'Railway Work, Life & Death' project

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Welcome to the website for the Railway Work, Life and Death project, a joint initiative between the University of Portsmouth and the National Railway Museum (NRM). We're aiming to make it easier to find out about railway worker accidents in Britain between 1911 and 1915 - who was involved, what they were doing on the ...


What was it like to work on Britain and Ireland’s railways over 100 years ago? How were tens of thousands of employees injured or killed? Who were these people?

The ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’ project has been delving into these questions, creating an important new resource for anyone researching railway history, family history, labour history and many other topics.

On Transcription Tuesday we're working with the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick - which holds the RMT's records, back to pre-NUR days. Indeed, one of those volumes is what is in Transcription Tuesday. The aim is that people can, from home, download a page of the volume and will then work through it, transcribing details into an online spreadsheet we've put together. The volume covers accident enquiries and legal cases involving union members, 1901-1905. It details who was involved, what happened, what the impact was, and what, if any, arrangements were secured to help look after the worker or their family after an accident. The MRC have scanned the pages and we're making them available through Transcription Tuesday page on our website  along with full instructions & the spreadsheet into which the details are going.

What do we want? We're looking for people who are willing and able to do some (not all!) transcriptions on Tuesday 5 Feb. We're hopeful we can get through the whole volume (around 2150 cases we think!) in the day - it would be great if we did, as it'll tell us plenty more about the lives and accidents of union members at the start of the 20th century. We've had interest from around the world, and of course this work allows people to join in when they wouldn't normally be able to help.

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