Charles Stewart Gill
After the retirement of William Hillyard on 1908, his successor as Station Master at Thrapston Bridge Street station was Charles Stewart Gill. Such was the importance of the position that the Northampton Mercury of Friday June 26th 1908 had the following article:
Mr. F. G. (sic) Gill, stationmaster at Higham Ferrers L. and N. W. (formerly of Earls Barton. Welford, and Wellingborough), is to succeed Mr. W. Hillyard at Thrapston from the end of the present month.
Like his predecessor, Charles was a lifetime railwayman. His father, George was a farmer in Whiston, Northamptonshire, who appears to have lost the farm he was renting in the 1870s. This loss was probably due to the severe downturn in agricultural incomes in the 1870s. Charles, one of five children, was born on October 1st 1865 and he began to work for the London and North Western Railway on December 20th 1880 when he was 15. Initially he worked as a railway clerk in Northampton. Because of the loss of the farm, the family had moved there in the late 1870s and were living at 27 Cyril Street. With her husband being out of work, Charles’ mother, Fanny, taught piano to earn money.
Charles married Ellen Brown in 1886 in Northampton. One year later, Charles was transferred to Wellingborough. This occurred on April 28th 1887 and he continued to work as a clerk. By the time of the census in 1891, Charles and Ellen were living at The Cottage Inn in Irchester and Charles continued to work as a railway booking clerk. They had, by this time, two children – Mabel aged 4 and Eva aged 2.
First Station Master Post
On October 17th 1892, Charles and his growing family moved to Yelvertoft. He worked as Station Master there on the line between Rugby and Market Harborough. The station was not particularly busy with just two stopping passenger trains going onwards to Market Harborough, Stamford and Peterborough and three in the reverse direction (one starting in Market Harborough and the other two in Peterborough). This was on Mondays to Saturdays but the pattern on Sundays was different with only stopping and heading towards Market Harborough but with no corresponding return train.
His tenure at Yelvertoft ended at the end of 1900 when he was transferred to Castle Ashby & Earls Barton station on the Peterborough to Northampton railway. In the spring of 1901 he was living with his wife, Ellen, daughters Mabel and Eva and sons George and Alfred. They were living at The Station, Gosham Road, The Square in Earls Barton. The family stayed there for about 4 years before moving closer to Thrapston when Charles was appointed Station Master at Higham Ferrers (Irthlingborough). With the retirement of William Hillyard in 1908 at Thrapston, a vacancy for a Station Master became open and Charles Stewart Gill was appointed to the post.
Thrapston Bridge Street Station
When he moved to Thrapston, he could not have imagined what the next few years would bring. He was Station Master during the difficult years of the First World War when the railways were run into the ground and were under Government control and in the years following the ending of hostilities, the Government returned the railways to private ownership by “grouping” into four large companies and Thrapston Bridge Street and Thrapston Midland Road became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway. Charles’ work increased because he became Station Master at both Bridge Street and Midland Road Stations. The Northampton Mercury of September 12th 1924 records the event:
Grouping of railway stations
“Under the grouping arrangement of the L M S Railway Co., the two Thrapston stations (Midland and L. and N.-W.) have been placed in charge of Mr. C. S, Gill, who bas for many years been stationmaster at the L. and N. W. station. Mr. E. J, Brooks, who has been stationmaster at the Midland Station for the past three years, has been promoted be stationmaster at Spondon, near Derby.”
Death of Mrs Gill
On May 15th 1927, Charles’ wife, Ellen died. She was 65 years old. The Northampton Mercury of Friday May 20th recorded details of the funeral and the mourners.
Mrs. Gill, wife of the stationmaster at Thrapston Station, on the London Midland and Scottish Railway died early on Sunday morning, at her residence at Thrapston. Mrs. Gill, suffering from a serious complaint, was under treatment at Northampton Hospital from 30th April until Saturday, when she was removed home by ambulance. The funeral took place on Wednesday, the Rev. A. G. Bagshaw (Rector) officiating. The principal mourners were: Mr. C. S. Gill, husband; Mr. J. E. Thompson (Irthlingborough), son-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. A. Chapman (Coventry), daughter and son-in-law. Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Gill (Islip), son and daughter-in-law; Mr. A. C. Gill, son; Miss Brown (Northampton), sister; Mrs. Pinch (Northampton), sister; Mr. F. C. Gill (Northampton), brother-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. B. Law (Napton), brother-in-law and sister-in-law; Mrs. Percy Gill (Bentham, Yorks), sister-in-law ; Mrs. Allen (Thrapston), friend; Mr. Middleton (Goods), and Mr. Powell (Passenger Department), representing the clerical staff of the L.M.S. Station). The bearers were four railwaymen—Messrs. G. Robinson, T. E Day, T. Malsbury, and W. Hillyard. The inscription on the coffin was: Ellen Gill, died May 15, 1927, aged 65 years.”
