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LMSS Masthead

LMS Staff Records

Some Useful Pointers from the National Railway Museum

The staff at the National Railway Museum are always happy to point researchers in the right direction even if they don't hold relevant material within their own archive. Their guide 'How to trace your railway ancestor' which covers staff records as well as other resources such as railway staff magazines and union records may be downloaded here. Their website also covers this subject under 'Family History'.

Local record offices should also be tried, particularly but not exclusively, for pre-nationalisation companies. It has been found, for example, that some records for major railway works, such as Crewe, were deposited locally. The Discovery catalogue of The National Archive (NTA) is generally the best first step as this lists not only the Kew records but also those known to be held at other or local archives. This includes, where appropriate, reference to the National Records of Scotland archive (NRS) where, it has to be said, the catalogue does not give the level of information found in some other archive catalogues. It is possible that this effectively hides detail such as staff record material. A guide to and summary of railway staff records held at Kew can be found on the TNA website.

Whilst one would expect records for companies with an English head office to be held at Kew, it pays to search TNA Discovery catalogue for Scottish companies also. As an example, for the Caledonian Railway, TNA holds 2349 records whilst NRS appears to hold just 6. However, this may be a reflection of the depth of cataloguing at NRS where the entries are described as 'Top Level' only. An email to NRS may establish more detail on their holdings.

Returning to English / British companies, a quick search of the Discovery catalogue using the criteria of 'London Midland & Scottish Railway staff records' revealed 196 records held at 'other' archives whilst those held at NTA amounted to just 51. By clicking on 'Other Archives' from the left hand side of the TNA results page it is possible to further refine the search to individual archives. The Cheshire Archives holds a good portion of those records not held at Kew and includes staff registers for BR London Midland Region, LMS / LNWR, GWR and constituents in that area.

Whilst the NRM does not hold official staff records within its archive, there are some elements contained within various parts of the collection such as the Wolverton Archive. Page 7 of the Records of Wolverton Carriage & Wagon Works gives an indication of what can be found. Staff records fall mainly within archive reference WOLV 3/12. This document, which can also be found under 'Archive Lists' on the 'Research & Archive' – 'Catalogues' page of the NRM website, gives reference to other resources such as the Milton Keynes Local Studies Library which, amongst other railway related items, holds census records for Wolverton.

John Arthur, NRM Search Engine Assistant, March 2020

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