If I’m yon haughty lordling slave. By nature’s law design. Why was an independent wish. E’er planted in my mind?

If not, why am I subject to. His cruelty or scorn? Or why has man the will and power. To make his Fellow mourn?

Robert Burns


 The Strike of the

London, Brighton, & South-Coast Railway.

Engine Drivers

Tuesday 26 March 1867

On Monday 25th, March, 1867 a deputation of the Engine Drivers and Firemen awaited upon the Directors at London Bridge 

Terminus, on the understanding come to between them on Friday week, that an adjournment of the determination of the men 

to leave the service of the Company, should take place for a week, in order to afford the board time to consider the whole 


The scale of wages proposed by the Directors to the Engine Drivers was an increasing one of 6d. per day, at intervals of 

twelve months to a maximum of 7s. 6d. per day at the end of two years’ service. The strong objection of the deputation was 

that the advance of wages proposed by the Directors was to take place every twelve months, at the option of the Locomotive 

Superintendent, and the feeling expressed by the men was that this arrangement would occasion be continuance of a 

grievance of which they professed to have complained, viz., that a system of favouritism would be pursued. We are informed 

that with the exception of the question of wages and the objection to power to be given to the Locomotive Superintendents, the 

other requisitions of the men were compiled with.

The interview between the men and the Board lasted above an hour. The Board declined to accede to the two disputed points, 

and the men refusing to withdraw them, they retired, stating that they should adhere to their notices for quitting the services of 

the company, and therefore would not work any of the trains of the Brighton line next day.

The Directors of the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway have addressed the following circular to the Engine Drivers 

in their employment:-

 “The Directors have carefully considered the memorial presented by the Enginemen and firemen with an anxious 

desire to arrive at a settlement of the question just and satisfactory to all parties, the proprietors, the men, and the 

public. From the verbal explanations which have taken place, the directors find that the men attach most importance 

to the number of hours constituting a day’s work or duty, and the Board are able to meet this request freely on the 

basis of 60 hours per week of six working days, all time beyond to be paid for at the rate of eight hours per week-day 

as proposed in the memorial. Arrangements will be made to obviate any ground of dissatisfaction as to the payment 

for extra time and the working out of detail. With reference to the scale of wages suggested by the memorial, the 

directors are glad to find that the main objection which they see to it is recognised by the older and more experienced 

of the drivers. It would be unjust and inexpedient that all should be placed on a footing of equality as regards pay, 

irrespective of experience and other qualifications which constitute a first-class driver as distinguished from an 

ordinary driver. Such, however, would be obviously be the effect of advancing all –even the least experienced and 

capable-to the maximum scale of pay at the end of a few months. Such a result would not be to the permanent interest 

of the men. At present, out of a staff of 191 enginemen, there are more than 100 whose minimum fixed pay is 7s per 

day and upwards, namely, 74 at 7s, and 35 at 7s 6d per day. The directors feel no difficulty in giving an assurance 

that the number of men receiving the maximum rate of wages will steadily increased. A corresponding number of 

firemen will be maintained at a rate of pay, and on terms generally at least as favourable as may prevail on any 

railway in the kingdom. As evidence of the desire manifested by the board to deal liberally with their men, this 

company has established and maintained without contributions from the men, a special fund to provide for the 

superannuation of incapacitated or old and faithful servants, at the credit of which fund there is now £22,853 

available for that purpose. An overcoat will be supplied to the men each year, and they will be allowed to retain the 

old one, as requested in the memorial. On all occasions when men are sent on duty rendering it necessary for them to 

reside from their homes, they will be paid two shillings and six-pence per day for their expenses, as requested in the 

memorial. As a rule engine drivers and firemen are to have nine hours clear off duty before being called upon again, 

as requested in the memorial. Time and half will continue to be allowed for all Sunday duty as requested in the 

memorial. It is the desire of the Board that any arrangement made shall not be just and mutually satisfactory now, but 

that it may be such as to maintain, permanently, the good relations which have subsisted between the Board and their 

staff without interruption for upwards of twenty years. To ensure this the Directors will quite ready to see any man 

who may feel dissatisfied; and as the public have a vital interest in the question, the directors are willing to leave to 

the settlement of a public board - say the Board of Trade – any question which from time to time they may be unable 

to adjust.” 

