Author Topic: Was being a railway porter a good job?  (Read 4910 times)

Offline greenvalley

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Was being a railway porter a good job?
« on: Wednesday 21 August 13 10:26 BST (UK) »
One of my ancestors, James Baxter, was working as a Railway Porter in Dundee in 1851 and 1861 according to the census.

He also had a small grocery shop which he started around 1855.

I wonder if being a Railway Porter was a good job and whether or not it paid well. Would it have been better than working in one of the jute mills?

Does anyone have any ideas?

Greenvalley
ANDERSON: Moray & Jamaica
ELDER: Stirlingshire, Perthshire & Glasgow
WILSON: Glenisla, Alyth & Dundee
GRANT & ATKINSON:Northumberland
HARRIS: Dron and Glasgow
MATSON: Glasgow and Belfast
OLIVER, HARDY & GIBSON: Ireland, Antrim Belfast
TODD: England and Jamaica
McGRIGOR, McILCHONNEL: Perthshire

Offline mazi

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Re: Was being a railway porter a good job?
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 21 August 13 10:47 BST (UK) »
It would definitely not be well paid, but it was regarded as a steady secure job, much preferred to the boredom of life in the mill, the work was varied and plenty of fresh air and a degree of freedom from direct supervision, with always a possibility of promotion.

mike

Offline Mike in Cumbria

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Re: Was being a railway porter a good job?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 21 August 13 12:29 BST (UK) »
I'd agree with all of that. Two of my ancestors (from different families) started off as railway porters and later became station managers.

Offline greenvalley

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Re: Was being a railway porter a good job?
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 21 August 13 12:33 BST (UK) »
Thank you both

Much appreciated

Greenvalley
ANDERSON: Moray & Jamaica
ELDER: Stirlingshire, Perthshire & Glasgow
WILSON: Glenisla, Alyth & Dundee
GRANT & ATKINSON:Northumberland
HARRIS: Dron and Glasgow
MATSON: Glasgow and Belfast
OLIVER, HARDY & GIBSON: Ireland, Antrim Belfast
TODD: England and Jamaica
McGRIGOR, McILCHONNEL: Perthshire


Offline barryd

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Re: Was being a railway porter a good job?
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 21 August 13 13:17 BST (UK) »
Any job on the railway was a "good job". A start in life cleaning locomotives would one day have you driving them.

Offline lynne kathrine

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Re: Was being a railway porter a good job?
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 21 August 13 21:23 BST (UK) »
working in a Jute Mill was dirty and dangerous, furthermore I can imagine the problems with ear,eye and throat complaints not to mention a lot of people went deaf due to the persistent noise of the machinery ... 'Mill Fever' which was due to the heat, oil and dust would bring about disease such as bronchitis and respiratory problems.

both were very low paid ,however as said above railway porter could often be out in the fresh air and  there was the possibility of work improvement (starting at the bottom and working your way up so to speak). not only that one may if lucky receive tips from customers after helping with their luggage, therefore a railway porter was I would consider at the front line of customer service  :). travel by rail in 1855 a middle class thing to do....
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Offline ev

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Re: Was being a railway porter a good job?
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 22 August 13 08:32 BST (UK) »
Just to add -
Mill owners would often employ women and children on lower wages.
It is said that women outnumbered men by 3 to 1 in the mills , so employment for men may have been limited.

ev
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Offline greenvalley

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Re: Was being a railway porter a good job?
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 22 August 13 09:00 BST (UK) »
Thanks you all for the good advice.

I knew that the mills were bad, but didn't know about being a railway porter. As I said before, James Baxter and his wife also ran a small grocery store to supplement their income.

How much would a porter have earned per week? Does anyone know?

Greenvalley
ANDERSON: Moray & Jamaica
ELDER: Stirlingshire, Perthshire & Glasgow
WILSON: Glenisla, Alyth & Dundee
GRANT & ATKINSON:Northumberland
HARRIS: Dron and Glasgow
MATSON: Glasgow and Belfast
OLIVER, HARDY & GIBSON: Ireland, Antrim Belfast
TODD: England and Jamaica
McGRIGOR, McILCHONNEL: Perthshire

Offline Skoosh

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Re: Was being a railway porter a good job?
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 22 August 13 09:44 BST (UK) »
Dundee mill-workers song.

"Oh dear me the mill's gaun fest,
The poor wee shifters cannae get nae rest,
Shiftin bobbins, coorse aye an fine,
They fairly mak ye work fur yer ten & nine".

Per day, per week, ?

Skoosh