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Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors

There were a number of men living in Ashchurch described as railway inspectors or sub-inspectors. The earliest known record was in 1851. They do not feature in the Coaching Department list of station staff, the information being derived from censuses and local records. They are probably part of the Way and Works Dept of the railway. One is also described as a permanent way inspector and another as an engineer.One is listed in retirement in 1911 as a former railway foreman. Most arrived from elsewhere, already inspectors or sub-inspectors. One was local, starting as a platelayer. Available information suggests that there was probably just one post, though some caution is necessary given the sparseness of the sources.

The information sources here are parish records, censuses, electoral registers and the General Records Office.
NameJoined fromSource
William Clark 1851cen  
John Billingham1872par  
Joseph Webb1881-1891cen/er 
John Brotheridge1891-1894 cen, par, grosub-inspector
Thomas B Cooksey1900par 
Isaac Lomas1901, 1905 cen,par 
William Rossell1906-1921cen,er.parsub-inspector
Charles Savory 1911 cen 
John Brownbefore 1922par 
George William Waite1934prepermanent way inspector

Joseph Webb was a local man, born in Ashchurch around 1835, who started as a platelayer and progressed to inspector.He was a labourer when he married in Ashchurch in 1860.In 1861 and 1871 he was living in Ashchurch and working as a platelayer on the railway, in 1881 at Natton Field, in 1891 in Fiddington, on both occasions as a railway inspector, and in 1911 at Homedowns (retired railway foreman), source censuses. The electoral register shows that up to 1899 he was living at Homedowns but was also the owner of a property (house with garden) at Northway. After 1902 the Northway property disappears. He was married with one child. He is probably the Joseph Webb whose death was registered at Tewkesbury in the first quarter of 1918.

Isaac Lomas was not local, but spent five to ten years in Ashchurch working as a railways inspector. He was born in Worcestershire in about 1840 and spent the first and last part of his career in the Birmingham area (King's Norton and Aston) as a railway inspector, retired by 1911. He was living in Ashchurch, specifically Aston-on-Carrant in 1901, and two of his children were married there in 1905. On his son's marriage certificate he showed himself as an engineer. He died in King's Norton in 1912 at the age of 72.

John Brotheridge was another who spent just a short time in Ashchurch as part of an early career working in various places, a sub-inspector throughout. He was a Gloucestershire man, born in Tirley in 1857 and in 1881 he was lodging in Birmingham, working as a gardener. By 1891 he had moved to Ashchurch, now working as a railways sub-inspector, married and with a child. Children were born in 1892 and 1894 before the family moved to an address in Tewkesbury. In 1901 they were in Kettering and ten years later in Melton Mowbray, John still a sub-inspector with the railways. He is then lost until his death in Melton Mowbray in 1936 at the age of 79. Two, possibly all three of John's sons served in World War 1. Austin and Leonard had both followed their father into railway employment, clerk and joiner respectively. They were both soldiers soon after war broke out, either as Territorials or early volunteers, and were serving in France with the Bedfordshire Regiment by the end of 1914. John later lost his life in action. A third son Raymond could be the man of that name who served in the infantry at home, then the Royal Flying Corps, later the RAF, abroad. Details here

William Rossell came to Ashchurch from elsewhere and settled there. He spent the last part of his career in Ashchurch. He was born in Loughborough in 1863. In 1881 he was at his grandfather's in Luton on census night, working as a clerk for the Midland Railway. He then moved around, in Loughborough in 1891, Repton in 1901, in both places as a railway sub-inspector; this description was expanded to 'permanent way sub-inspector' on the first occasion. He was in Ashchurch by 1906, and here he stayed, living at 19 Newtown, until his death in 1922 at the age of 58. There were a number of children, at least three of which were living at home in Ashchurch in 1911 and working on the railway, Percy a railway painter and Leonard and Herbert railway labourers. At least the last two, and possible all, served in World War 1, Leonard and Herbert in the infantry as early volunteers. Leonard lost his life in action. Details here

George William Waite was briefly in Ashchurch in the 1930s. Little is known of him, but he may be the man of that name who was born in 1874 in the Meriden district of Warwickshire and who was at home at Harborne, Warks in 1881, his father a waggoner. Thereafter he is lost until his appearance in 1927 with his wife in Tewkesbury, where he remained until 1933, occupation unknown. He was then in Ashchurch for one year, at West View, otherwise the stationmaster's house, That year (1934) his daughter Beatrice Hilda died, he being reported in the newspaper as a permanent way inspector of the LMS Railway. He then moved to nearby Gotherington, where he was living at Station House, presumably a railway property, until at least 1939, now a retired Permanent Way Inspector. He died in 1958 in the Cheltenham area, which included Gotherington. He was 84.


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