An article by Clive White, Senior Reporter in the the Craven Herald & Pioneer talks about the publication of the book “Railway People of Skipton” is tinged with sadness. It was written by brothers Tom and Malcolm Jarvis but Malcolm never lived to see it go on sale, dying on November 14, last year, his 70th birthday.
The brothers’ book is an impressive piece of work and testament to their ambition to identify all the men and women who worked at Skipton engine shed in the time they were employed there.
Seventy-four-year-old Tom, who lives in Colne, is delighted to see the book eventually in print.”But I’m sad as well,” he said. “I signed a few copies and felt that Malcolm should have been there to sign them as well. His death has left a big hole in my life.”
Tom has been collecting stories and information for some years and tells how when the engine shed at Skipton was closed and derelict, he made a visit and among the discarded rubbish, found one of his dad’s wage slips for 1947.
“Dad showed it to my mother. The wage was something like three to four pounds. He said ‘look, I told you I didn’t earn a lot’. I had to laugh,” recalls Tom.
The brothers tell us in the forward that they were the sons of main line driver, Ernest Jarvis, and recall how they and their other brother John, who also later worked briefly on the railway, would wander down to the shed to wait for him and sit in the crew room kicking their heals against the lockers.
The three lads – there were five sons – followed their dad into the job, John as a guard, Tom who rose to be a passed fireman, which meant he could also drive, and Malcolm working as a fireman in Skipton and later at Willesden in north London
The A-Z at the back of the book numbers 900 staff and it even gives details of the Skipton LMS wages bill for the week ending February 14,1948, drivers earning on average of between £6 and £8 for working between 44 and 55 hours. Some men even notched up 60 hours-plus taking home over £10.
Jobs available at the sheds off Engine Shed Lane included drivers, firemen, cleaners, labourers, engine fitters, coalmen, steam raisers, boiler washers, store issuers, tube cleaners, ash fillers, callers up, fitters, boilersmiths and apprentices.
Click on the book to get a copyTags: Railway, Skipton