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Messages - dtcoulson

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Durham / Re: a bit of railway history please
« on: Monday 14 January 19 21:13 GMT (UK)  »
So to summarise,

- long haul coach travel was phased out in the 1840s under competition from steamships & rail.

- steamers would be 12 shillings (saloon) or 8 shillings (deck) or free for work-your-passage.
Travel time about 24-26 hours.

- rail 12 shillings (ish), no cheap options. Travel time?

I see the advantages of taking the steamer
() one trip, essentially door to door, whereas a rail journey requires transfers.
() cheaper if you don't care for comfort.

Given average wages 17 shillings a week, journeys like these are easy for most people.

This changes my picture of the times.
Rather than a journey to London being a major, once-in-a-lifetime investment,
it could be a weekend trip to do shopping and see friends, and had been so from
about 1870 onwards.

My ancestors from this period could have gone up and down the country frequently.


Durham / Re: a bit of railway history please
« on: Monday 14 January 19 09:40 GMT (UK)  »
anyone know what the ship journey would cost?

Durham / Re: a bit of railway history please
« on: Monday 14 January 19 09:40 GMT (UK)  »
Would it be unreasonable to estimate the situation as follows?

Assume general labourer's income close to 15 shillings a week. (probably a bit generous)
(fitting a value between job incomes in the late 1800s found here and there on the net)

Assume further that someone might be able to save 5% of what they earn.

That would be 9 pennies a week (sounds shocking).

275 pennies matching 275 miles of rail journey would be the equivalent of
30 weeks' saving.

I don't expect that things would genuinely go this way.
Someone would borrow money from family or inherit some windfall and
then consider a long journey, rather than scrimp and save.
But the analysis gives an insight into the size of the challenge
to someone on a low income who wants to travel to another city to find work.
This doesn't even take into consideration food and lodgings upon arrival.


Durham / Re: a bit of railway history please
« on: Monday 14 January 19 09:25 GMT (UK)  »
Just found this online:

A Mason might earn 29 shillings a week and a carpenter twenty-five.
Overall, in the middle years of the 1880s,
the average annual wage for workers in England, 46/12/-
was greater than the average wage in Scotland or Ireland


Durham / Re: a bit of railway history please
« on: Monday 14 January 19 09:06 GMT (UK)  »
Thank you, Jen.

I never thought of sea journeys and it does make sense.
And if your ancestor could do it regularly in the 1890s then it
should be economical. I might have to rewrite my book a little.

Stan... am thinking that a penny a mile sounds great for short journeys
within one's own region but when scaled up to the 275+ miles between
Newcastle and London it sounds pretty expensive for people paid in pennies per day.

How much did a typical Newcastle factory worker earn in 1880?


Durham / Re: a bit of railway history please
« on: Monday 14 January 19 01:08 GMT (UK)  »
Thanks, Stan

skimming the pages you listed it looks as though the most active years of development were the 1840s and that all the rail companies had merged or at least connected lines by 1860. Furthermore the vast number of travelers per year in the 1850s implies that even the lower paid members of society were travelling around by train.

So it's a safe bet that the boys who headed to London from South Shields in the 1880s did so by train? And that it was not a major investment?

Furthermore it sounds safe to suppose that the old fellow born in 1838 could afford to do a few train journeys himself around the region, say by the 1860s?  He would have been in his twenties.

I notice also the growth of telegraphy in the 1840s, so that the boys in London in the 1880s could easily have telegraphed their dad to tell him how things were progressing.


Durham / a bit of railway history please
« on: Sunday 13 January 19 21:52 GMT (UK)  »
Hi people,

I'm trying to write a short investigation into the life of an ancestor who lived in South Shields / Newcastle from 1838 to 1904. I want to know how his life would have been influenced by the radical changes in railway technology between these years.

For example, can anyone tell me when Newcastle's local rail network joined with other networks to the south and made it possible to travel all the way to London? How did it compare with coach services of the time?

In part, my question relates to his sons who migrated south to London and Wales in the 1880s.
How affordable was long distance travel to the working class back then? Am I right in guessing that long distance travel was still very costly in the 1880s, rather like long-haul air travel today? In that case, did working class people frequently scoot around to explore the country by rail or was it something you did once in a lifetime, at great cost?

Any insights welcome
-David C

Australia / Re: William Woodham again - new development
« on: Thursday 10 January 19 23:37 GMT (UK)  »
Thanks for the documents, Matthew.
Feels like I know the fellow quite well now.
Even know what he looked like!


Australia / Re: William Woodham again - new development
« on: Thursday 10 January 19 22:54 GMT (UK)  »
William Warren signs the marriage register in 1843 with 'his X mark' and I'll check again but I'm fairly sure his convict record says he can read and write - so I'm doubtful about this being the right William

Add: His indent does list him as being able to read and write

Quite right. Some of us discussed this off forum and noted that the William Woodham who
married in the UK in 1828 (before transportation) also signed with an X,
implying he could not write. So there is contradicting evidence over his literacy.

If the William Warren that married in 1843 is not our William Wadham using a false name,
we then have to ask why this man would give the surname Wadham to his children.


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