Walter B. Bartellot, Deputy Chairman.

London Bridge Terminus, S.E. March 21



  Enginemen's Reply

The engine drivers and firemen have sent the following

reply to the Directors.

The engine-driver and firemen employed on the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway respectfully 

acknowledge the receipt of proposals under to them by the Directors in answer to their memorial, and desire to 

tender them their hearty thanks for the consideration accorded to them.

They freely admit that proposals now offered would to some extent remove their present causes of compliant, and 

render their working more satisfactory to themselves, and s they believe, more beneficial to the Company.

They submit, however with all difference, that the proposals to fix the working on the basis of 60 hours a week of six 

working days, instead of ten hours of ten hours daily labour, is liable to many objections which, perhaps, did not 

occur to the directors. The engine-drivers and firemen look at the matter in this light: - Under the system of working 

by 60 hours a week, they may have to work 15 hours on one day and only five the next; or it might be possible to 

keep them on for 20 hours on one day, and allow them to be off the next. Now, they believe that the detriment to 

themselves and risk to the public is caused by that one day’s overwork, which cannot be compensated by shed 

restrictions from labour on the succeeding day. What they really desire is to work day by day, as nearly as possible, 

for ten hours, and, in cases where this must be expanded, that their over-time shall cause by this excess daily, and 

not by the excess over 60 hours weekly. It is not believed that there would any real difficulty in making such an 

arrangement, and as the Directors have an anxious desire to achieve at a just and satisfactory settlement of the 

question, their servants respectfully ask that the simple arrangement of ten hours a day should be adopted instead 

of 60 hours a week as proposed.

The engine-drivers would further say without reflecting at all on the management of the Brighton Railway, that 

there are other lines where the men have been induced to agree to a weekly basis of 72 hours in the belief that that 

would imply a daily labour of 12 hours, whereas some of them now running from 16 to 19 hours a day, and yet not 

exceeding the 72 hours a week. It is to prevent this very thing, and effect a permanent settlement of the question, 

that the men are so anxious to have their time defined by the day instead of week by week.

The Directors say that 'arrangements will be made to obviate any ground of dissatisfaction as to the payment extra 

time and the working out of detail.' If by this the directors mean that they will adhere, as much as possible, to ten 

hours a day, and that in rare case where it may be exceeded the excess shall be counted as overtime, let them say so 

in play words, and the difficulty is at an end.

The engine-drivers are disappointed that the Directors have taken no notice of the second and third points in 

memorial respecting mileage and shed days. The men attach great importance to the question of mileage, and they 

take the absence of any allusion to it by the Directors as an indication that they will be compelled to run as many 

miles as superintendents may think expedient.

In reference to the scale of wages the Directors say, 'It would be unjust and inexpedient that all should be placed 

on a footing of quality as regards pay, irrespective of experience and the other qualities which constitute a first 

class driver, as distinguished from an ordinary driver.'

In answer to this, the Engine Drivers would say, in the first place, they that no incompetent or inexperienced man 

should be employed to drive an engine. The safety of life and property, and the man's own safety, demand that he 

should not be trusted with such responsibility: but, having got a man thoroughly qualified, they think 7s 6d a day is 

not extravagant pay for him. If  there are men who have proved themselves of extra capacity, or higher attainments, 

the officials can always advance their position by committing to them the higher trusts, and by rendering their lot 

somewhat easier than others, or even some extra remuneration might in some way be awarded to such valuable 

servants. It is creditable to the 'older and more experienced' drivers of the Company that they were unanimous in 

agreeing to a memorial for a scale of wages which would not benefit themselves, expect by insuring that, while they 

were careful and attentive to their own duties on the road, they had drivers, both before and behind them, who were 

careful and competent.

The Engine Drivers are glad to hear that “The Company has established and maintained, without contributions 

from the men, a fund to provide for the superannuation of incapacitated or old faithful servants,” which now 

amounts to £22,853, but they must say that this is the first time they ever heard of it.

The Engine-Drivers and Firemen have to thank the Board respectfully for conceding so freely all the other points in 

the memorial, especially for the assurance that they will be quite ready to see any man who may feel dissatisfied, 

and they hope they will be equally generous in reconsidering the of the hours and the wages in which, perhaps the 

difference may be more apparent than real. They regret however, to say, that as the case at present stands, the 

omission of any allusion to the mileage and shed days, and the proposal of the directors on hours and wages are 

not at all satisfactory, and they cannot consent to work under them.

