Eleven Railway Workers
"I have a few
thoughts about this photo:
"The 1st, 2nd and 5th men in the back row are
dressed the same. They have double-breasted jackets, wear a watch (or
whistle) and chain and have caps with a coloured band, letters stitched
above this and two have leather satchels. I believe these are guards, the
satchels would carry their signal flags, timetables, etc. All guards would
require a watch or whistle handy, and If you
squint at the caps you could imagine that the letter reads "Guard", it's
generally the right shape of that word anyway. The
man on the far right has his jacket buttoned in a different style.
Maybe he's the most senior.
As to their collars, all three have the same
design with letters. Bearing in mind this is likely to be either a North
British Railway (NBR) or Caledonian Railway (CR) group, I believe it's the
I've found a picture of a CR Guard's collar
on this page of the
Story web site. It's
actually a female uniform - the
first female guard on the CR and dates from 1915 (a wartime employee).
What is clear though is her collar letters say "CR" and
then there's another symbol. It might be a number, a crest or
something like that.
I think you'll agree it matches the collars
on the three guards in the photo at the top of this
closely. The only legible images of possibly contemporary North British
uniforms I could find have 'NBR' embroidered on the collar in an italic
script and in a colour not too dissimilar to the coat; not clearly visible
A Victorian Photo
"Judging by the beards and uniform styles I think this is a Victorian
image, 1880s or 1890s? The facial hair might tell something else too.
3 'guards' all have moustaches,
1 has a close-cropped beard.
The most senior
The man centre-back has mutton chops.
I would imagine from his position
centre back, facial hair, smarter jacket (silk-covered, not metal buttons)
and silk tie with wing-tip colour that he may be the most senior. He also
appears to have more of a peak to his cap (or has it stiffened and pulled
down in a smarter style)."
"The two ticket collectors both have a narrow
band on their cap and bandsman-style jackets. The man to his front left
(without beard) has a similar shirt and collar.
On the front row, the man 3rd in (who looks spookily like Inspector
Clouseau in one of his bad disguises) and the man 5th in
(with the bushy beard)
wear different styles of uniform. Man 3 has some words on his collar, man
5 has a single-breasted, long policeman's style jacket. Bearing in mind
that the railways of these times had their own police forces, it's not too
much a leap of faith to imagine he could be a constable?
Signal Box Staff?
Man 1, Man 4 and Man 6 appear to be in the same style of uniform, shirt
and tie with an unmarked jacket. They appear to have collar and tie, and a
narrow band on the cap. It's possible that these 3 men in plainer uniforms
are footplate staff, cleaned up in their Sunday best? Or perhaps signal
box staff, who wouldn't be seen by passengers and therefore didn't need
such fancy uniforms.
I've probably offered more
'what ifs' than answers, but what I think
you have is a selection of Caledonian Railway staff, of different ranks
and functions, perhaps from a station but also including some crew from a
Meadowbank, Edinburgh: April 8, 2014