Author Topic: Rail travel - 1840s England  (Read 743 times)

Offline silicondale

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Rail travel - 1840s England
« on: Sunday 31 January 21 17:40 GMT (UK) »
The Willey family were manufacturing cutlers in Sheffield - and only Sheffield - until the 1840s. Father William, and sons Charles, Henry, and William worked as a partnership - but this was dissoved in 1844 after Henry moved to Liverpool in 1840-41, where he set up his own manufacturing workshop. William (son and later his father too) moved to London in the mid-1840s. Charles remained in Sheffield until retirement in the 1860s when he moved to Liverpool. Their sisters Mary and Ann seem to have travelled fairly freely between Sheffield, Liverpool, and London. We know also that Henry married a woman from Leicester - whom he met during a visit to London to attend the Great Exhibition in 1851 (we don't know if he or other members of the family were exhibitors).

All of this would seem to imply that the family were travelling quite freely - and fairly fast? - between Sheffield, Liverpool, London, and later Leicester. I think most likely they were travelling by train - but how easy was it ? In the 1840s most railways companies were small and operated on relatively short sections of track. When did direct train services start - especially between Liverpool and London and between Sheffield and London ? And how would anyone have travelled between Sheffield and Liverpool ? Would there have been through trains, or would they have had to change trains for such long trips?  I'm interested in the conditions they would have endured. Although running their own businesses, they may not have been able to afford first-class fares. Are there online sources of information to answer these questions? Maybe even surviving timetables?
Henley (Brighton 1820+, Bedfordshire pre-1840),  Vine, Button, Bradford, Bodle (Sussex), Willey (Sheffield, London), Nattriss (London), Wood, Jones, Blaker, Shrimpton (London), Dalby (London 1800+, E.Yorkshire pre-1810), Hillmann, von Thun (London and Hannover)

Offline KGarrad

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Re: Rail travel - 1840s England
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 31 January 21 18:47 GMT (UK) »
The London & North Western Railway was in operation between 1846 and 1922. It ran from Liverpool Lime Street.

It was preceded by the Grand Junction Railway (started 1838) between  Birmingham and Liverpool/Manchester) and the London & Birmingham Railway (started 1837).
So perfectly feasible in the late 1830s to travel between London and Liverpool.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline Rena

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Re: Rail travel - 1840s England
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 31 January 21 20:58 GMT (UK) »
I think your ancestors must have moved to the major ports because they had more export orders than orders from their own country.

I worked for a large engineering company in Hull, which had seven miles of docks/ports.    The company initially set up their business inland in the large town of Leeds in the 1800s and there was a connecting railway line between Leeds and Hull.  Despite the direct route of the railway line that didn't stop the company from moving to the dock vicinity where they  exported 87% of the goods they manufctured.
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Offline silicondale

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Re: Rail travel - 1840s England
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 31 January 21 22:32 GMT (UK) »
Many thanks, both!  The ports explanation makes a lot of sense. The father and son who moved to London set up two shops, one at 113 Ratcliff Highway, close to the Limehouse and Wapping docks, the other on Fish Street Hill in the City. William (junior) married Mary Dalby the daughter of a customs officer - although he had died some years earlier in 1839 the family clearly still had connections: one of Mary's brothers, Jasper Dalby became a railway policeman.

The Grand Junction and the London & Birmingham railways certainly would have provided the Liverpool connection. Sheffield may not have been so easy! But that could in itself be the explanation for members of the family moving out of Sheffield.

I checked the online list of exhibitors at the Great Exhbition - and although none of the Willey family were there, plenty of Sheffield cutlers were exibiting, and they almost certainly they would have known other exhibitors. Perhaps also would have manufactured items for them.
Henley (Brighton 1820+, Bedfordshire pre-1840),  Vine, Button, Bradford, Bodle (Sussex), Willey (Sheffield, London), Nattriss (London), Wood, Jones, Blaker, Shrimpton (London), Dalby (London 1800+, E.Yorkshire pre-1810), Hillmann, von Thun (London and Hannover)


Offline KGarrad

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Re: Rail travel - 1840s England
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 31 January 21 22:50 GMT (UK) »
Travel from Sheffield would have been n the Great Northern Railway, I think?
They had trains running from Sheffield in 1849, running into King's Cross.

So that was a possible route ;D
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline silicondale

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Re: Rail travel - 1840s England
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 31 January 21 23:10 GMT (UK) »
I think before Sheffield was linked (the hills made the engineering difficult), possibly they could have gone across to Doncaster to catch trains.

Is there some source that documents which lines were opened when ?

Henley (Brighton 1820+, Bedfordshire pre-1840),  Vine, Button, Bradford, Bodle (Sussex), Willey (Sheffield, London), Nattriss (London), Wood, Jones, Blaker, Shrimpton (London), Dalby (London 1800+, E.Yorkshire pre-1810), Hillmann, von Thun (London and Hannover)

Offline Rena

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Re: Rail travel - 1840s England
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 31 January 21 23:38 GMT (UK) »
I see in 1822  they even had a street, a square and a yard named after the family - and 200 years later,. there's currently a Willey Street.

https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Sheffield/Sheffield22Dry
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Offline silicondale

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Re: Rail travel - 1840s England
« Reply #7 on: Monday 01 February 21 08:46 GMT (UK) »
Hi Rena -

If the street etc were named after the family, sadly not our branch of it! There was also a William Wicker, licensed victualler in Wicker - not related, as far as we are aware. Our William Willey's works were in South Street, Button lane, and by the 1840s Chester Street, where he owned several cottages (as mentioned in his will in 1853).

Although born in 1789, he didn't complete his apprenticeship until 1831 - and when gaining his freedom he was awarded the trademark 'RAILWAY' which is another mystery we have to explain. He was three times an assistant of the cutlers Company in 1834, 1836, and 1838. Possibly considering his age he was conscripted into the army or navy in the Napoleonic wars, thus interrupting his apprenticeship, but so far I've found no evidence for this.
Henley (Brighton 1820+, Bedfordshire pre-1840),  Vine, Button, Bradford, Bodle (Sussex), Willey (Sheffield, London), Nattriss (London), Wood, Jones, Blaker, Shrimpton (London), Dalby (London 1800+, E.Yorkshire pre-1810), Hillmann, von Thun (London and Hannover)

Offline KGarrad

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Re: Rail travel - 1840s England
« Reply #8 on: Monday 01 February 21 09:08 GMT (UK) »
I think before Sheffield was linked (the hills made the engineering difficult), possibly they could have gone across to Doncaster to catch trains.

Is there some source that documents which lines were opened when ?

The Great Northern Railway opened, in 1848-1851, their "Towns Line".
This ran from Peterborough to Doncaster & Retford.
The London link was called King's Cross, but was actually at Maiden Lane.

On 8 August 1850 the first service from London to York started.
A through train to Edinburgh  was run on 2 September 1850, traveling via Peterborough, Boston, Lincoln, Retford, Doncaster, Knottingley, Milford Junction and York.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)