Signed on behalf of the Deputation, James Thompson

Tooley Steet March 23.


 Negotiations between the engine drivers and the directors of the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway have not been 

successful. The men struck on Monday, and the Directors have issued notices that the timetables of the line must be held in 

abeyance, and that fewer trains will be run until men are secured. 

The Directors have issued the following account of the breaking off of the negotiations:-

 “The Directors were not without hope that the reply which they had given to memorial presented by the enginemen 

and firemen would have solved the pending difficulty, but they must now inform the public that the majority of the 

enginemen and firemen constituting the staff of this railway have notified their intention of retiring from the service 

unless their demands are satisfied.

At a further interview to-day satisfactory explanations took place, and an agreement was come to as regards Shed 

Day, Sunday Work, the number of miles to be run as constituting a day’s work, amounting in the aggregate to not 

more than 750 miles per week – all beyond that number to be counted, and paid for as extra. The board also, though 

deeming the demand unreasonable, and not for the permanent interest of the men, conceded that each day should be 

counted as ten hours, instead of as a tenth of sixty hours; although, in practice, the day’s work is limited very 

frequently to less than five hours.

The rate of wages paid by this Company is so liberal that no permanent loss will result in conceding the scale asked. 

The directors were therefore willing that the minimum pay of drivers should be 6s., progressing towards to 7s. 6d 

per day; and the minimum pay of Firemen 3s. 6d,. advancing to 4s. 6d. per day. But the demand that all Engine –

drivers and Firemen shall be advanced to the maximum scale of wages after a few months of service, without 

reference to their ability, is so wrong in principle that the board cannot reconcile it with sense of duty to consent to 

such demand.

Should the Engine-Drivers and Firemen act on their notices and retire, the directors will at once reduce the number 

of trains and the present speed, so as not to exceed in any case of a maximum of twenty miles per hour; and they will 

make available all the resource and means at their disposal for safely working as many trains as practicable and 

will not spare the exertion to replace staff at the earliest possible period.

By order

Allen Sarle Acting Secretary,

London Bridge Terminus, March 25, 1867.


 At Brighton during Monday night Mr. Craven, the locomotive superintendent; Mr. Molineaux, his assistant; Mr. M.G. Denvill, 

assistant traffice manager; Mr Webley, the station superintendent, with their chief clerks and subordinates, were either 

travelling, working, or telegraphing all over the system in order to provide against the contingency.

Notwithstanding the anxiety shown by the Directors of the Railway to meet the demands of their Enginemen and Firemen, the 

latter remained unsatisfied, and the following announcement was issued on Monday night :-


The public are respectfully informed that, in consequence of the strike of a large number of Engine Drivers and 

Firemen, with the time tables must considered as in abeyance. The utmost possible endevours will be made to carry 

passengers to their respective destinations, but a large number of trains must be taken off, and the speed of those 

run materially diminished.

By order, A. Sarle, Acting Secretary.

Secretary’s Office, London Bridge, March 25, 1867.

The threatened Strike of the Engine-drivers on the Brighton Railway began on the morning of Tuesday 26th March, and never 

since the famous cab strike in 1853 has such great sudden inconvenience been inflicted on the public. The Brighton line is 

above all others a line for the accommodation of London people. Brighton itself - London - Super - Mare, as it has been 

called-is maintained chiefly by the people who are connected by business with London, and who come up daily, or several 

times a week. The stoppage of the traffic on a week-day morning throws out of order the arrangements of a large and 

important body of London men. All along the line, too, as far at least as Reigate, the holders of season’s tickets take the train 

for London every morning, and return to their homes at a fixed hour in the evening. All these found yesterday that their 

conveyance failed them and though the Company did its best to supply the place of the absent drivers, the traffic was almost 

suspended, not only with Brighton, but with places which depend for their communication with London on the Brighton line, 

as far as Hastings on the one side, and Portsmouth on the other side.

