through the railway establishment to finish as a very senior member of British Railways after World War 2; see reference below.

NameJoined Ashchurch frompay incrementsnext known posting
Thompson Gbefore 1872 unknown1872/73/74 Stoke Works (18/8/74)
Adams WH18/8/74 unknown1875resigned 30/9/75
Cairns J14/1/76 Swadlincote1877Alvechurch (10/6/1878)
Bloodworth H18/6/78 Wickwidd resigned 24/8/78
Branch A15/10/78 S&M Point resigned 17/1/79
Ellingworth H18/3/79 Guiseley1879/80/81Lincoln (unknown)
Hitton C G31/1/82 goods clerk1882resigned 17/11/83
Hooson B E14/6/83 Calverley resigned 11/10/83
Clarke C7/12/83 Seagrave Finchley Road (21/3/84)
Warner G J15/12/87 Woodchester Berkeley Road (16/2/88)
Hogg E A16/12/88 Berkeley Road 1888/89/90Manchester Victoria (10/5/95)
Johnson W G5/6/91 Ashchurch, goods clerk1893 to 1903Upton on Severn (15/3/06)
Hawker E H15/2/06 Malvern Wells Tewkesbury (unknown)
Watkins J W15/5/08 Ashchurch, goods clerk Malvern (1914)
Goodman F Cin post 1914

The post could be waged or salaried. Many started as wage-earners, their pay expressed in shillings (per week), and they would later progress to a salary, expressed in pounds sterling per year, presumably paid monthly. Pay was not assessed as a rate for the job, but there were other considerations, perhaps skill and seniority. Thus a new man in post was often paid at a rate lower than that of the person he was replacing.

G Thompson was a railway clerk for as long as he can be followed, but may have risen to a higher rank. He was a clerk in Ashchurch from probably before 1872 to 1874, though he does not appear in the 1871 census for the village. He then moved to Stoke Works from where, apparently very soon, he was transferred to the Superintendent's Office. Others with this posting have reappeared a station masters. However, it has not been possible to find him further, both before and after this, from among the very many railwaymen with his name and initial.

James Cairns's brief stay in Ashchurch was one rung on the ladder from assistant porter to stationmaster. He was born in Derbyshire in 1878, son of a labourer. In 1873 he was assistant porter, then clerk, at nearby Swadlincote, before moving to Ashchurch as a clerk, where he spent two years. Then to Alvechurch in Worcestershire, and from there to the Superintendent's Office, presumably Derby, in the earl;y 1880s. By 1889, when he married, he was a stationmaster, perhaps in or near Derby, then by 1891 stationmaster and railway parcels agent in Cambridge. He died in 1903 at the age of 44. Of his two sons Harold initially had railway-related work in the form of being a chef at the Midland Hotel in Derby, but he left there to become a soldier. Son Victor Stuart served in the army in World War 1 but there is no information on his civilian occupation.

Harry Ellingworth was an assistant (not further specified) at Guiseley before he went to Ashchurch. Thereafter he was railway clerk for as long as he can be traced. After two years he moved to Lincoln, where he married and settled. He remained there until at least 1901, and by 1911 had moved to Balsall Heath, Birmingham. He died in Birmingham in 1936 at the age of 76.

C Clarke began as a machine youth, then an office youth at Seagrave, Leicestershire, in 1880. He spent only a few months in Ashchurch as a booking clerk before moving on to Finchley Road and then to St Pancras in London, still a booking clerk. It has not been possible to find him further, both before and after this, from among the very many railwaymen with his name and initial.

George Joseph Warner remained a railway clerk for as long as he can be traced. He was born in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, son of a woollen cloth worker. His very brief spell in Ashchurch was one of a series of postings in the Midland Railway, first as a machine youth and machine clerk, also an office youth and office clerk, in Fishponds, Bristol (1883-84), Charfield (1884-86), Woodchester (1886-87), Ashchurch (1887-1888) Berkeley Road (1888-90), then finally to Leeds in 1890. Here he remained until at least 1911, a railways counter clerk, married and settled down. He is presumably the man of his name who died in Leeds in 1935 at the age of 66.

