Monday, 15 August 2016

Musical Connections

Glenn Miller's "Don't sit under the apple tree" and "The Tenessee Waltz" are well-known pieces of American popular music.  But why - and how - are they connected to the Liverpool & Manchester Railway?

The answer is their composer: Thomas Haynes Bayly, 1797-1839

One of his most popular songs was "Long, Long Ago" writtend  in 1833 but only published posthumously, in the United States, in 1844 where it became incredibly popular.

The tune - sped and jazzed up a little - is that for "Don't sit under the Apple Tree" popularised by Glenn Miller in 1942.

But how does Glenn Miller and  popular early nineteenth century song-writer relate to the Liverpool & Manchester?

MUSIC. Of course!

From documentary evidence we know that there was a trumpeter or 'bugleman' who sent off every train from Liverpool Road Station, Manchester with the strains of "I'd be a butterfly", written by Bayly in 1828 and  one of the most popular songs of its day.

Writing in 1836 Edward Herapath, however, described the sending out of trains as akin to 'a few cracked notes from an old broken down cavalry trumpet". Not very flattering.

But here's what the song sounded like. Enjoy.

Friday, 12 August 2016

When is a Rocket not a Rocket?

In September 1884, the professional journal "The Engineer" published  the above sketch by James Nasmyth (of Steam Hammer fame) which he had drawn fifty-four years earlier at the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, resulting in a flurry of correspondance that, in fact, there had been not one but two Rockets

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Rules and Regulations

Anthony is pleased to announce his facsimile version of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway "Rules and Regulations March 1839" are now available  Here

These rules were the product of eight years of operating the world's first inter-city railway - lessons learned often the hard way, and sadly, fatally. They were the basis of the rules and regulations approved by the 'General Railway Conference' held in Birmingham in January 1841, and approved for use nationally in the first attempt to standardise signaling and safety protocals on the burgeoning railways of Britain. Their influence can also be seen in railway regulations in France.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016


What was it like to work on the early railways? How safe were they? Presented here are excerpts from the LNWR Regulations of 1847.

At a Meeting of the Board of Directors held on the 11th of September, 1847, it was

That the following code of Rules and Regulations be, and the same is hereby approved and adopted for the guidance and instruction of the Officers and Men in the service of the London and North-Western Railway Company, and that all former Rules and Regulations inconsistent with the same be cancelled.

That every person in the service do keep a copy of these Regulations on his person while on duty under a penalty of five shillings for neglect of the same.
By order of the Board of Directors.
                 General Manager,
     London and North Western Railway.

Choo Choo Trains

On my way into Manchester this morning - basking in the luxuary of a 142 ('Pacer') DMU - a mother and her twin, very excited, 4 year old daughters were making the same journey to visit MOSI. Every time they saw another train, all three mimed the act of pulling a whistle chain and loudly "Choo-Chooed". This, in itself, reminds us of the potency of the Steam Locomotive - but trains in Britain have not got "Choo Choo" since 1968 - but yet it remains the "classic sound" of a train. But... 'twas not always thus ...

Coming soon to all good bookshops

 Anthony is pleased to announced his first book for Amberley Publishing Ltd will be published in time to mark the 186th Anniversary of the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, 15 September 2016.

Buy it here


Hello, and welcome to the blog of Railway Historian Anthony Dawson. Here he hopes to share some of my historical findings of the pioneering years of the Railways in Britain, c1830-1855.

Anthony was born in Wakefield in 1980; his parents owned shares in an '8F' - when house-hunting it is rumoured his father wanted a property with a drive sufficiently large to put it on. His mum, obviously, refused. He is a graduate of the University of Bradford (B.Sc Hons, Archaeology) and Leeds (M.Res, History). He had worked for Tameside Museum Services and for a period taught Local History and Archaeology at Salford City College. He puts his enthusiasm for early railways into good pracitce as a volunteer on the Steam Railway at the Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester as a Trainee Fireman working on the replica 'Planet' 2-2-0 locomotive, based at the world's first Passenger Railway Station.