On Tuesday morning great confusion and considerable excitement prevailed on Tuesday at London Bridge, Victoria and the 

other stations of the Company, and as the public generally were not aware of that fact, many disappointments to passengers 

were experienced, particular to the disappointment of hundreds of “lovers of the turf” who were anxious to be present at the 

first day Epsom Spring Meeting, who intended to go down from London Bridge or Victoria by train, was expressed with such 

freedom and vigour as sorely to test the patience of the officials who remained at their posts.

On being made acquainted with the determination of the Enginemen the Directors made application for assistance in their 

difficulty, to the managers of other lines; but as might be expected, very few could be subtracted from their own staff of 

drivers, who must be skilled in their business and possessed of considerable intelligence and power of observation. Under 

these circumstances it was resolved to make a reduction in the number of trains, and the limit their speed to twenty miles per 

hour. The trains were driven by travelling railway inspectors and by foremen of works, accompanied by competent men on the 

engines who thoroughly understood the signals. In some cases on the main line two or three ordinary trains were made into 

one, but not exceeding 18 or 20 carriages in the whole on an average; and "short service" trains so called, were worked 

between Victoria and West Croydon on the one hand, and between the Crystal Palace and London Bridge on the other. In this 

way the directors adapted themselves to the inconvenience to which they had been thus suddenly subjected, with all the 

attendant loss. in the meantime all the ordinary time-tables were in abeyance, and the season ticket holders, on the principal 

lines especially, were being seriously incommoded. the six o'clock train from London got away in good time considering all 

the circumstances which impeded any approach to regularity, but the train which should have started from London at 8 did 

not move from the Terminus till after 10. On the South London line only one engine employed, and the traffic to and from 

Crystal Palace was almost entirely suspended. The hundreds of city gentlemen residing in the suburbs, and who ordinary avail 

themselves of this railway to come up to town, were of course put to inconvience, and altogether the event was attended by an 

immense, amount of excitement and loss of tile and business. All the available  foremen were put in charge of the trains, and 

every exertion was made by the Directors and managers to obviate the almost insurmountable difficulties in which they found 

themselves entangled.

The majority of the Drivers and Firemen remained firm to their notices, for it was found that only two drivers out of the whole 

number had accepted the terms of the directors. One old man, Driver of No. 73, who had been with the company from it’s 

opening day, refused to strike, and was called upon to run some of the most important trains, for which purpose one of the 

more modem and powerful engines was prepared; but he would not abandon his own locomotive, and kept No. 73 throughout, 

although she was comparatively old and second-rate. On the South London line (then opened only from London Bridge to 

Brixton), Driver A. Turner and a cleaner from New Cross Sheds, manned engine, No. 51, and were working the whole duty of 

the branch line. 

Only two drivers remained at work, but by supplementing these by locomotive foremen and shed-men, together with a few 

station-masters and inspectors who had had locomotive experience, eighteen engines were kept in service the first day and a 

considerable proportion of the traffic dealt with, and addition to those two, there were some six to eight trains being driven by 

the under firemen and the locomotive superintendentsThe Enginemen who are in work say that the same feeling is 

experienced at the London end, particularly in the case of the Croydon trains. The men who are now working the trains are 

old and experience drivers, who had been promoted from driving to act as “Foremen” at junctions and other important posts. 

In ordinary work they supervise the general body of drivers, but as their occupation is gone in this report for the present, they 

are put to their old calling till the emergency passes over.

The traffic on the branches was more disorganised than the main line. In some case horses were employed to draw the trains, 

in others omnibuses and coaches bring passengers to the junctions. The number of trains run throughout the day was much 

less than usual, and these proceeded at very slow rate. On several of the branches the service was wholly discontinued, 

causing much inconvenience to the public. The public feeling has so far, been unanimously against the step so suddenly taken 

by the Engine men, and delay and inconveniences have been borne in the best possible spirit. 

 The Directors met on the Tuesday afternoon and passed resolutions, embodied in the following notice, which was promptly 


The Directors met on the Tuesday afternoon and 

passed resolutions, embodied in the following 

notice, which was promptly issued

The circular above is from the London, Brighton 

and South Coast Railway in which shows the 

railway employers’ hard-line attitude clear: 

“The directors are in principle opposed to 

combination for any description for the purpose of 

interfering with the natural course of trade. They 

think that masters and men [note the view of 

railway workers as servants - in those days, “men” 

could mean “servants”] should be left in every 

establishment to settle their own terms, and 

arrange their own differences without foreign [a 

word implying that trade unions are un-British] 

interference or dictation.” 

