A search of the census shows that Thomas Whenham was born in Deeping in Lincolnshire in either 1848 or 1849. In 1871, the year he was in possession of the rule book, he was living in Crown Street in Peterborough, was married to Mary and had one daughter, Jane. Also residing with him were two lodgers; John Snell, an engine cleaner, and Charles P. Amos, a harness maker. I have to say that it is quite an odd feeling to know where Thomas lived and about his family. It makes the rule book, which has his handwriting all over the inside covers, a really tangible part of history, a part of someone's life, an object that has been used and read. It is a feeling I rarely get, as most of what I study in my PhD does not have a very human element. However, this item truly allows me to touch a piece of a Victorian railway worker's life, and that just makes me warm and fuzzy.
N.B. I will be digitising this item soon for distribution.