Thomas Green, Station Master 1842 - 1892

 

 

The following is based on an article written* for the 'South Western Circle', a magazine produced by a group especially interested in the London and South Western Railway (LSWR).

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Thomas Green was born in Michelmersh, Hampshire on 19th November 1842 to the parents of John and Sarah Green. This small village, just five mile north of Romsey, is surrounded by fields and most of the employment was to be found in agriculture. However, the railway was coming as was the  mechanisation of farming and so it became necessary to search for employment elsewhere; the railway provided great opportunities.

Thomas Green entered the service of the LSWR in May 1857 as a 16 year old apprentice at Andover, a small town in the north of Hampshire. His entry in the 'Clerical Staff Character Book' records that he had been recommended by Colonel Luan. Luan was a director of the railway company and as such recommendations by directors appear to have been a common way of securing clerical jobs on the LSWR . In the character column, Thomas is described as "All that can be desired - thoroughly efficient". He was paid 25 a year. But in May 1858 his salary was raised to 30, and in May 1859 to 35.

As an apprentice he would have been given a variety of jobs, and moved about fairly frequently to gain experience. In November 1859 he moved to Winchfield, then in May 1860 his salary was raised to 40. In February 1861 he appointed clerk at Southampton with a salary of 60 [an annual salary of 60]. The 1861 Census  shows him living as a boarder in a house in Marsh Lane, Southampton, at the age of 20, where his occupation is listed as 'Railway Clerk'. On 1st January 1863 his salary was raised to 70 and in April that year the rapid progression continued with a move to Havant at 80 per annum (p.a.). His record notes that September 1863 his salary was raised to 90.

He had done well and on 5 September 1864 a letter [see letter below] was sent to him from Archibald Scott - Traffic Manager at Waterloo. It read -

"Dear Sir

I am instructed to inform you that the Directors have ordered your salary to be increased to 100 a year as an expression of their satisfaction with the manner in which your duties are performed."

In February 1866 he was removed to Netley.

 

Thomas seems to have been keen to progress with his career, and on 13 September 1865, he received another letter from Archibald Scott. It read:

"Dear Sir   

I am aware of your wish to leave the Havant Station and have been anxious to arrange for you to do so: - there is however no station worthy of your acceptance on the Alton to Winchester line about to open and I've no prospect of any before the Netley Line is ready which will not be long. I note this, that you may know, that I am not overlooking you and think it best for you to wait for the Netley Station for which I will recommend you."

On 9th November 1865, Thomas married Jane Barnes (born 23 February 1843) at The Parish Church of St Mary's in Andover with the Rev C. H. Ridding conducting the ceremony. It is not clear how they met but it appears that she was presented with a book by the S.W.R [South Western Railway] "in remembrance of your [Jane's] wedding day - with best wishes for your future health, happiness, and prosperity".

 

Archibald Scott was true to his word and in February 1866, two months after his marriage, Thomas Green was given the Station Masters post at Netley at 110pa. Two years later Woolston was added to his responsibilities, for which he received the princely addition of 5 to his annual salary.

 

During his time at Netley he lived in the Station and two of his children, Frederick and Harry, were born there.

 

On 6 May 1869 Archibald Scott wrote a letter to Thomas, it read:

"Dear Sir

Do you feel inclined to come to London;- if so I could arrange an exchange by giving you Clapham Junction Station and moving Mr [illegible] to Netley."

Not surprisingly he accepted the post at Clapham Junction which would have been a substantial step up the ladder. He moved to Clapham in May 1869 at a salary of 125, plus an allowance of 30 for the rent of a house. Archibald Scott seems to have looked after Thomas very well. Thomas moved his family to Florence Villa in New Road, Battersea. Further pay rise were given to him: January 1872 - 130, 1st May 1874 - 150, 1st April 1876 - 160

 

 

Thomas was to stay at Clapham Junction for twenty years, where he made his mark. In February 1877 he received a special presentation from local businessmen, passengers, and staff. A collection was made which raised 120. After paying for expenses and the printing of an illuminated address 100 was left to present to Mr Green, an enormous sum at that time, when his annual salary was 160. A letter accompanying the illuminated address read as follows:

"To Mr Thomas Green

Dear Sir

A strong desire has been for some time manifested by a number of the inhabitants of Clapham Junction and the neighbourhood to testify in some suitable way their sense of the admirable manner in which you have discharged the numerous duties connected with the responsible office of Station Master during the time you have occupied that position.

 

In order to give effect to this very general expression of feeling, it was only necessary to make public the intention of your friends. Subscriptions came in most readily and cheerfully,  and we now have much pleasure in presenting you with a purse of 100 - as a token of the high opinion which the subscribers entertain of your personal character your invariable courtesy and constant attention to the requirements of the public, as well as those of the great Company you so worthily represent - wishing you and your family, health, happiness, and prosperity.

 

We remain, Dear Sir

On behalf of the subscribers,

Robert Davis, Chairman; Edward Spooner, Treasurer; Francis W. Green Secretary. Clapham Junction, February 1877."

In October 1877 he was appointed Superintendent of Queens Road Station with a further pay rise to 175 in October 1877.

 

One of his more unusual roles was as President of the Clapham Junction Brass Band.

 

The remainder of his family were born whilst he was at Clapham Junction: Edith, Ernest, Madeline, Maud,  and Ada. Sadly in 1879 during this period Edith (aged 9) and Maud (aged 3) died within a week of each other, but it is unclear what the cause was.

 

On 20 November 1889, the General Manager of the LSWR, Charles Scotter [see note at bottom], recommended various staff changes to the traffic committee including:-

"Mr T. Green, Station Master at Clapham Junction to be removed to Winchfield vice Leach deceased at a salary of 125 a year.

