Mark Keefe brought a box of books into the shop the other day that I need to try and place with an antiquarian bookseller to raise money for SRC funds. Most of the stock seems to have belonged to a former member of the North Eastern Railway Association. There is some very interesting stuff in there including a bound volume of the 'LNER Magazine' from the 1930's.
Browsing through some original bound copies of the British Transport Commission minutes from the 1950's the listings of Commission members and officers attending board meetings caught my eye. There were around thirty individuals attending the fortnightly sessions and - well, no surprise here I suppose! - not a single woman in evidence anywhere. When it came to managing the nations publicly owned transportation system women might just as well have not existed in those distant times.
I found myself trying to remember if I could think of a single female member of staff along the Stainmore line anywhere back then. There were a few kind stationmaster's wives of course, and I am sure that in common with the rest of Britain during both World Wars there may have been female cleaners at Kirkby Stephen shed and a few female signalmen and porters. Does anyone know who they were? If we don't record there names now it will be history lost forever.
The only female staff that I can recall in the 1950's were the (two or three?) ladies that used to work in the refreshment room at the east end of Barnard Castle station building. I think that that there may also have been a lady who worked as a book-keeper or clerk in the big office at Barney station too. 'Women's Work' they would have said back then in that utterly different world.
Apart from that I fear that it was an 'all-male cast', a bit like the theatre in Shakespeare's day eh?