Graham Trust talks about the success of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 5th August 2011 by Liam Physick
Graham Trust mentions how John Moss later became chairman of the Grand Junction Railway, and reads a quote from the Economist discussing the runaway success of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and the increased speed, despite starting under a cloud with the death of Huskisson
Interviewee: Graham Trust
Interviewee Gender: Male
Date of Interview: 16th November 2010
Jenny: That [Huskisson’s death] didn’t deter from the, kind of, you know, the sort, of, popularity of it, did it?
Graham: No. The, the very next day, the, the Railway started its commercial operations and, you know, the wheels of industry carry on rolling no matter what happens (laughs) . . .
Graham: . . . and life goes on, no matter what happens, to, to our, to our, in our lives, and, and Moss went on from, from here to become the chairman of the . . . of the Grand Junction Railway, and he went – which was the railway from Warrington to Birmingham – and the Grand Junction helped, or financed a lot of the, what we now know today as the West Coast Line, up from London Euston, right up Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle, to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Moss’s Grand Junction was a, a major financer and planner of that route, and he was also involved in setting up French railways from Liverpool, a lot of the finance was, came from Liverpool, Liverpool was a major railway centre, unbelievably, we had our own Stock Exchange, you could buy and sell shares, have all, all of the nation’s railway companies, yeah, as well as being . . . Liverpool was Britain’s biggest port as well, it was a really important city . . .
Graham: . . . it was the second city after London.
Jenny: I don’t know if you’ve come across anything in your research, or even if you could just speak in your opinion, but, what do you think the impact was on this particular area, because now Edge Hill is, you know, seen as on the outskirts . . .
Jenny: . . . of the city, but it, it must have been huge?
Graham: Yeah. I’ll . . . just read you this . . .
Jenny: Because soon after, with, when Lime Street was built, I mean, Edge Hill was still a really big station . . .
Jenny: . . . you know, you could get to London from here, and there was a lot of freight passing through this station, rather than, sort of, using the, the passenger station at Lime Street, is that right?
Graham: Sorry about this. . . (both laugh as he searches for another quote) . . . it wasn’t . . .
Jenny: No that’s fine, that’s fine if you’ve got a quote, then . . .
Graham: Yeah, I, I . . . the impact on Edge Hill would have been the same as it, as it was for the rest of Liverpool, in fact, the rest of Britain. The, the opening of the railways changed our society, and, and it changed it forever, there was no turning back after the railways came in, and I’ve, I, I got, I found this article in the Economist from 1851, and it said of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway that, “It opened up the modest speed of 20 miles an hour, in the days of Adam, the average speed of travel, if Adam ever did such things, was four miles an hour. In the year 1828, 4000 years afterwards, it was still only 10 miles an hour. In 1850” – that was the year before – the year after – year before this article was written, “it is habitually 40 miles an hour, and 70 for those who like it, We have reached in a single bound from the speed of a horse’s canter to the utmost speed comparable with the known strength and coherence of brass and iron”, and I’ve said here, “Changed forever was a whole way of life, virtually unaltered for centuries. Fresh agricultural produce, coal, and a plethora of other goods now became available to all. In this age of reform, railways enabled the different social classes to mingle more freely, and in doing so, helped bring British society a giant step nearer to true democracy.” So, all of the poor people round here at Edge Hill and the poor people of Manchester and the poor people of the boroughs in between the two cities, would have benefitted enormously by this railway. The economists queried whether it was the rich, the middle classes or the poor who had benefitted most from this vast invention, and concluded that it was clearly the latter. “The railwork road is the Magna Carta of their motive freedom. How few among the last generation ever stirred beyond their own village, how few among the present will die without ever visiting London, the number who left Manchester by cheap trips in one week of holiday time last year” – 1850 – “exceeded 202,000.”
Categorised under: The Station & Railway Pioneers