Mr T. P. King, Station Master at Weybridge to be transferred to Clapham Junction and his salary to be increased from 110 to 150 a year."

On the face of it this is a substantial demotion - to say nothing of the reduction in salary - for Thomas Green, but perhaps his health was already failing and Winchfield would be a far less demanding post. It is also hoped that he did not take too seriously the name of the house where  he now lived in Winchfield - 'The Wilderness'. Here, as at Clapham Junction, he won general respect and esteem. But on the 25 May 1892 the minutes of the Traffic Committee record:-

"The General Manager reported that Mr T. Green , Station Master at Winchfield has been on the sick list since 16th February last receiving his full pay up to the 28th April and half pay since that date and that he has appealed for the continuance of full pay. Half pay may be continued for three months from 28th April 1892."

He died on 3rd August 1892, aged just 52 years. His passing was marked with "much regret" in an article in the The South Western Gazette. His funeral, at Winchfield, was attended by both LSWR and LBSCR Station Masters from Clapham Junction  and a whole host of LSWR officials and others from the London area, as well as relatives and friends from Winchfield. (See the newspaper cuttings below.)

 

NB: LBSCR, The London Brighton and South Coast Railway, also ran through Clapham Junction so Thomas would have been well known by the staff on that side of the station.

 

Jane Green was now left with two of her children living at home, Madeline Bessie aged 18 and Ada Marion aged 9. Money was now in very short supply. On 28th September 1892 just over two months after Thomas' death his name came up again at the traffic committee meeting:-

"The death of Mr T. Green, Station Master at Winchfield was reported and a letter was submitted from the widow [Jane] asking for assistance from the company, she being left with two children unprovided for beyond the money repayable from the superannuation fund. 10 donation may be given to the widow."

The 10 would not have gone very far and the amount paid from the superannuation fund is not known, so Jane had to send the youngest child Ada Marion to the LSWR Railwaymen's Orphanage which at that time was at Clapham [it later moved to Woking]. Ada stayed there until she was 18 and then she appears in the 1901census as boarding in Winchester, Hampshire (link to the 1901 Census showing Ada as boarding in Winchester). The other daughter, Madeline Bessie Green appears in the Tooting Workhouse Census list of 1901 as a Dressmaker. Sadly Madeline died in Epsom in 1907 aged 27, apparently unmarried, and she is remembered on her mother's headstone (Jane's Headstone).

 

Thomas Green was buried in the churchyard at Winchfield, where today (July 2009) there is no trace of his grave. His wife Jane spent her latter years at The St John's Hospital, a home for the elderly in Winchester, until she died at the age of 94 in 1937, being buried in St James' Lane Cemetery, also in Winchester.

 

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The above  article appeared in Vol.13 No12 October 2006 of the South Western Circle.

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Further photographs of Thomas and Jane's family can be found via this link to Green Memorabilia.

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When Charles Scotter's wife, Mrs Annie Scotter, died he made a donation of 500, a considerable sum, to the Railwaymen's Orphanage where a ward was dedicated to her memory. She had displayed "constant generous sympathy with the work of the orphanage".

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The illuminated address is now in the hands of the National Railway Museum, York, and can be viewed there by prior arrangement with the curator.

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In the possession of the family is a mirror that Thomas used in his office at Clapham Junction and is reputed to have been used by Queen Victoria.

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Link to the website of the South Western Circle.

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Despite searching maps and directories of the time plus current local postmen, no record can be found of the Thomas Green's  house in Winchfield, - 'The Wilderness'.

 

Double click on the thumbnail (small image) in the photogallery below to see an enlargements of the photographs.

 

Winchfield Station C1860, where Thomas spent some time early in his career. Thomas is extreme left sitting on some luggage. (Ourgenes Archive)

Winchfield Railway Station September 2009. The track has been quadrupled, it is an unstaffed station, and not a horse in sight! (Ourgenes Archive)

Winchfield Station LSWR with the young Thomas Green sitting on the Platform Edge, circa 1861. (Ourgenes Archive)

A letter dated 13th Sept 1865, from Archibald Scott, letting Thomas know that his interests were being looked after. (Ourgenes Archive)

The letter, dated 5th Sept 1864, telling Thomas that his pay was to increase to 100 per year. (Ourgenes Archive)

A letter from the South Western Railway presenting Jane with a book to celebrate her wedding to Thomas, dated 8th Nov 1865. (Ourgenes Archive)

Netley Railway station about the time it opened, 1866. (Ourgenes Archive)

The invitation, dated 6th May 1869, to become Station Master of Clapham Junction in. (Ourgenes Archive)

A newspaper cutting announcing the death of two of Thomas and Jane's children. (Ourgenes Archive)

The illuminated scroll presented to Thomas Green in February 1877, now held in the National Railway Museum, York. (Ourgenes Archive via David Snow)

Thomas Green circa 1885 in his Station Master's uniform. (Ourgenes Archive)

Thomas Green with the station Staff in September 1889, three months before he moved to Winchfield. (Ourgenes Archive)

A newspaper cutting informing Clapham residents of the departure of their Station Master. (Ourgenes Archive)

The newspaper announcement of Thomas Green's death. (Ourgenes Archive)

Two of several archived newspaper cuttings of Thomas Green's funeral. (Ourgenes Archive)

Winchfield Parish Church where Thomas Green is buried, though the headstone has gone leaving the grave unmarked. (Ourgenes Archive)

A newspaper cutting recording the dedication of Mrs Scotter's ward at the Clapham Railwaymen's Orphanage. (Ourgenes Archive)

 

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