Thrapston’s first “Station Master” was Edward Robinson, although he was not called as such when he first took over the running of the station. He was called “Station Clerk” and he succeeded the first station clerk, G.H. Chapman who left the employ of the London and North Western Company on November 11th 1848. Mr Chapman had begun working for the company in January 1840.
Early Career & Family Life
Edward Robinson began working for the company in March 1842 as an “Agent” with the salary of £100. He was based in Thrapston which meant that he began working before the proposed Peterborough to Blisworth Railway had received its Act of Parliament. At some stage Edward moved to Higham Ferrers because it was from there that he moved to take over from G.H. Chapman.
It is not clear from where Edward originated. In the 1851 and 1861 Census he was recorded as being from London but in 1871 his place of birth was given as Manchester, which was the same as his wife Mary’s place of birth. He was born sometime between 1814 and 1821. They, rather unusually, only one child, also called Mary. Mary junior did not marry but was recorded as being a Professor of Music in the 1881 Census. She lived in Thrapston for most of her life and in 1901 was to be found living at Rose Cottage in Islip. She died in 1908 at the age of 62.
Edward became the “station master” in the early 1850s, although there was no change in his salary. He and his family lived at the railway station.
During his tenure there were a few interesting events. In 1863, a member of staff had a problem with Mr. Henry Heare, who was a fishmonger and clearly did not want to be delayed by a train entering the station. The Stamford Mercury of Friday 17 April 1863 recorded the event as they were told to the Court
Henry Heare, fishmonger, was indicted for unlawfully opening the gates at a crossing on the Northampton and Peterboro’ railway, at Thrapston, on the 6th March, thereby obstructing an engine, and also endangering the safety of a man named Boffey, who was on the engine. Mr. Mundell appeared for the prosecution; Mr. Palmer defended Heare.
The gateman recounted that, as it was his duty to open and close the crossing gates, he had done so because there was a train due to arrive. Having closed the gates to road traffic he then went to change some points which he estimated were about 50 yards from the road. On returning he discovered that Mr Heare had opened the gates so that he could pass. After an argument he managed to close the gates again, and went back to the points. After the train came into the station the gateman found the gates on the Thrapston side off their hinges and some way towards Northampton, which was the side where Heare was waiting with his cart.
The article ends, “The jury returned a verdict of guilty … The Chairman, in sentencing [the] defendant, said he had been found guilty of a crime which might, in one sense, seem alight one, that of merely pushing open a gate; but looked at from another point it was a very serious offence, which might have endangered life and a large destruction of property. … Taking all the extenuating circumstances into account, they were inclined to pass a comparatively light sentence. It appeared that he was intoxicated, but that, however, was no extenuation of his offence. The Court fully concurred in the verdict of the jury. Sentenced to be imprisoned for six weeks.
Drunkenness played a part in events two years later as the Northampton Mercury of Saturday October 28th 1865 recounts:
Petty Sessions, Oct. 23rd. —Before General Arbuthnot, chairman; the Right Honble Lord Lyveden, and W. B. Stopford, Esq. John D. Barlow, of the parish of Thrapston, stonemason, was charged with being drunk and abusive to Mr. Robinson, the station master of the London and North-Western Railway, on the 16th October inst. Mr. Robinson stated that on the evening of the day afore-mentioned, hearing a disturbance at the railway gates, he went to know the cause, when he found Barlow trying to create row. On his arrival he began to abuse him with most disgraceful language, and refused to home. The police were sent for, but Barlow had gone off before they arrived. Mr. J. T. Roe corroborated this statement. He happened to be present at the time, and witnessed the disturbance. Witness had no doubt that Barlow was drunk. In defence, Barlow stated that he had been to Wellingborough on business, and was not intoxicated. There was no evidence forthcoming to prove this. —He was accordingly fined, in penalty and costs, 13s. 6d., the money was paid.
Edward’s Death and his Last Will & Testament
Edward died in service on November 8th 1873. In his will left his estate to his wife, Mary, the value of which was less than £300.
1842 £100 (£56,800)
1856 £100 (£48,000)
1857 £110 (£53,300)
1873 £110 (£41,700) 1