Ref NoWIN/034
CollectionWinstanley Oral History Collection
TitleMr. W. Clarke interviewed by Michael Winstanley
Name of creatorWinstanley, Michael
Duration1 hr. 08 min. 43 sec.
Extent1 sound tape reel
1 audio file Waveform Audio
DescriptionMr. W. Clarke, born 1877, interviewed in Faversham. His father was a ketch skipper, he came from a family of two boys and one girl. Mr.W.Clarke's first job was errand boy, then the rest of his life on the railway as an engine cleaner 1890-1.

Track 1 [1:08:43] W. Clarke [WC], born Faversham, 1887. Recalls father’s occupation as captain of a sailing ship; boat was likely not owned by a Faversham firm. [01:40] Discussion of first job as an errand boy for a drapers’ shop. Describes tasks performed as errand boy and poor pay. Mentions brother. Discusses occupations for girls. Mentions sister. [05:42] Discusses starting work at railway, remarks on lying about age to get work early. Describes waste cloths used to clean engines. Comments on how young people started as cleaners before becoming drivers. Mentions passing as a driver in 1904; describes pay and length of workday; enjoyed the work. Discusses formation of railway unions and strikes and differences compared to nowadays. [15:19] Discusses role as fireman, describes typical pattern of work and routes taken. Remarks how drivers started with goods before passenger trains. Comments on needing to pass doctors’ tests at the Company’s doctor at London Bridge or Ashford to be a driver. Remarks on providing own uniform and difficulties of washing them. Discusses eating and drinking at work; recalls The Railway Hotel and The George as pubs used by railway workers. Mentions how drivers and cleaners did not interact much off duty. Mentions how the Station Master was best paid and did not interact much with other workers. [24:23] Describes difficulties with fog causing delays. Mentions not experiencing any accidents. Story of receiving a medal at Charing Cross Hotel for excellent service. Mentions pensions. Mentions London, Chatham, and Dover railway as the main railway company; later combined with South Eastern. Mentions better conditions under South Eastern. [29:45] Describes recreational benefits with sporting clubs and concessionary travel. Mentions taking family for day trips. Mentions buying coal for home from merchants. [34:22] Remarks on moving from Church Street to Tanner Street. Mentions getting married in 1898. Story about moving to current house; lived in St. John’s Road but was told by landowner to move to Tanner Street despite being more expensive, moved after rent dropped in 1904. Mentions lots of homes to rent; cheapest areas were Westgate Road and Cyprus Road. Mentions school teachers living in area. Remarks on time taken for road to form to town. Mentions railway workers living across town. Discusses unemployment and brick makers being unable to work at winter. Mentions success of pawnbrokers; needed by people with low wages. [44:33] Discusses allotment and growing own vegetables; mentions keeping rabbits and chickens. Mentions wife shopping with children. Mentions struggling to save money for clothes and doctor. Discusses hop picking with family at Queen Court, Ospringe. Remarks on Michaelmas fair; mentions roundabouts and sale of clothes and farm tools. Mentions visiting Canterbury by train to look around shops. Mentions days out at Whitstable and Margate. Mentions family being working class and father struggling with unemployment. Remarks on people seeming happier in those days. [57:25] Mentions the Labour Party and unions. Remarks on election days with rivalry between Liberals and Tories; mentions railway workers mostly supporting Liberal, then Labour. Mentions wearing a rosette for the Liberal Party. Discussion of important people in Faversham before World War One; includes mayor, employers, schoolmasters, parsons, doctors. Remarks on workers travelling by train from Faversham; mentions paper mills in Canterbury. [1:04:10] Description of journey to London by train; mentions 4:45 Cannon Street train. Remarks on half-price workman’s ticket for trains before 8:00. Mentions carriage cleaners. Remarks on seasonal nature of brick working. Mentions railway transporting bricks and goods for shops. [1:08:43] Recording ends
NotesTranscript exists for this interview.
PhysicalDescription1 sound tape reel : analogue, 5 inch reel, 9,5 cm/sec, 2 track, mono
Waveform Audio
Related OrganisationUniversity of Kent
Related PlaceFaversham, Kent
Access filenameWIN-034-001A-A.mp3
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsAvailable for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU. Access is available via digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2024