It is interesting to note that Charles’ predecessor was fit enough to be one of the pall bearers. He would have been 80 years old.
Charles retired at the end of October 1929. The Northampton Mercury of Friday October 18th records the event:
Thrapston Station Master Retiring:
“Mr. C. S. Gill, stationmaster at Thrapston retires at the end of this month, after just under 50 years’ railway service, 37 years which have been as stationmaster. He has been at Thrapston over 21 years. Mr. Gill, who is 64, is the eldest son of the late Mr. George Gill, of Manor Farm, Whiston, and entered the service as junior clerk at Northampton. He then went to Wellingborough, and has since served as stationmaster at Yelvertoft, Castle Ashby, and Irthlingborough.”
Charles married Edith Mabel Ward in the autumn of 1929. He lived for a further 19 years and died at his home in Hackleton, to where had retired with his second wife. He was remembered with affection; as this article from the Northampton Record dated Friday January 16th 1948 relates:
JOINED RAILWAY SERVICE IN 1880
Death of Mr C S Gill at Hackleton
A link with the railways of the past has been broken by the death at his home at Hackleton of Mr. Charles Stewart Gill, aged 82. Mr. Gill came of a well-known Northampton family, and his brother, the late Mr. Frank Gill, will be remembered by many Northampton people as a very fine artist. Mr. Charles Gill began his career at Northampton with the London and North-Western Railway Company in the District Superintendent’s Office in 1880 and was later booking clerk at Wellingborough. In 1892 he was appointed stationmaster at Yelvertoft and in 1900 was promoted station master at Castle Ashby. From there he received further advancement to Irthlingborough in 1905 finally was appointed stationmaster and goods agent Thrapston in 1908. He retired in 1929. He was sportsman, angler and naturalist, and under his charge Thrapston won first prizes in the competition for station gardens. The interment was in the churchyard at Horton, where Mr. Gill was a churchwarden for some years. He was keenly interested in the work of the Peterborough Diocesan Conference, of which he was member. He leaves a widow, two sons, two daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Northampton Mercury – Friday 16 January 1948.
Last Will & Testament
In his will he left his effects of £537 11s 9d (£537-59) to Edith Mabel Gill (his widow) and to Dan Cyril Gill, retired schoolmaster.
Timeline of Charles Stewart Gill’s life:
|Born||October 1st, 1865|
|Began work on railway at Northampton||December 20th, 1880|
|Transferred from Northampton to Wellingborough||April 28th, 1881|
|Married Ellen Brown||1886|
|Birth of Mabel Evelyn||1887|
|Birth of Eva Beatrice||1889|
|Transferred from Wellingborough to Yelvertoft||October 17th, 1892|
|Birth of George||1894|
|Birth of Albert||1899|
|Transferred from Yelvertoft to Castle Ashby & Earls Barton||January 1st, 1901|
|Transferred from Castle Ashby & Earls Barton to Higham Ferrers||May 6th, 1905|
|Transferred from Higham Ferrers to Thrapston Bridge Street||July 1st, 1908|
|Death of his wife Ellen||May 15th, 1927|
|Married Edith M Ward||Summer 1929|
|Retired from the railway at age 64 years||October 31st, 1929|
|Died at Hackleton||January 12th, 1948|
Charles’ salary increased as follows (figures in brackets are year 2000 equivalent rates):
1/5/1887 £60 (£23,000)
1/1/1889 £70 (£26,000)
1/1/1896 £80 (£28,000)
1/1/1900 £90 (£29,000)
1/1/1901 £100 (£31,500)
1/1/1903 £110 (£34,600)
6/5/1905 £120 (£37,800)
1/7/1908 £130 (£39,000)
1/1/1912 £140 (£40,000)
1/1/1914 £150 (£41,000)
No records after 1914 have been located at present.