Ernest Henry Hawker was a railway clerk throughout his career. He was born in Worcester in 1878, son of a china painter. He worked variously as a railway booking clerk or goods clerk from at least 1894 to the time of his being called for military service in 1915. He had a number of postings in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire (Malvern Wells, Berkeley Road, Charfield, Malvern Wells again, Ashchurch, Tewkesbury and Studley). His stay in Ashchurch was for not more than five years from 1906. Then he was lodging in Tewkesbury until 1914, and was in Studley, Warwickshire, when he attested for military service at the end of 1915, still a railway clerk. His army service was in France as a sapper in the Railway Troops of the Royal Engineers. His final posting with 4 Transportation Stores Company may suggest the use of his civilian experience as a railway clerk. Details here. On demobilisation he went to live at this father's house in Worcester, unmarried. He married in Basford, Nottinghamshire, in 1925. The next information is in 1939 when he was living in Fishponds, Bristol, a retired railway clerk. He died there in 1949 at the age of 71.

Ernest Alfred Hogg was with the railways until he was about 40, a clerk throughout, at which point he was discharged for unknown reasons and became a builder's clerk. He was born in 1869 in Worcestershire, his father a farmer. He joined the Midland Railway in 1883 as a machine clerk at Malvern Wells. He was then posted to Upton on Severn later in 1883. and to Woodchester (1885) and Berkeley Road (1886) as an office youth, and to Ashchurch in 1888 as a booking clerk. He must be the Fred Hogg, 21, railway clerk, who was boarding with signalman Henry Bassano at one of the railway cottages in Ashchurch in 1891, though why he is recorded as Fred is not determined. In 1895 he moved to Manchester, a booking clerk at Victoria Station. He married in 1898. In 1901 he was discharged from railway employment, reason unknown, and ten years later he had returned to Gloucestershire (Cheltenham) as a builder's clerk. He was in Ashchurch after the war and then in Tewkesbury, where he was in 1939, still a builder's clerk He died in Tewkesbury in 1941 at the age of 72.

William Garner Johnson followed his father into a career on the railways. He spent his formative years at Ashchurch. He was born in Lancashire in 1873, his father a railway pointsman. He was at home in 1881, by which time his father was stationmaster at Hornlow station in Lancashire. By the time he was 15 he had left home and was working as a machine youth at Hitchen, Herts. The following year he moved to Ashchurch, where he would spend eighteen years first as a goods clerk then as booking clerk and during which time he married and had a child. His wife Elizabeth was the daughter of a local railway pointsman. In 1906 he moved to Upton-on-Severn, Worcs, where he was stationmaster by 1911. The next information is in 1939 when he was in Malvern, near Upton, working as a bank guard, presumably a retirement job (he will have been 67). He died in Malvern in 1941 at the age of 91. Two daughters are known.

James Watkins, second son of stationmaster William Watkins, is perhaps the star of the Ashchurch railway community. He started as a clerk at Ashchurch and, after a brilliant decorated experience in World War 2, transferred to Derby. He rose up through the railway hierarchy and after World War 2, was a very senior member of the British Railways board. A full account of his career is shown here

Francis Thomas Goodman was in Ashchurch for some years as a booking clerk in a career which began as a number-taker and assistant porter, and ended as a stationmaster. He was born in Old Dalby, Leicestershire, in 1880, his father a railway platelayer (later foreman). He worked as a Midland Railway number-taker in Trowell in Nottingham in 1898, assistant porter in Kimberley, also Notts, in 1898-99, then in Stroud, Gloucestershire, as a railway clerk in 1899 to at least 1911. He was booking clerk in Ashchurch in 1914 and was still in the village after the war, to at least 1926. He transferred to Thornbury, near Bristol in Gloucestershire, and was at Station House there between 1932 and 1939, stationmaster on at least the last date. He died in Downend, also near Bristol, in 1952 at the age of 72. There were no known children.


This data has been researched and produced by Brian Harringman. Comments, additions, and especially corrections would be gratefully received.