The pamphlet explains the strict discipline that 

existed on the railways, with dismissal, 

blacklisting, eviction from railway cottages and 

“ultimate resort to the dreaded workhouse” in 

store for anyone who attempted to form a union.

Extract from an article

by Liam Physick 

on the Edgehill station website


The Enginemen and Firemen wanted improvements or changes in a number of ways, most of which were accepted by the 

company, but two of which formed the main stumbling blocks and were the cause of the strike.

The first of these concerns hours of work, the men wanting to have a 10 hour day for 6 days, whereas the company wanted 

them to have a minimum 60 hour week.

The second point at issue was that the L.B. & S.C.R. wished to continue with the principle of advancing wages with seniority 

and experience in the separate grades of Enginemen and Firemen whereas the men wanted to have uniformed system not 

dependent on seniority or experience.


Below the engraving at Balcombe station, which reads

W. F. C.

The Strike of the

L. B. S. C. R.

Engine Drivers

Tuesday 26 March 1867



   The Brighton Gazzette

Thursday 28th March 1867

Era thus comments on the ‘Situation’


Among the quibbles and quarrels, the deputations and strikes, which take place between master and man, there is 

not one that so intimately and immediately affects the public as the present dispute between the engine drivers on 

the various Railways and the Companies which employ them. Affecting, as it would do, the whole social traffic of 

the kingdom, should a strike take place among the engine drivers and their subordinates, the firemen, the question 

of their grievances is, as we have just said, one of public interest, and more than that, one of public sympathy. What 

traveller who had a heart or a fellow feeling ever reached his terminus on a bitter cold night, after hours passed in 

the face of cutting wind or sleet, but has felt how much he owed to the man who, in the face of such discomfort, had 

brought him safely to his destination, and how gladly, if the regulations admitted of it, he would show that feeling 

by a gratuity. With sentiments like these, shared in by thousands of the public, the appeal of the engine drivers is 

sure to receive from us our warmest sympathy and support, for all working men who consider the locomotive 

engine drivers as the men who should be paid the highest wages, and their hours of labour confined to the lowest 

number consistent with physical endurance, and honesty to their employers. It ought to have been a point to the 

credit and honour of every Railway in the kingdom to keep their engine drivers so well paid that the public should 

be never startled by the knowledge that some of the oldest hands on the line had seceded for want of higher pay. It 

is a frightful thing only to imagine that many of the accidents which have occurred on railways have resulted from 

the substitution of an ignorant for an experienced engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may 

have been eventuated in a collision, and the death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear 

that this temporary feud between the various Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought 

to an amicable conclusion without that resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, 

Brighton, and south-coast, who employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal 

manner, to the demands of their servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country,an experienced 

engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may have been eventuated in a collision, and the 

death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear that this temporary feud between the various 

Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought to an amicable conclusion without that 

resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, Brighton, and south-coast, who 

employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal manner, to the demands of their 

servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country, if peace and harmony is restored, an 

experienced engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may have been eventuated in a collision, 

and the death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear that this temporary feud between the 

various Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought to an amicable conclusion without 

that resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, Brighton, and south-coast, who 

employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal manner, to the demands of their 

servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country, if peace and harmony is restored, we may surely 

hope that other Companies will follow suit, and end this vexed question in peace.


Tuesday evening a handbill was circulated offering permanent situations and liberal pay to the experience men. The directors 

issued a notice stating: 

“That, believing a large majority of those who are still out will (upon reflection) regret having pushed matters to such an 

extremity; they are willing to receive back into service any of the old hands who may re-join it not later than Thursday next.”





All Brighton trains were regularly despatched during day, except four the eight a.m., the ten a.m. the four p.m. and the seven 

p.m. it said that plenty of men are ready to come in, that some have already come up from Liverpool and other places and that 

the men on strike will not hold out long.

