Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Duties of Gate-keepers - 1848

I write this from inside The National Archives. Gosh, I love it here. Anyway, I have decided to take a day to work here on some things that simply interest me. As many of you are aware, I have a fervent interest in rule books. Currently in front on me is the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway's 1848 'Regulations to be observed by the company's servants employed in the Executive Department.' I could have chosen a vast number of instructions to quote, but I chose those pertaining to gate-keepers, as  they were pretty concise and summed up the job well.

96. Each gateman will be provided with Day and Night Signals, which he must keep in proper order, and always in readiness for use.
97. The gates to be always kept shut across the road, except when required to be opened to allow the Railway to be crossed.
98. Whenever the Railway is required to be crossed, the Gateman shall, before opening the Gate, satisfy himself that the Train is not in sight, he shall then show his Stop Signal, and in all cases allow it to remain until the Railway is properly clear; he must then close the Gates and alter the Signal.

5 comments:

  1. Those rules were taken pretty seriously by the courts, too! R v Pittwood (1902), still an authority in criminal law, concerns a gate-keeper on the Somerset & Dorset Railway. He was convicted of manslaughter when his failure to close the gates caused a fatal accident.

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    1. That's most useful info Caroline - Thanks. Have you a link to a transcript of the case?

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  2. This is the fullest extract I can find online: http://tinyurl.com/7lp6aej (at result 2 of2). He was sentenced to three weeks' imprisonment.

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  3. Actually, the full report is online, here: http://tinyurl.com/ccybkqk
    It will be much more useful to you as it has fuller facts than the extract.

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    1. Thanks Caroline - That's fantastic. :)

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