Remembering Quintinshill 100 years on

Today’s post is written by Andrew McLean, our Head Curator.

The devastating accident on the Caledonian Railway at Quintinshill near Gretna on 22 May 1915 is Britain’s greatest railway disaster.

At least 227 people were killed in a multiple crash exacerbated by a fire which engulfed the wreckage. The majority of deaths came from the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion the Royal Scots who were journeying to Liverpool to board a troop ship on its way to Gallipoli. Instead, the Battalion was decimated and barely a family in the historic port of Leith – from where the men had been recruited – was left untouched by the tragedy.

quintinshill-1

The Quintinshill accident of 1915 is still Britain’s worst railway disaster.

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Poetry in Motion: Verses and Odes from the archives

This post is written by our archive volunteers Jack Garside and Tania Parker

Whilst sorting through the National Railway Museum’s archive collections we came across this poem written about an unusual topic;  the start of construction on the Dee Bridge, near Connah’s Quay in Flintshire, on 16th August 1887.

It was written and also recited by the poet R.D. Roberts at a celebratory meal. The meal was attended by the leader of the opposition, William Ewart Gladstone, whose country house, New Hawarden Castle was located near the bridge. As well as commending the many benefits that the Dee Bridge would bring in terms of acting as a conduit for commerce and bringing together the nations of England and Wales, the poem also acclaims Edward Watkin, the chairman of the Manchester, Sheffield and  Lincolnshire Railway.

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A new home for cornerstone of Britain’s railway history

We have recently acquired a complete set of railway Parliamentary papers charting the official story of the birth of the railway network from 1837 up to the early 2oth century in 1906.

These Parliamentary papers are a vital piece in the jig-saw for anybody researching railway history; revealing the trials, tribulations, successes and failures of various lines, personages, innovations and legislation that led to the network we have today and the innovation that was exported around the world.

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Designing an interactive Rocket and a wall panel that makes sounds

Our new Little Play Station for under 5s is proving very popular with our youngest visitors. Creating the area was an exciting challenge and involved working with several external companies to bring our ideas to life. One of these companies was Paragon Creative.

Our previous collaboration, a large track building exercise, was a hit

Our previous collaboration, a large track building exercise, was a hit

We had worked with them in the past to create our popular ‘Build a railway track’ activity and so we approached them with two new ideas for the Little Play Station; a ‘Build Stephenson’s Rocket’ interactive and an interactive ‘trains wall panel’.

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Great War Railwaymen and the Sinking of the Aragon

This blog is written by Dr Robert Demaine, one of our archive volunteers who is researching railways and the First World War. This post continues the stories behind our updates to the fallen railway workers list.

The casualty lists published in railway company magazines during the First World War offer a wealth of fascinating detail which can often set the researcher on the trail of the stories behind the columns of names.

Take this example from the Great Central Railway Journal for March 1918:

Great Central Railway Journal for March 1918

Great Central Railway Journal for March 1918

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Stories from the Western Front: 1000 entries now updated on our list of fallen railwaymen

This blog is written by Harriet Steers, one of our archive volunteers who is researching railways and the First World War.

We recently started a project to enhance the NRM’s list of 20,000 railwaymen who died in the First World War. We have now updated the records of over 1100 men that served, providing more invaluable data for those that worked for the Great Central Railway (GCR) as well as the London and North Western Railway (LNWR).

Great Central Railway Journal, May 1917

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Capturing railway construction

This post is by Martha Cattell, who is currently undertaking a collaborative studentship with the National Railway Museum as part of a masters degree in the History of Art at the University of York.

The partnership offers me a unique opportunity to work within the museum environment and carry out a research project on an aspect of the National Railway Museum’s image collection.  I’m using a selection of nineteenth and early twentieth century photographic albums to consider how the construction of the railways is depicted in photographic form.  I’m also taking the opportunity to record details of individual images, and to analyse the albums in depth to help enrich their catalogue entries.

The museum has an extensive photographic collection, made up of around 1.75 million photographs. The subjects range from standard images of new locomotives to the more bizarre, such as stills of lost property at Paddington Station. These photographs, and particularly those depicting the construction of the railways, demonstrate the huge impact that train travel had on Victorian and Edwardian society, and many of the images have the potential for study for both their documentary and aesthetic values.

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