Late on Tuesday some of the Brighton enginemen showed signs of giving way, and some had misgivings as to the policy of the 

course they had adopted. Verbal communications were opened with some of the Company's officials, and it was suggested a 

mediation should be effected. It was, however, pointed out to the men that extreme step they had taken and the granting of all 

their demands, save the condition pointed out rendered any course but one out of the question.  The London men were not, 

however, disposed to give in so easily and an equal vote was the result. Under these circumstances the Brighton men came to 

the determination of acting for themselves. At a late hour on Tuesday night they forwarded a request that Mr. Craven the 

Locomotive superintendent, would meet them at their Brighton Committee room. The meeting between the Brighton Delegates 

and Mr. Craven  with a view to resolve for themselves and Mr. Craven consented, and he was accompanied by Mr. Pickering, 

(who has for many years been connected with railway affairs).

All the men's demands about pay and hours and overtime, which indeed would be reckoned moderate enough nowadays, were 

granted by the directors; but they would not consent to all men, clever or stupid, diligent or lazy, being put on an equality as 

regards pay; nor would they yield to another demand-that the men who remained loyal should be dismissed.

The Directors having granted all they could grant, the men were shown that it was left for them to waive the one point they 

where asked to concede. The subject was to canvassed in all its bearings, the advance of wages being regulated in the manner 

proposed by the Board, the deputation seemed impressed with this view, and on Wednesday morning the strike was at an end 

so far as the Brighton drivers were concerned, this decision being forthwith telegraphed to the London committee. 

It was exclusively the Brighton men who resumed work Wednesday morning. Provision had been made for bringing down the 

first London train (6 a.m.) from London by a Brighton driver and fireman; it arrived to time; and but little locomotive was felt 

throughout the day, all the main trains being in to time within a few minutes, and the requirements of the traffic were 

admirally met. It seems that the main line is worked principally by whose home is Brighton, out of eleven main lines trains per 

day, the Brighton men work eight. Every train was sent off from Brighton yesterday, punctual to time.

On Wednesday 27th, saw many applications to take the strikers' places were received from Wales and the North; some  400 to 

500 Belgium, France, and German engine-men were reported to be on their way to London, and one Belgian driver actually 

started work. This was more than the revolters had bargained for, and those south of Three Bridges accepted the proffered 


By noon on Wednesday 27th March, the verdict was “All right” all Brighton Hastings, Portsmouth and all branch lines as far 

as Three Bridges. We heard from London at 2 p.m.; at that time some of the old drivers had resumed work but all was going 

on well with the men that had been put on.


On Wednesday morning at London Bridge Terminus of the London and Brighton Railway, relative to the strike of the engine-

drivers and firemen, it was ascertained from Mr. Hawkins, the traffic manager, that the strike might be considered virtually at 

an end, inasmuch as all the Brighton men and those employed south of “Three Bridges,” had come in to work and all the 

main line trains were running the same as usual, as well as the Epsom ordinary trains, but not the extra race trains. 

Mr. Hawkins expresses great confidence in an application either to France or Belgium, where 400 or 500 experienced drivers 

might be had (he thinks) in the course of a fortnight. The vacancies are now all filled up, and the Locomotive Superintendent 

as under the necessity of declining the applications of number of good men who are now applying for situations. The number 

of applications from men employed on the Welsh lines have been unexpectedly large. This was more than the striking 

enginemen had bargained for, and this then made it hopeless for the London men to persist with the strike.

On the other hand, the Secretary of the Engine Drivers Committee states that only trains worked at present where those from 

Brighton; but those men had gone to work under a misapprehension and would to-day apply for an explanation from the 

directors, which, if not satisfactory, would induce the whole of them together with the others south of Three Bridges, to again 

leave. He states that none of the men from Epsom, Battersea, or New Cross had gone to work; and that no trains had started 

this morning from Epsom, and also that should the old hand not be taken on at the scale of wages advertised by the company 

this morning, that all those now employed would again send in notices.

On Wednesday afternoon a deputation from the Committee of the engine–drivers on strike arrived at London Bridge, and were 

waiting upon a meeting with the Directors, with a view to the settlement of the question in dispute. There was also 

approximately thirty striking Enginemen, who also gathered at the station to show support to their Committee. After some 

discussion the men received assurance that they would have full opportunities of proving their claims to the highest rate of 

wages allowed by the company. On this promise the men have placed reliance, and consented to resume work. It was then 

hopeless for the London men to persist, and the whole of the London men have now gone back to work and the strike is really 

at an end. 


It was then hopeless for the London men to persist, and the strike fizzled out. 

