Railway Work, Life and Death
Discovering the lives of those hurt or killed while working on Britain and Ireland's railways a century ago
Working on Britain and Ireland’s railways a century ago was incredibly dangerous, and tens of thousands of employees were injured or killed in accidents at work.
The Railway Work, Life and Death research project aims to discover who these people were, what they were doing on the railways, and what happened to them.
In collaboration with The National Railway Museum and the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick, and working with the National Archives, researchers at the University of Portsmouth are making previously-underused accident reports more accessible. This is possible with the help of a team of volunteers, who have created a free database of railway worker accidents and deaths from the late 1880s to 1939.
We currently have data for around 50,000 individuals from the UK and Ireland and whether you’re a family historian, labour historian or railway enthusiast, you can search our database by name, location, date, employers, cause of accident and nature of injury.
You can read more about the project and download the database from our Railway Work, Life and Death microsite. You can also follow the project on Twitter, Facebook or through the National Railway Museum's blog.
About the project
In the first phase of the project, we extracted information from the following sources:
- Railway Inspectorate 1911-15
- Great Eastern Railway Company’s Benevolent Fund 1913-23
- Amalgamated Society of Railway Servant’s legal book 1901-5
In the second phase of the project, we're aiming to add a further 70,000 names, by using the following sources:
- State inspector report, 1921-39 at the National Railway Museum
- Railway company records, 1890s-1920s at the National Archives
- Trade Union records, c.1870s-1920s at the Modern Records Centre, Warwick University
Find out more
Read more about the projects we're working on, and those which we've recently completed – and find out how they're making a difference.
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