Esoteric London

No. 384: Avenell Road, N5

Posted in Sport by esotericlondon on August 18, 2011

Avenell Road, London, N5. Photo © Sarah Ainslie 1997

London and Londoners in the Eighteen-Fifties and Sixties – Alfred Rosling Bennett, 1924:

I have referred to the refusal of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway directors, on the occasion of the strike of 1867, to concede the men’s demands that engine-men, once appointed, should obtain the maximum pay of their grade. The directors pointed out that that would place all, whatever their capacity, on the same level and ultimately be bad for the men themselves, and for that reason the demand was rejected.

But the maleficent concession was granted a few years back, and in 1922, at a discussion of experts at the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, it was declared that the evils foreseen have duly come to pass.

Most railway companies provide classes for the training, instruction and improvement of their engine-men, but it is now found that, since all must be treated alike, only a few care to attend them. One speaker said, “Since the new conditions of service came in, that in six years the men automatically attain the highest rate, they just sit tight until they get it.” Thus the duller obtains the highest pay and the cleverest can do no more. When the men get off their engines they want to go to football matches, not classes, and, what is perhaps worse, are not ashamed to say so.

[ The above photograph by guest photographer Sarah Ainslie is of home fans outside the old Arsenal Stadium in Highbury before the game with Everton in 1997. To see more of Sarah’s work from this series click here. R.D.]

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