During the strike there had been any accidents 

occurred, nor had there been any breakdownIt was fought with much forbearance and good temper, although attempts were 

made to stop two of the working locomotives 

by placing soft soap in their water tanks, 

the effect of which was to cause 

priming or bubbles in the gauge glass, and prevent the driver seeing the quality of water in the boiler of his engine, and one of 

the engines was stoned from a bridge near Brockley. 


On the morning of Thursday 28th March, 1867, The main lines between London, Brighton , Portsmouth and Hasting were 

running as normal and a full Suburban service  resumed (London, Croydon, & Epsom).

The Daily Telegraphed

28th March 1867

The public will hear with satisfaction that the strike on the London and Brighton Railway is at an end. The circular inserted 

elsewhere shows that all the engine-drivers and firemen have returned to their duty, and the traffic will now resume it wonted 

course. We announce this happy close of a painful dispute with special gratification, inasmuch as the resolution taken by the 

men is nearly in accordance with the suggestions we threw out yesterday. To a certain extent, the drivers and firemen have 

conceded that the point on which the directors stood firm. They have met the directors half-way, by leaving the right of 

promotion in the hands of the authorities, on the conditions that there shall be a right of appeal to the board. Their good sense 

has shown them that, since the directors exercise a public trust, and are responsible to the whole community, they must have a 

large and wide discretion in the appointment of servant



THURSDAY 28 March 1867


We have in other columns, given all the particulars it has been possible for us to gather, concerning the unfortunate 

collision between the railway company and the directors. This being so, we have but little space for comment. Nor. 

At present amount, do we deem it desirable that we should discuss the matter, and its bearings. Strife and ill-will 

have been evoked, and much hot blood remains to be cooled down, and our own feelings as to the injury likely to be 

inflicted on the town generally by the ill-advised action of these imprudent men are such that we prefer deferring 

discussion. At the moment we write dark clouds are again arising, and our fears are rife that the directors have but 

“scotched the snake; not kicked it.” However, the worst is past: there are some good men and true still found 

faithful to their old employers, aid is being furnished by other Companies, volunteers are offering themselves, and if 

these “wrong hand” persevere in their conduct, they will find it to their cost, when too late, their post occupied by 

some of the 400 or 500 men whom we hear Mr. Hawkins can in less than a fortnight procure from Belgium.

No more liberal management exist that the of the Brighton line; and the spirit of liberality has animated the 

directors in the present unfortunate controversy. They freely conceded nearly all the points put forward by the men, 

but the rock on which the disputants split was that of “equality” of wages, and this on a somewhat high scale. The 

men reject the directors’ proposition of distinction according to ability, alleging that thereby “favouritism” would 

be fostered. And it is on this essence of “unionism,” this “levelling” principle, that the “strike” has taken place. 

They contend that all men are equal ergo all engine drivers are equally skilful, there are no degrees of merit in 

engine driving, and all should be paid alike. Here we have Chartism rampant with a vengeance; and in the scene 

now enacting we have a foretaste of that Millennium which Messrs. Beales, Dickson, Bright, White, Fawcett and 

Co. are doing their best to hasten on, of that “people’s” rule tyranny the most intolerable shall bear away, the 

tyranny exercised by the lower orders by that Frankenstein which mob orators have created, reckless of the power it 

would processed and the injury it would perpetrate.

The engraving at Balcombe in October 2011.

Story as it, that a striking Engineman and his Fireman, sat at Balcombe station with their engine for the 24 hour stoppage,it is 

also believed that the Enginemen had thrown their fire out. A record of the 1867 was recorded by the Enginemen carving the 

date of the strike into the sandstone rocks at Balcombe.

Readng through various newspaper reports, there seems to be no mention of an engine being stuck at Balcombe for the 

duration of the strike. Therefore was this carving done a Enginemen, whilst on a ballast train at Balcombe? 

It is alleged that the Engineman & Fireman where suspended for this shameful acted.

It's hoped that one day we will find out more about the enginemen who done this engraving and the initals W.F.C.



 It is of interest to note that in 1867 a scheme for the amalgamation of the Brighton Railway with the South Eastern was 

debated with much acrimony and ultimately rejected by the former company's shareholders. 

After fifty-six years this fusion became a fact in 1923.





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